Notes from the Pastor Jeremiah

Pastor’s Jeremiah’s Message
for MARCH 2020

MALTA UMC IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE  DUE TO “SHELTER IN PLACE” ORDER TO FIGHT COVID-19

Dear Siblings in Christ,

We are in uncharted waters.  We have been asked to “shelter in place” in order to fight COVID-19; however, the health and wellbeing of our community and Church will continue to depend on us and our support more than ever.

At our church we have normally received most of our financial support through gifts in the offering plate.  In this time when we cannot have community worship in person, you need to mail your gifts and pledges.  We know some people, due to the economic costs of the pandemic, might not be able to give when they would usually, but any gift will help.  Many of our cost are fixed,while some of our cost (utilities mainly) will be lower in this time.  Your gifts are still vital to our church mission and ministry.

Our wider community is and will continue to be in need in many ways.  At present there are places to donate food and toiletries to people in need.  If you have donations but cannot make the donations personally, they can be picked up and delivered for you.  Also, if you can, make phone calls and/or write cards to others to check in on them and lift their spirits.  A simple contact can mean so much.  If you can help in these or other ways and e direction, please contact Pastor Jeremiah at (815) 592-3764.

Finally, we are establishing a special “Community Aid” fund to help those in need due to this crisis, the financial cost of which will continue even after our “shelter in place” orders are passed.  If you choose to make a gift to this fund please designate it, “Community Aid” on the check when you mail it.

Please mail your monetary gifts for the Church or others to:
Malta United Methodist Church c/o Larry Vint, 2711 Greenwood Acres Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115

Thank you for your faithful support of Christ’s work.  I pray that you all stay healthy during this unprecedented time.

Blessing and Peace from Pastor Jeremiah and Leaders of Malta United Methodist Church.

 PASTOR JEREMIAH’S SEPTEMBER MESSAGE:

Matthew 18:20. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them” (NRSV).

Often in my life I have been inspired to be part of a large worship service with hundreds and even thousands of voices raised in song, in the midst of a packed room.  I pray that people can safely worship in such ways soon, but we continue to live in the time of Covid-19, and so many of the ways we have worshiped in the past are not possible yet.  However, with cooler weather we will be having worship services in our church parking lot for the next several weeks and I wanted to make everyone aware of the procedures and policies we need to implement, to keep everyone safe and prevent any possible spread of Covid-19.

However, before I go into those policies, I want to say something about worshiping inside our church building.  As many of you may have heard we have some bats living in our church.  Bats are great, they eat mosquitoes and flies, but sadly they also carry some germs

that can be dangerous to humans.  Somehow the bats that have long lived around our church have found a way to get inside the building, and this poses a danger and prevents indoor worship at this time.  The trustees are actively working to end this problem, but for the next few weeks we will only be able to worship outside.

So here are some policies we need to keep in place for outdoor worship in our church Parking lot each Sunday at 9:00 AM, unless there is heavy rain!

  1. Everyone attending worship must wear a mask.
  2. We cannot have congregational singing.
  3. We can have individuals sing, but they need to be 12 feet from others, unless they are part of the same family/household. So for instance if a couple wished to sing or a parent and child/children wished to sing, these are all good, as they have already been exposed to any germs they carry.  Also, we will possibly be using some recorded vocal music.
  4. Each Sunday morning, a person will be recording who attends and contact information for each household that attends. We need to do this so that we can contact people if anyone should receive a positive test for Covid-19.
  5. The restrooms in the church basement will be open (but not the drinking fountain!) However, the lights and fans in the restrooms must always be left on!
  6. We cannot pass an offering plate, but we will have a wooden box on the table (in the shape of a church) that people can drop an offering, if they wish.
  7. If people wish to remain in their cars to listen to worship in the parking lot that is fine.
  8. We also plan to have communion the first weekend of each month. We will be using prepackaged communion supplies that a one gloved person will hand to you and each person will open on their own.  This is the recommended means of communion from our County Health Department for the foreseeable future.

We will continue to have online worship options.  Each week the scripture and sermon will be posted on Facebook and UTube and this will be the same message as on Sunday morning.  If you cannot attend Sunday morning, you can watch one of these, feel free to share them with others as well via email or social media.  Also, on Sunday mornings we hope to have a Zoom broadcast of the service.  However, we have had some technical difficulties with this, so please show us grace as we continue work on this.

I want to add one final thought, particularly related to the scripture passage I began with.  Though we cannot worship in large groups at this time, that does not mean that we cannot worship!  For large portions of the history of Christianity, and for some Christians in other parts of the world, large gatherings have been impossible.  Yet, despite that people entered into loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ and worshiped with each other regularly.  So I invite you to think how you can gather with others to grow in faith in addition to our Sunday worship.  Could you call someone and pray with them?  Could you have an email conversation with others to talk about faith?  If you are more tech savy could you have online discussion with others about faith?  Could you be a prayer pen pal with someone?  What else can you think of with God’s inspiration? We can continue to gather in many ways.  Let us do that to show love to others and to let God’s love grow in us, so that we can bless our world in Jesus’ Name.

Blessings and Peace,

Pastor Jeremiah