Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Like you, I’m finding it hard to take in all the news, pouring in about COVID-19. It’s overwhelming for sure. I know many of you are looking for help to manage through this current health pandemic as well. That’s why Trish and I want to do all we can to make sure we keep you updated and connected regarding in-person worship here at MHUMC and optional opportunities for on-line worship. We’ll do our best to stay connected with you, so check your emails often for updates from the church office. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email Trish Catalano, our Church Administrator, at the church office at email@example.com.
Please read carefully the following Pastoral Concerns I would like to share.
Our Methodist perspective: First, this is a time to remember our three General Rules of the United Methodist Church: Do No Harm, Do Good, and Love God. And, second, how do we, as a United Methodist spiritual community attend upon the ordinances of God. Here is my Pastoral guidance during this time of concern regarding COVID-19:
Getting help: If you’re a member of MHUMC and need help getting groceries, pharmacy pick-ups, or other essential items, please email me or send me a text. Or contact Trish Catalano, Church Administrator, and Trish will put us in contact (Trish and I are in contact daily). My number one priority is to make sure everyone gets what they need to stay healthy. If you’re not a member of MHUMC but need assistance, please call “211” or go to 211 online.
Impact to our church: As you know by now we are under a “Shelter-In-Place” order from the Public Health Department of Santa Clara County banning all gatherings and public functions, including Church, Temple and Mosque gatherings. Our Trustee Chair, Matthew Hendrickson, has closed MHUMC and this is in line with directives from our District Superintendent and the Bishop and Cabinet of our California-Nevada Conference. I have also been in contact with other United Methodist Pastors in our Clergy Circuit who have closed their churches in compliance with their county health department orders. This is indeed a sad situation and one I never thought I would ever conceive of in my lifetime much less my career. For now the order is in effect until April 7. While Easter is outside that time frame, it is a very real possibility that the County may extend and they can extend the order at any time if the situation calls for an extension. It certainly effects our Palm/Passion Sunday plans. I am sick to my heart, as I am sure you are, at not being able to worship in community, upon the joyful Palm waving entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem and followed by the Passion of our Lord. I have not ever worshiped without my United Methodist community during the High Holy Days of Holy Week.
Worship services: At this point, we join with many other interfaith congregations in suspending in-person worship until this ban is lifted. However, we know that these measures are important if we want to “do no harm” and “do good” to our community.
As we strive to still “attend upon the ordinances of God,” I want to let you know that we are working to be able to bring you worship in an easily accessible way, so that you and this spiritual faith community may stay connected through worship. (See “Worship With Us” for current info.)
We know this is not a full or perfect substitute for in-person worship, but it is my hope that it will still bring you comfort, peace, hope and love.
No matter how you worship, there are ways to continue your contributions to the mission and ministry of MHUMC. Find out more on our Giving page.
My prayers for you: Isaiah 41:10 says “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” During this time, may we know that God upholds us while we also uphold one another. It is times like this that allow the church to shine the brightest, so please:
Remember to love one another, love your neighbor, check-in via phone and e-mail with one another
and please know you can ALWAYS reach out to me directly.
Although I am sure there will be growing pains through this pandemic crisis, I am certain we will get through this and grow from it.
In Peace, Hope and Love, may you stay safe and take good care of yourself and your loved ones.