“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that
hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out
for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have been able to worship together a few times outside and a few times inside over these last months. It has been wonderful to see a few of you as we have come together in praise of God’s great mercy and grace. It may be, in the upcoming weeks, that we will find there is a need to curtail our in person worship again. If so, we will continue our online worship with Facebook and YouTube. The reality is, it has been difficult for us, as church, to function without personal contact, yet we are still here and we are still connected.
Sometimes, when people find themselves separated from others, we begin to forget that we are truly surrounded by those of faith…by the great “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us. When we no longer see the smiling faces or hear the voices of loved ones, feelings of isolation can take over in new and detrimental ways. Hearts can be filled with sadness, minds control feelings, every day is the same and thoughts can enter the mind of insignificance or abandonment. Loneliness can be life taking for those who are separated from their loved ones.
A few evenings ago on the news, families were being interviewed about their elderly loved ones who, separated in nursing facilities, had the failure to thrive during the COVID pandemic. The families were at a loss as they were physically kept from their aging loved ones. On the other side, their loved ones began to wither away as they felt abandoned, lonely, unloved and lost. Separation can take a terrible toll on people and yet, what is worse?
There are two things I hope you will think about during these next months. The first is how a note or a phone call can make a difference for someone who is isolated or lonely. Many of you are sending cards out. Thank you! Some of you are making phone calls. Thank you! Secondly, we are entering the month of Thanksgiving. This is a time when we can begin naming those things we are “thankful” for! I pray you will take time out of your day to share your thankfulness with others.
I would like to share with you what I am thankful for. I am thankful for:
1) God’s abundant grace which is never failing!
2) You and your continued support of me and Bethel in your offerings and service!
3) The moments we can be together as a church.
4) Those who have spent time and energy to help with our worship services. Also, those
who have put together the services, both pre-recorded and livestreaming!
5) ZOOM as we study God’s Word with one another (wish there were more of you joining
6) Those who have continued to work at the church to make sure that worship continues,
whether online or those times we are in person.
7) The members who, without a request going out, come to serve by working on the grounds
to make sure the outside of the church stays appealing and glorifies God!
8) Those who step up to the plate to ask where they can help.
9) Those serving on committees to keep the congregation operating with a semblance of normalcy even though NOTHING is NORMAL.
10) The leadership at Bethel. The men and women serving on the SLT who troubleshoot.
Continue to keep praying!