• First Church

"Getting Parsonal" - May 2020

Updated: Jun 16

Blessed are the flexible, for they will not allow themselves to be bent out of shape.

~ Robert Ludlum


We’ve made some big adaptations to our church’s life and ministry through the early days of the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. The most obvious is the move to an online weekly service of worship. I marvel at the connection we can feel in this format, and have received many appreciative words for the announcements, children’s time, sermon and prayer. Our efforts have not been without their challenges, mostly with sound. Thank you for your feedback, and for your patience and dedication as our online worship evolves and improves. Together, we remain dedicated to Seeking God.


“Breakfast with Bill” moved to a weekly, virtual “Morning Coffee” via Zoom on Wednesday mornings at 8:00 AM. We’ve had a good group of attendees, some attending every week, and others only once or every so often. Likewise, “Burgers with Bill” became “Happy Hour” on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:00 PM, and was well attended. Starting in May, we will hold a weekly “Fellowship Time” on Zoom following worship from 11:00 AM until 12 NOON. I hope you’ll join us for some, or all, of these virtual gatherings.


A handful of committees moved to regular virtual meetings. The Board, Finance Committee, Diaconate, and Membership Development and Communication Committee each has had video or telephone meetings. Likewise, the Chapel School had a video staff meeting. Hopefully, other committees and ministry teams will meet virtually in May.


Telephone calls, texts, FaceTime, and even drive-up visits have replaced our regular fellowship opportunities. Masks have been distributed to families that need them, groceries have been delivered and other errands have been run for our most vulnerable members, allowing them to shelter safely within their homes. Members with tech-savvy have helped people through their challenges with Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom. Together, we remain dedicated to Caring for Each Other, and it has been a blessing.


Our monthly cooking for Bread and Roses had to end, but we have continued to facilitate the Tuesday Night Methuen Food Pantry, moving it to the church and shifting to a “drive-thru” model for our patrons. Masked, gloved, and socially distant volunteers have helped keep this essential ministry functioning almost every week. Together we remain dedicated to Improving our Community.


Sometimes opportunity knocks, but most of the time it sneaks up

and then quietly steals away.

~ Doug Larson


I’ve been pondering the opportunities this crisis affords us. Living into our seventh week of sheltering in place, how might we pivot from surviving to thriving, both as individuals and as a community?


Through these initial weeks, we have learned to “be church” in ways that never were possible before. What else can we do? How might we further enrich the lives of our members and friends, meet the needs of adults, youth and children, alike, encouraging each of us to grow in faith and hope? What witness is needed in our city and beyond? What needs can be met? How can we continue to be Improving our Community through these challenging days? First Church has faithfully served God for more than 290 years. How are we called to serve today? I’m eager to hear your thoughts and ideas.


Please continue to hold each other in love and prayer every day. Check-in on the phone, FaceTime, by text and email. And remember to be gentle with yourself, and patient with your family, loved ones, colleagues, and friends. Day by day and moment by moment, we will find our way through this time, and into God’s yet unknown future for us, whatever that may hold.


Faithfully yours,

Bill



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First Church Congregational

United Church of Christ

26 Pleasant Street

Methuen, MA 01844-3119

TEL: 978-687-1240

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