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This section will include frequently up-dated information during this time


Ponderings by Pastor Paul

Ponderings by Pastor Paul

April 29, 2020

Grace Greetings to All,

The risen Jesus comes to his followers, then and now, saying: “Peace be with you.”

We will NOT be worshipping in-person the month of May.  Let me assure you, we join the majority of Spencer churches in that decision!  Yes, the Governor said we could. Her statement did NOT say we should!  The matter of opening for worship is NOT a matter of “religious liberty” as some have suggested. It is a community health issue, caring for our neighbors.

At least 23 pastors/leaders of churches were on our twice-weekly Zoom call this afternoon. Only two were weakly considering holding in-person worship this week or even in May. This evening we held a meeting of the Administrative Council over Zoom. There was consensus to hold off until at least June 7.

By the way, even if we would hold corporate worship, it is still expected that people in the “vulnerable” demographic would remain home. That includes anyone with a chronic health condition as well as anyone 65 years or more old.  Currently in Iowa, few children have contracted Covid-19 and not all that many elderly, though the elderly do represent the majority of deaths. By far the most positive tests have been “adults” in the middle of the age spectrum. That demographic is now being labeled, unfortunately, “the Spreaders.”

After the Council meeting, I checked my email to discover in my inbox a letter signed by 20 of Iowa’s “denominational leaders” expressing their surprise of the Governor’s proclamation. The numbers of positive cases in Iowa, including the region of which Clay is part, does not suggest it would be a “love your neighbor act” to gather people together. In fact, Colette Rossiter from the Spencer Hospital was part of our pastor’s meeting this afternoon and she said NW Iowa is “exploding” right now with new cases.  Incidentally, Dr. Keith, M.D. on the Clay County Board of Public Health who is currently the Bishop (“pastor”) of the local Church of the LDS was on the call and concurred.  Eric Tigges of Clay County Emergency Management was also present and said we need to continue to do what we’re doing, wear our mask, keep social distance, stay home.

As we look forward to the next possible startup date your leadership will be making some plans. For example:  It is recommended that after use, the room/s & furnishings be disinfected. Therefore, do we worship in the sanctuary, on wood and cloth; or in the Fellowship Hall on steel chairs?  The use or even availability of Hymnals or provided Bibles is discouraged. Not a huge thing with our projection capabilities.  How shall we enforce, lovingly, social distancing?  And many more…

We shall allow Grace-related groups of no more than 10 persons to use the facilities, with the expectation that masks and/or social distancing of at least 6’ be observed. At this point, we also intend the office to remain “open” during regular hours. We appreciate the limited traffic in the building, and those who keep distance and/or wear a mask.  At this point we do have masks available right outside the office and if you do not have one to wear when out on business, come and get one!

We will continue to offer worship via SMU access channel, Facebook, website, KICD as well as means of devotion and participation as specified in last week’s newsletter.  Prayers welcome!!   

                                                            Pastor Paul


Check It Out!

Check It Out!

Be intentional in the way you spend your time!

CREATIVITY AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
“Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God” (Julia Cameron). During this season, while some people have discretionary time and are “staying at home”, you are invited to consider how expressing yourself creatively is a spiritual practice. No, it doesn’t take the place of prayer and reading your Bible, but music, dancing, writing, singing, painting, poetry, quilting, drawing, playing instruments, crocheting, coloring, photography, woodworking, sewing, being in nature are all common ways to express our creativity and connect spiritually.


Take a PICTURE(S) OF YOURSELF while expressing yourself creatively and doing what you love to do (i.e. quilting, woodworking, coloring, making masks). Also, take pictures of what you are working on.  Send photos to office@spencergumc.com. If you have any scripture or inspirational quotes that are meaningful to you, please include those as well. In this season of  "physical distancing", we encourage you to connect with one another by taking time to share what you are doing.  Our plan is to make a video for social media and share inspirational messages with your pictures. This may also be shared when we are able to gather again.  Join the FUN!

GRACE REFLECTIONS & STORYTELLING
Take time to reflect on this season of your life and share a story about what you’ve observed and learned, where you’ve seen God at work in your life and in the world around you, and/or lessons learned or words of hope you’d share with others. Feel free to include scripture that has been meaningful to you or what your prayer might be based on your reflections. Submit up to 300 words per story to the church office or email office@spencergumc.com.  You are welcome to share more than one story!!  We will share (online, newsletter, etc.) these reflections of hope, perseverance, and encouragement with others in the upcoming weeks and months. Depending on interest, we may also put together a booklet of reflections for this season of our lives.

WEEKLY PHONE DEVOTIONAL
Needing words of encouragement or spiritual pick-me-up? We record a new weekly devotional each Monday.  You can access the message by simply calling the office (at 262-5970) weekdays after 7:00 PM and weekends to listen to a message. When you call during these times, you will get the answering machine. As soon as the answering machine message starts, enter 10. The phone will ring another 3 times and then you will hear the recorded devotional. 

CHILDREN STORY TIME
During this season, Grace will have a story time for children on the Spencer Grace Facebook page twice a week. Someone will read a favorite children’s book and it will be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon. If you would like to read a story, contact the church office.

CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES
Children's Worship Bulletins has offered a packet of free resources - puzzles, Bible activities, and ideas for fun family activities.  Check out this link:  https://www.childrensbulletins.com/covid19-childrens-activities-for-churches

EDUCATIONAL CHILDREN"S ACTIVITIES
If you want your kids to continue with educational activities, this resource may help: https://www.education.com/worksheets/

GET YOUR SPIRIT IN SHAPE
Get Your Spirit in Shape is a free, 30-minute podcast from United Methodist Communications.  Episodes feature casual conversations with United Methodist leaders who offer spiritual nutrition and exercises to help us get and keep our spirits in shape.  Check out the podcast - "Thoughts and encouragement during social distancing".  Here's the link to get started:  https://www.umc.org/en/content/get-your-spirit-in-shape



Giving Online or Mail

Giving Online or Mail

Thanks for giving regularly to Grace!

Grace Church has ongoing financial obligations to meet.  Your generosity is what makes ministry possible.  That ministry is now needed desperately.  During this time when we're unable to worship together, please consider giving electronically at http://www.spencergumc.com/give.php or send your offerings through the U.S. mail to Grace UMC, 311 2nd Ave W.  Thank you!

Willing to Help?  Need assistance?

Willing to Help? Need assistance?

HELPERS - ERRANDS, PHONE CALLS, ETC.
Grace UMC is putting together lists of people willing to help with phone calls, mailings, errands, etc.
  • If you are low-risk, not one of those especially susceptible to this virus and would be willing to assist with errands (i.e. groceries, prescriptions), please let us know. 
  • If you are willing to make phone calls to convey information or offer support, please contact the office.
  • If you are willing to help with additional mailings or other office projects, let us know.
  • If you want to assist with worship (i.e. music, readings), contact Pastor Paul.
  • If you are feeling isolated and/or need assistance with getting food or personal items, please contact someone. The church is creating a list of people who will hopefully be able to help you. 

Sign up through the church office at 712-262-5970 OR office@spencergumc.com.


Zoom GriefShare

Zoom GriefShare

Facilitators: Sheryl Larson & Dorothy DeGroot

GriefShare

Wenesdays
Sessions through July 29
6-8 PM

Please contact the Church office (262-5970) to sign up for this session.
Cost for the class is $15.00 (book)  scholarships are available.