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Grace United Methodist Church

Mary's Message: Take Courage

UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 6, 2020

Preparing

 
I remember several people asking me if we were ready shortly before Grace was born. I would generally reply with a question, “Is anyone really ready?” My other reply was no. How on earth could you be ready for a baby. You can plan and prepare for a baby, but what things would look like when she arrived could be completely different. So we did our best to prepare.
 
Then we got pregnant with our second. As we prepared, the pandemic happened. We prepared as best as we could, but we didn’t know what life would look like. As hard as it has been to be away from family and friends, for the most part, during this time, we have definitely been blessed with the extra time with Ellie.
 
And now we prepare for more activities at the church this fall and winter. We don’t know exactly what things will look like, but we are doing our best to prepare and keep things as safe as possible. We have hand sanitizer for the volunteer at the patch, we have asked the Boy Scout troop to join us for unloading, and we will have an option to purchase pumpkins in a contactless way. We are also talking through how we will have in-person worship, and I have a cute picture of Collin wearing a face shield in the office as he tries it out.
 
Preparing helps us get ready for what’s next, even if we don’t fully know what to expect. It helps us keep ourselves and others safe. It even helps us serve the community as we are able to open up the Pumpkin Patch. If you are able to come for the delivery, please help us unload pumpkins on Saturday, October 17 at 9 am. Please remember to wear your mask since we will be in close contact with each other and can’t necessarily social distance as much as possible. Gloves are suggested since we will be passing pumpkins to one another. If you would like to be a volunteer at the Pumpkin Patch, anytime from October 17-31, please sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0549aaa92ba2fb6-pumpkin1. This way we know when we need to get extra volunteers.
 
Thank you for preparing with us!
Mary
 
 
 

UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

Longing for Normal
 
I wonder if this is what the Israelites felt like when they were in exile. Longing for normal. Longing for what used to be and having hope that it will one day return to that.
 
There were many periods where the Israelites found themselves in exile. Warring nations often took people away from their home nations when they defeated them in battle. The Israelites found themselves in foreign countries, sometimes for generations. They were able to keep traditions and culture alive by telling stories and sharing traditions. Some were assimilated into the foreign culture, but there were always stories in scripture about a small group that held out the belief that things would return to normal.
 
As I sit writing this article, I am looking at a picture of one of our pumpkin patches of years past. I long to have them again, and for it to feel a little more normal in this crazy year. It was a crazy, long, hot spring break, and now I am getting used to what school looks like this fall. I am excited about this first bit of cooler weather. We are all adapting and changing, but I hope for a day when things are not constantly changing.  I hope the pumpkins will help all of us feel a little closer to normal. I hope they will bring joy to the community.
 
The pumpkins will arrive Saturday, October 17 at 9 am. Volunteers are needed. Be sure to mask up and bring hand sanitizer. Gloves won’t be a bad idea so that we minimize contact with others. I am excited for this little piece of normal!
 
Mary

 

 

 

UPDATE FROM SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

Getting Excited for New Things
 
On my way to take Grace for her flu shot, I stopped at our mailbox and pulled out a package. I was puzzled because I couldn’t remember ordering anything recently, but I order a lot of things, so I probably just forgot what it was. To my surprise, it was a package from The Church of the Resurrection, Adam Hamilton’s church in Kansas. I am signed up for the leadership conference that runs Thursday and Friday.
 
The Church of the Resurrection pivoted pretty quickly this year and took their annual church leadership conference online. It’s shorter, cheaper, and you don’t have the added costs of traveling there and paying for lodging, so when I heard about it, I jumped at the chance. I’ve always wanted to go, but now with two small kids at home, it seemed virtually impossible… until they made it virtual. I get to go to break out sessions about children’s ministry, attend lectures by Adam Hamilton and other pastors, get access to Hamilton’s Advent book, and have a whole year’s access to the lectures I may have missed live. The church nerd in me is very excited.
 
And the box was full of goodies that I probably would have received in person, had I been able to attend the conference in person. I was just excited about all of the ideas that would be generated, and then I get this little box that reminds me that someone is praying for me and my ministry.
 
We are all in the middle of something new. The school looks different, jobs look different, church and socializing all look different, but life is finding a way to continue. Some of these new things might be even better than the old ones! From Isaiah 43:18-19, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
 
God is with us, through the chaos, through the uncomfortable shifts, and with those that aren’t able to pivot quite as easily. When things get overwhelming, remember that God is with you and that you are not alone.
 
Mary
 

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Grace United Methodist Church
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1245 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77008
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