Pastor’s Corner – October 2020

I read an interesting article near the end of September. It detailed a person who was following worship communities during COVID. The article noted that, like the rest of the population, people were getting COVID fatigue. However, it found that worship communities were largely doing one of two things. Either the community was trying to do things as normal and was found grieving for all the loses or the community was adaptive. Not surprisingly, those communities trying to do things as normal were finding less engagement with members and less giving. The other communities were trying to do meaningful things in adaptive ways. They found engagement and either solid giving or even a rise in giving. I give thanks to God as I believe Saint Paul is in this second category.

While these may be trying times and unprecedented times, the times offer us an opportunity to be creative. They offer us an opportunity to be creative at worship and in fellowship and in service. The outdoor fellowship time after worship on September 27th is just one example. Coffee, tea, pre-packaged snacks and our lawn chairs in the parking lot allowed for socially distant visiting. This is but one example of this community’s creativity and faithfulness to God and to one another.

This October is the commemoration of Saint Francis. He was known to care for the animals and to recognize that God gave people the responsibility of caring for God’s creatures. For many of us, God’s creatures have been just the furry/scaly/feathery companions needed during these times. On Saturday, October 3rd, weather providing, will be an animal blessing, near the garden. For this outdoor worship, we’ll be socially distanced and enjoy God’s creatures out in God’s creation. It is a short service that includes a blessing and a treat for the pet/animal. Animals need to be in a carrier, on a leash or harness, in a cage or terrarium, or with a bridle.

Other ideas for fellowship and service include three types of exchanges – purse, book, and puzzle. In these, participants exchange these items (fellowship) and donate from that group (service) good quality purses/books/puzzle to various places such as to a women’s shelter, to the school(s), to Longview. These could be conducted in the fellowship hall with distancing, masks, and cleaning. The purse exchange will be October 17th at 1pm. See the blurb in the Pilot for more details.

What other serving things can you think of? Social things? We welcome creative ideas in worship, in reaching out to others socially, and in serving. How can we worship and live out our faith while keeping people safe during the pandemic? Don’t keep the ideas to yourself. Email them to Lori and I: Secretary@StPaulMoValley.org and Pastor@StPaulMoValley.org . Suggestions and volunteers are always welcome. Thank you, God, for a thriving community!

To God be the Glory,

Pastor’s Corner – September 2020

It was nice to take a few days off toward the end of August. I decided to do what apparently many are doing during this COVID season – I cleaned and organized. It was quite therapeutic – refreshing and comforting. Thank you for those days away. As August rolled into September, the dog days of summer reminded us that the season of fall is coming soon. That too will be refreshing as we enjoy familiar milestones.

September is the month we work out in the community, doing good works with God’s Work, Our Hands. God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday will be the 13th. We will help out at Watson Station. Additionally, families can sign up to help seniors with yard work. Watson Station will be expecting us on the 13th. The yard work help need not take place only on the 13th.

We also celebrate the return of Sunday school and confirmation class in September. This year, Rally Sunday and the blessing of the backpack charms will be September 20th. Sunday school teachers, public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and substitutes will be recognized and blessed too.

As the current confirmation class begins year two, there are seven youth to be confirmed. The seven youth who were to be confirmed in May will be confirmed at 9am on September 13th. The 9am time will allow the youth, family and friends to have first seating in the sanctuary. The remaining sanctuary seating and fellowship hall seating can then be filled in. The confirmation will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page and on our new website – www.stpaulmovalley.org .

May you be invigorated by cooler temperatures this month and may you be refreshed, comforted by the familiar.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” –2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

To God be the Glory,

Pastor’s Corner – August 2020

Late last month, I purchased a bulletin board set and redeemed a coupon for free laminating. The past few days I’ve been trimming up the lamination. I’ve been looking at the lesson plans for confirmation. I’ve been doing what a lot of our nation’s teachers have been doing – preparing materials and organizing for classes. Although we don’t know what the new school year or Sunday school year will bring, we step forward responsibly and in faith and hope. We collected school supplies for the back to school Ministerial and Food Pantry’s School Supply Drive.

We don’t know what this school year or Sunday school year will bring. We may set up a plan but don’t know yet if we’ll have to switch to another plan or yet another plan to keep youth safe. There is much we don’t know. We can say with confidence, however, that there are things we do know. We do know that God is in control. We do know that “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).

Psalms 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” We know that God is worthy to carry our trust. The psalmist wrote, “And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10).

There are times when what do know can fill a thimble and what we do not know can fill buckets. Lord, help us pray about it and step forward responsibly and in faith and hope because we know the One in whom we can trust.

In knowing and unknowing, we praise your wonderful name, Lord God!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Jean