Pastor's Potpourri, Nov 2020

It’s been quite a while since I did a Pastor’s Potpourri article. In fact, looking back, I believe it was the April, 2018 edition. Well, since I have several items to share with you for November, I decided it was time for a little more potpourri. Although Merriam-Webster gives the primary definition of potpourri as “a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent,” the second definition is “a miscellaneous collection.” So, let me give you a miscellaneous collection of my thoughts.

First of all, I continue to pray for all of you as we continue to move carefully through the Pandemic, the Corona Virus, or COVID-19, whichever name you give to this illness that has disrupted all of our lives in one way or another. I am grateful, that as of today, I know of no one from Berlin Center or LeValley that has contracted the virus or has even had a positive test result. That said, if you have been with someone who received a positive diagnosis or receive a positive test result yourself, please let me know. It is important for your church family to know, especially if you have been in contact with anyone from the congregation.

As most of you know, we are cautiously returning to some degree of normalcy in the churches. We are worshiping in person, with most of us wearing masks and exercising social distancing. Of course, worship from both churches is being broadcast via Facebook Live(levalleyumc) for those who can’t or don’t wish to participate in face-to-face worship. This medium will continue into the future, as it has been successful in reaching those in our own church families who never attend in person, as well as others in the community and beyond.

Small groups such as the United Methodist Women and book study have resumed at LeValley The Gideons meet on Saturday morning at Berlin Center.. Berlin Center has had a couple coffee hours and LeValley is planning one this Sunday to celebrate Carol Braun’s 90th birthday. Families at LeValley will be allowed to use the hall for holiday gatherings if they abide by the rules sheet that has been composed. Rental of our facilities for non-church members is still not allowed.

The key to all of the above is common sense, wearing of masks, social distancing, and sanitization.

Last March, before everything closed, I had planned to lead a church membership class at LeValley. I’m ready to proceed now, but I need to assess if there is interest and, if so, would the participants prefer to attend now or to wait awhile? Please let me know if you’re interested in joining LeValley and your preference for when we should meet. We will meet for three one-hour sessions or two one and one-half hour sessions.

Please keep your eyes and ears open for two more programs that will be in the works in the near future at LeValley. I am planning on resuming Wednesday evening Bible study and there are some women, including myself, interested in a video exercise class called Groove. Berlin Center members are, of course, invited to participate in these two activities, as well.

Our Charge conference was held via Zoom with District Superintendent Reverend Doctor Margie Crawford on October 3rd. Because 2020 has been such an unusual year, the nominations’ committee made the decision to retain the leadership of both churches into 2021. If you do not wish to continue, please let me know. A new Missions chairperson for LeValley is needed. If you are interested, let me know. The administrative board can vote for the new chair.

Those in attendance approved my salary, housing and furnishings allowance, medical reimbursement, and professional expenses for 2021. I agreed to no salary increase for 2021. The membership report was given. The membership at LeValley was reduced by three, from 146 to 143. Berlin Center went from 43 to 42. The lists of non-active members were read for the second year. Should they not respond requesting to continue as members, they will be remove from the church rolls in 2022.

As we look to 2021, we continue to pray over the finances of both churches. Thankfully, giving to God has continued and we are only slightly behind in our budgeted needs. I would like to suggest that each of us fill out a pledge card on how we will give to God in 2021 through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. Then, instead of turning the card into the church, put it somewhere in your home where you can see it regularly, pray over it, and assess how you are doing in your obligations to God and God’s church. LeValley has a button on the church website which allows giving online. A suggestion for both churches is that your giving can be done online through your checking account, just as you might pay other bills. Tom Dickinson, the treasurer at LeValley will be providing a finance presentation during worship in the near future. If Berlin Center would like a finance presentation, please let me or Marilyn Palmer know.

Since this is already a long letter, I will make this short and say more in the December newsletter, but the Advent Season, the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas begins on Sunday, November 29th . Advent means 'Coming' in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Last, but not least, Berlin Center has something to share with everyone. The Church has entered into an agreement with a new church plant called The Wave to use the Berlin Center building each Sunday from 11:00am until 1:00pm for worship. The Wave has been worshiping with 25-30 people in a tent at the corner of Johnson and Potters Roads. With colder weather on the way, the church is interested in worshiping indoors and Berlin Center is a good fit. The doctrines of both churches are similar, even though The Wave is a non-denominational church and Berlin Center is United Methodist. The worship styles of the two churches will complement each other, as Berlin Center is more traditional and The Wave more contemporary. Please pray for both churches as they begin this new endeavor this Sunday. I pray that God is in the midst of the decision made in recent weeks.

Pastor Nancy

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