Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church

The Weekly Newsletter

March 19, 2020

A Message from Pastor Erin

Last week our worship was beautiful and stressful. At least, it was stressful for me. We gathered in our beautiful building to worship our God. And it was challenging to maintain the recommended social distance of six feet from one another. I wanted to hug you all and remind each of you that God's got this. But I resist the urge to reach out or even come near you in order to protect myself and protect others from a rapidly spreading pandemic.

On Monday, Sally Dyck, Bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church, called for suspending worship services (and all gatherings) for 15 days. That night, I had a Zoom call (video/phone call) with leaders at our church, Dave Handwerk of the Trustees, Debbie Buscato of Ad Council, Cheryl Kato of SPRC, and Donna Sagami of Lay Leadership were present. During the call we discussed closing our building for worship and other gatherings, including those who rent our space for their usage.

The rest of the week has been a flurry of updates and preparation. Signs were posted on our building. Emails sent. Voicemails and websites updated. Lists of people in our congregation collected and how to reach them.

And now, it is a time for courageous, Christ-like action. The action can look like inaction. It looks like staying home. It looks like shutting things down and halting unnecessary movement, except taking the dog or yourself for a walk. But the action is also very active. It looks like dialing another number of one of our fellow RFUMC folks to see how they are faring this weird, ever-changing set of events. It looks like prayer - the greatest form of action! - to ask for God's protection and guidance and a little bit of patience with our spouse/child/neighbor at this time when we are all cooped up together. All of these actions are caring for others and an opportunity to care for Christ himself (see Matthew 25:39-40). So please, stay home. Do everything you can to find shelter in your place. The more we all stay in, the less opportunity we have to share the virus with others, and the more we care for ourselves and each other. This is how we care for Christ himself.

This decision to suspend worshipping in-person requires us to speed up many processes. We now have to move to lots of online platforms and practices that many of our members might be uncomfortable with. And it is necessary in this time in order to protect each other and prevent our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed with those infected with a virus that rapidly leads to respiratory problems. This Sunday we will worship together but we will do so online. You will sit in a quiet spot in your home, enter your email to the link below, allow Zoom to run on your computer or phone, and (with the power of the Holy Spirit and the Internet) we will be together. If you don't want to or can't log on using a computer you can call in on your phone. See all the instructions below. It is a weird, wonderful time in which we live. And now, more than ever, we need to remind each other of God's promised hope. Join us in doing that during worship online (or by phone) at 10:30 AM on Sunday, March 22.

Join Zoom worship by going to this link at 10:30 AM on Sunday:  https://zoom.us/j/806489040. Allow Zoom to run on your computer. Or call in at 1-312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 806 489 040). And where two or three are gathered in the name of God, the Holy Spirit is present also (Matt 18:20).

Giving Online. You can still support the ministry of RFUMC and now do it easily online! Your financial support helps us transform lives and make disciples of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Go to our PayPal page here  or click on the "Donate" button below to share your gift. PayPal is a secure money service that allows us to receive your generous donation.

Book Club. Like all the things, our book club reading Real Good Church goes online for public health reasons. Log on to the Zoom call at 9 AM using this link (and allow the use of Zoom on your computer) or by calling in at 1-312-626-6799 (meeting ID: 419 903 839) on Saturday, March 21 at 9 AM. Read chapter 7. Didn't read? Still join!

Night Ministry. We are donating money to The Night Ministry to support them rather than making food ourselves. The Night Ministry will distribute meals, which will continue our dedication to vulnerable populations and was their recommended way to support their continued ministry at this time. It is a gift to know we can continue to give.

Young People's Bible Study. Ages 12-18 are invited to join Pastor Erin in an online Bible study before worship on Sunday. Young people should log on to Zoom at 9:00 AM (new time!) here to discuss John 11:1-45.