From the Pastor's Desk
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Hello CCUMC Family-
I pray this email finds you well. I hold each of you receiving this mailing in my thoughts and prayers. We are on our ninth day since our president called the nation to avoid large gatherings and communal spaces for fifteen days. The number of gatherings allowed was no more than ten persons. As numbers of persons testing positive for the virus continue to rise, states and cities affected have had to implement yet stricter guidelines. Today, at noon Governor Baker’s directive for Massachusetts residents to “stay home” begins. Please pray with me that many more folks listen to, and put into practice these guidelines in order to stave off the rapid spread of this disease.
Here are a few updates:
First, I wish to thank all the people who continue to be in touch with our members during this time.Thank you to Jim Black our finance committee chair for getting the church a pay pal account, so that we may continue to receive donations, offerings and pledges during this time apart. See our website www.charltoncityumc.org/giving
A big thank you to Hannah Darling, for managing the volume of emails and videos, and setting up other links to our Website and Facebook in a timely manner. We now have a Prayer Wall up and look forward to receiving your prayer requests right on our website. If for some reason, you are unable to write your prayer on our wall send it as an email with the subject “Prayer Request,” so that we may find it on our church email.
Thank you to all who helped [Jean Anderson, Gary & Renelle Picard, Kayla Perez-Kilmonis, Hannah and I], get the worship service for Sunday, March 22, recorded and uploaded to our different sites. We kept those present during the recording to five persons and practiced social distance.
As a church we will continue to follow the directive by the federal, state and local government during this outbreak. For the moment, we will not have events or worship service at the church until after April 7. Please check our website regularly for updates.
After speaking with Rev. Jim Chase, the Cross Walk and the Easter Sunrise service are cancelled for this year. We will be making a decision next week about CCUMC’s Holy Week Services.
I have also started a Youtube channel and will be posting our services and a weekly meditation on it. You can find it by going to Youtube (www.youtube.com) and searching for "Wanda Santos-Perez" I used my name for the channel.
“I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I have hope; my soul waits for the Lord more that those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning…For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.”
Psalm 130: 5-6, 7b.
The Psalm writer shares his eager expectation and assurance of God’s love and forgiveness. Using the example of a watchman who waits all night long for the morning, the psalmist alludes to God’s help arriving with the sun after a night of praying and waiting.
Today, we too pray and wait every day for news of this pandemic and its casualties. Our lives have been completely altered by this outbreak. Some feel helpless and overwhelmed. We wonder what comes next. We listen to the news of the rising number of positive cases and are relieved to know that although a cure has not been procured as of yet, those in the medical field have figured out how to treat this disease so that the loss of life is not as large as it could have been. The nation has been called to avoid social gatherings in order to slow down the spread so that hospitals are not overwhelmed as they prepare to care for the sick. Like many other churches, we too are doing our part in helping to keep this spread at bay. As we wait for the day we can worship together again, let us pray, as often as we can to the One who can and will deliver us.
Pray for our scientists to find a cure, pray for those in the medical field who are making incredible sacrifices to staff hospitals, pray for those who have contracted this virus and are fighting for their lives. There is so much to pray for. Pray, ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we should and need to be praying for. As for me, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I hope.”
Stay safe and remember to practice social distance.
Grace & Peace,
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Beloved Family of CCUMC- I greet you in the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Presently, our country is in the midst of a pandemic that is putting many people’s lives at risk. We have been mandated by several government agencies, ranging from federal, state and local to put social distance in place in an attempt to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.
Originally, when this virus began to spread, the news on it at times has been inconsistent. I remember channel surfing news outlets, checking any updates from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, in order to get a better sense of the magnitude of this outbreak. Soon calls for an unprecedented kind of social distance began to sound out. Reaction to this news has ranged from incredulous, cynical, apprehension, fear and accusations of overreacting and underreacting.
Well, here we are. “Here” means, different things to different people. Some have lost their lives from contracting this virus, while many others are sick and unable to get tested, others have had to be quarantined or have self-quarantined to help slow down the spread of this virus. Those who have not contracted the virus now have the burden of wondering whether or not they are carriers, regardless of whether they are presenting any symptoms. The health and financial repercussions of this pandemic are becoming more apparent with every passing day and are daunting at best.
I can feel my blood pressure creep up a bit as I ticked off a few of the consequences of this pandemic thus far. I need to take a deep breath here and exhale. Please feel free to join me.
In times when I feel unsettled, I recall that in Jesus Christ we have a direct and unhindered access to a peace like no other. It is a peace beyond ALL understanding. In the Bible, peace has many attributes. In 1 Timothy 2:2, it speaks to a personal state of being. In Acts 10:36 and Romans 5:1 for example, it speaks to a relationship with God. Philippians 4:7 [please read vv.4-7], quoted above, speaks of a joy that curtails from trusting, grateful prayer and a mind set on the virtues of Christ. Remain in Christ. Stay connected to your church by checking our website and Facebook regularly. Let us continue to pray for one another. You are not alone.
Know that we are currently working on ways we can connect either by phone or virtually with our members during this time. Stay tuned and stay safe.
Loving God, in overwhelming times, we run to you. Only you can give us peace when the ground beneath us seems to shift without a warning. Only you can quiet the storm within us. Today we remind ourselves and each other that YOU ARE our peace. Amen.
“Thank you for visiting our website. We too are adhering to the call for social distance government agencies have put in place in order to protect our most vulnerable citizens from this pandemic.
Our Worship services and events from March 16 - March 31 have been cancelled. This is subject to change as we receive further directives from Federal, State and local agencies on this outbreak.
We will be updating our Web page and social media with news, updates and messages from Pastor Wanda.”
Rev. Wanda Santos-Perez
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Dear Members and Friends- Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers during this outbreak. , I will be in touch with you through these videos which I plan to upload twice a week. Please call or email the office if you are in need of pastoral care.
Grace & Peace, Pastor Wanda