Check back here for the latest update on how Suntree is responding to the COVID-19 Virus.
Good evening Suntree!
It was great once again to share with you in online worship this past Sunday. It is still very new and different to worship in front of a TV or computer screen just as it is very new and different to lead worship, pray, and preach in front of a camera! But God is good, and we are finding our way through this difficult time together as we embrace new forms of connection and communication. Thank you so much for your openness to engaging through our online worship, devotionals, bible study, e-letters, and now, for some of our Life Groups, through Zoom meetings. If your life group or Sunday School class is interested in gathering through Zoom, email Pastor Allee at and we will get you set up!
Thank you also for your faithful generosity! More folks are giving through our online giving platform on the website and others are mailing in their offerings. We are so grateful for this response. Some folks have even increased their giving, knowing others may not be able to give during this economically challenging time. Every gift makes a difference and helps keep our ministry going during this worldwide crisis. Thank you!
Unfortunately, we now know that we will not be able to gather for worship, (in person) until sometime after Easter. The Florida Conference UMC has asked us to continue to worship online through Easter. We will receive an update after Easter as to when we might be able to gather in person for worship. The federal government is asking us to continue to practice social distancing through April 30 so we realize that it is likely that we will not be able to resume in-person worship until the first part of May. So, there is still much we don’t know. However, what I do know is that when we can come back together for worship, it will be a great and joyous day of celebration!
Please continue to watch your email, our website, and our Facebook page for weekly updates, devotionals, bible study, the E-Letter, and starting this Thursday, our new Podcast. This week we will be talking about how each of us is coping during this coronavirus pandemic. Join us Thursday morning through Apple Podcast or Google Play. Search "Suntree UMC" to find us.
This Sunday in worship we will be celebrating Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy Week, the most sacred week of our church year. To prepare for worship, I want to encourage you to do a couple of things. First, go outside and find a couple of palm branches and then video record yourself or your family (just a few seconds) having a palm processional. Wave your palms high and in celebration of Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem on that day long ago. Grab your kids and have them join in. Then send your short video clip to j . We will be using these clips for worship this Sunday.
Second, this Sunday we will celebrate Holy Communion as part of worship. So, I want to encourage you to set up your own Holy Table for communion in your home. Choose a special plate on which to place some bread. Then choose a special cup to hold the juice (whatever kind you prefer), the blood of Christ. Add a candle to the table and light it as a symbol of the presence of Christ with us at the table. Perhaps you might add a cross or some other element from your home that symbolizes the love and presence of God to you. Prepare your table before worship and then, during worship, we will pray over the elements, consecrating them and then we will share in the sacrament together. I do not doubt that the power of God that brought Christ back from the dead can work in us, in our homes, or wherever we are, to communicate the grace of Christ to us through the bread and the cup. And there is nothing we need more right now than grace!
Looking ahead, we will also be offering online worship experiences for Maundy Thursday (Thursday, April 9 at 6:30 pm) and Good Friday (Friday, April 10 at 6:30 pm), as well as Easter Sunday. For Maundy Thursday, we ask that between now and next Tuesday, you take a picture of yourself or your family at your dinner table and send it to . Again, we will use these pictures in worship on Maundy Thursday as we think about what it means to gather around the table with Jesus.
These are unprecedented times. They are hard times. As I said in my message last week, the grief we all feel is enormous. And for me, in that grief, there is also this incredible sense of gratitude for the ways that God is indeed with us, walking with us, empowering us one day at a time to do the next right thing that we can do. So, we keep being God’s church, offering grace, love, kindness, and encouragement, wherever and however we can. And in the alchemy of grace, somehow, God can make it more than enough.
Grace to you! I miss you all and pray for you daily.
Grace and Peace,