MCCC Update, Masking PSA, Racism and Me, Worship going forward…
Hello Church Family,
I just can’t believe September is here already! Still hot and humid sometimes, but whispers of Fall are definitely here. I hope you are continuing to find ways to get outside and connect with nature while the weather is still good!
I wanted to make sure the congregation knows that the MCCC Gathering Team will be meeting again soon to discuss our status in gathering as a congregation. To be perfectly honest, despite many in the world moving forward as if COVID-19 isn’t here… it still is. Portage County has been able to keep the case/hospitalization/death numbers down and much progress has been made nationally with therapeutics/treatments… but we cannot let that lure us into a false security. As many of you know, I serve on the Portage County Health Board and the epidemiologists and experts are still urging caution especially as schools and universities welcome back students. We will know very soon what we might be dealing with locally–hopefully our mitigation precautions will work! Pray that it all goes well for our students, teachers, professors, staff, etc, and please continue to take the necessary precautions (small groups, outside, physical distancing, wear a mask, etc). Things are trending in the right direction, but we need to stay vigilant!
Despite the politicization of mask-wearing, the science on the subject has been quite clear. Masking has great potential and will lead to less infections in our population. I think of them like a speed limit. Imagine for a moment that I would get in my car and drive recklessly over the speed limit (15-20 mph) for a whole week…yet…at the end of each day, I get home safely with no consequences. Would I be able to conclude that the “speed limits” are silly and clearly not needed? That they are a tool of the government to control us and limit our freedom? Most of us choose to cooperate with these societal laws/mandates for the safety of ourselves and others because it’s the right thing to do. Speed limits (and masks) give us that much better of a chance of keeping everyone safe. I understand that masks are new and even a bit uncomfortable, but this is a very simple way for us to show our care for others. Keep it up!
Racism and Me
There are many powers at-large who long for us to fit into neat and tidy categories. One of the “binary” categories that have really troubled me lately is the idea that you are either for Black Lives Matter OR you support your police. Some are saying that the notion of “Black Lives Matter” is terrorism and some are painting our police as all racist and violence-hungry people… both are dramatized unfairly by the powers who want to divide, diminish, and destroy. There is so much more gray area and we are wise to listen, learn, and love as best we can. We have incredible police officers doing their best to protect us every day–absolutely! Let’s honor them and support them as they do very hard work. We also have witnessed stunning examples in the past and present where the policies, practices, and attitudes of those in power (government, business, clergy, law enforcement, etc) have diminished, de-valued, and even taken the lives of black people. This is indisputable based on our nation’s history. Have white people been diminished and devalued at points, too? Absolutely. But it is clearly incomparable to what black folks have experienced. Let’s fight against this in every and all forms. Racism in its many forms is sin and it is important to acknowledge and repent of it. As Ibram Kendi says, “Denial is the heartbeat of racism.” We all hold racist ideas that need to be rooted out. Let’s acknowledge the wrongs and move forward with equity and justice. It is my belief that any church who takes seriously the teachings of Jesus will be pro-active in the fight against anything that dehumanizes and diminishes… no matter the color, race, or ethnicity. I appreciated this graphic (below) shared with me by members of our congregation and other clergy I respect greatly. Hopefully it gives you fuel for thought and consideration.
This Sunday we will be back to worshipping together as MCCC. The format will be similar to what we did in June. All will be invited to come on Sunday morning for a Zoom Watch Party to view the service and then have conversation afterwards. OR folks can watch the service on YouTube when it works for them. I will admit that it has been good for the heart to see folks on Sunday mornings, even if it is on a screen. However you decide to worship, I pray that EACH of you find the most meaningful ways for YOU (and your family) to set time and space aside for God!
Worship Team and the Gathering Team are also having conversation about the possibility of a unique worship experience in the near future. Please attend to your email over the next few weeks in case we are able to pull something together. Keep us in your prayers!
Our Anti-Racism Book Study continues on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30p. This is incredibly important for the church to be thinking on in such a time as this. We would love to have you join us if you haven’t already. See the sign-in information below.
Pastor Sarah and I will be talking about other possible offerings for the Fall as we get back into the swing of things post-summer! Stay tuned!
As usual, if you would like to speak with me or Sarah about any concerns, joys, suggestions for our church…our doors are always open.
Grace and Peace be with you now and always!
Wednesday ANTI-RACISM Book Study – 6:30-7:30pm
1. Call +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
2. Enter Meeting ID: 836 5442 8458(press #)
3. It will ask for “Participant ID or just press #. Just press #
Video Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83654428458?pwd=NVVja2tZd0pndzFuU1hWaEZZRC84dz09