May 19th, 2020 Message
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Dear Church family,
Over the past three months, John and I have had a lot of time to reflect on what the appropriate response(s) might be to the current pandemic. What is God calling us to do in the midst of it? We know that the church is not a building, the church is the people. So how do we Be a Church when we can’t even be together right now?
John has provided us with so much encouragement, hope and inspiration over the past three months through his letters, sermons, phone calls, zoom meetings, etc. As his wife, I am so proud of his ability to thrive in the midst of chaos as well as his ability to provide comfort and inspiration. With Super-Storm Sandy, there was so much that he could DO to help others.
Yet with this pandemic, it is difficult for him to DO anything when you are required to stay at home. I have seen his frustration with taking crash courses in zoom and getting up to speed with technology…not his favorite thing. For a man that gets his energy from doing, it has been hard to see him struggle with idle time and inability to DO SOMETHING concrete to move us all forward. And, we don’t know when this will end or if THE END will create a new normal for us to adapt to. So what are we to do? So….as John’s biggest cheerleader, I offered to write a letter to you all this week.
I believe that truly good things can come out of the seemingly worst of times. It is my hope that we, as the church, can face this virus head on by offering our gifts to one another in whatever way we can…each to his own ability. Instead of yielding to the temptation to turn inward during a time of isolation, we need to reflect on the ways that we can reach out to others in even the simplest of ways. THERE IS SO MUCH WE CAN DO…..take a look at some of ways our church members are already BEING THE CHURCH.
Bob Schilling sending out old photos to keep us connected…and making weekly meals to take to those that might otherwise be eating alone.
Emma Lentz, one of our youngest members, planning and teaching other children over the internet; while her mother, Kelly, and step-father, Craig, take pictures of people around the island to document this time and raise money for the True Spirit Coalition.
Rosie Culleny and Josh Gabrysz offering to shop for seniors or shut-ins to keep them safe.
Sue Clark giving hours of her time to make sure the Plant Sale continues to go on. Jackie Sarner trekking over to Brigantine daily to help with the plant sale.
Pete Cosentino calling John out of the blue to check on him and offer support.
Jeanie Collins stepping forward to help John with the challenges of creating a Sunday worship service that reaches everyone.
Jean and Don Bereheiko reaching out to the Cosentino’s to say, “I am your person(s) and will take care of your needs”
There are so many other examples of our church family using their gifts to help others at this time. For me, I find simple ways to help others now; writing personal notes to old friends, checking in on someone that is alone, baking breads for my daughters even when we can’t be together, planting gardens for others at a social distance. A smile and a prayer can also go a long way to touch someone’s life. We can each find strength and joy during these times when we reach out to each other.
Send us notes or pictures of the ways you’ve been Acting as the Church. We will post them on Facebook so we can see how God is Actively Using us during this time.
Praying that each of you feel God’s presence as we journey through this time together.
P.S. - Please remember to continue to support the True Spirit Coalition Food Pantry.
Debbie Enderlin, Sue Clark, Gina Herz and of course, Brenda Rupp and Liboria Mendoza keep the True Spirit Coalition Pantry humming! Families get 5 to 7 bags of all kinds of groceries as they pull up to the pantry window. Thanks to Bo Mason who has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting of late…and to Chris Connelly who has joined the corp of volunteers
What can you do? Refer families and individuals who are stretched by these tough times.
Tell them to call the church office and talk to Brenda about getting on the list for the Pantry. Call the church office at (609) 266-7942.
P.S.S. - Join us for worship by opening the internet on your computer or smartphone and click on the link HERE of visit www.facebook.com/brigchurch.org. It will take you right to worship at 10:00 am on Sunday. You don’t have to be on Facebook to join the worship. Bob Schilling is also sending out the link on YouTube to see the worship later in the week…if you are not getting his email, call him at (609) 457-0728. The CHURCH WEBSITE is www.brigchurch.org. Check it for updates, announcements and info. Don’t forget, you can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org or his email at email@example.com. His cell phone is (609) 457-2999… feel free to call or text. If you are a Facebook member, find us at “Brigantine Community Presbyterian Church” and “LIKE” us!
Thanks to everyone who supports being the church with all your many gifts…thanks especially to Annie for writing a message we can all resonate with for this weeks update.