April 3,2020

Greetings church family,

As I reminisce about placing the Ashes on each of your foreheads, the symbol that started us on our Lenten journey, I think deeply about each one of you and your devoted service to Christ.

Though our church building is empty now, I am confident that we are worshiping and connected in spirit. As I stand and look out at our empty pews I don't look out with sadness, because I know this will pass. I look with joy because I know that our church is fully deployed in the mission of caring for one another and our community. We are all being intentional about being the hands and feet of Jesus in our world that has dramatically changed. My prayer is that we all continue this good work that God has given us and that we do so safely. May God's blessing protect each one of you as you respond to God’s call.

Our church family has been reaching out to help others sending masks, making meals, supporting the grieving and praying for healing and hope.

As you know, we are in the middle of our Lenten season. I can't help but think of us this week as it is Palm Sunday. The day we would remember the walk our loving king Jesus would take as He began His final journey to the Cross. Our kids marching up the center aisle, palms waving and all of us singing our favorite opening hymns and praise music. What a lovely gift we share in, and what a wonderful tradition we pass on to our children when we share in these meaningful moments of our faith together!

I have found it interesting that this time of social distancing has fallen during the 40-day period of Lent. This Lenten season is a time like no other that I can remember. A time when the whole world is being made to stop… and “be still”. What will we do with this rare moment of being still? How can we use this time of being still to draw closer to our Lord in faith and make this holy week more meaningful?

Our world has also been moved to prayer. Prayer for those who are sick, prayer for those who are alone, prayer for those who are on the front lines helping and prayer that God will bring healing in this situation. The whole world still… and praying.

This week as we will move into holy week, we will reflect on the greatest act of God’s love and intervention in and for humanity! No basketball practices, no shopping, no distractions just you, Jesus and your family…. How will you share in this Holy Week? How will you share the story that will shape their entire life?

Jewish children will hear of their story of liberation at the Passover meal. The Passover meal is rich with symbolism. Each item on the table brings with it a significant meaning that helps the family remember and celebrate the gift of freedom that God gave them.

On Palm Sunday you might have your children make hand-shaped palms with green paper and read them the story. On Thursday (Maundy Thursday) you might have a special meal and talk about the last supper and share that this is where communion for us as Christians began. My mother used to let us stay up especially late to watch” The King Of Kings” and “The Ten Commandments” and we would share this story while we colored our Easter eggs. Grandparents can read the bedtime story via Face Time!  The most important thing is that we are actually being given the gift of time. Let's use it to make this Easter more meaningful and memorable than ever before!

Next year, we will all be together again singing hymns with our children waving our palms in praise… Celebrating Jesus together! My prayer for us this year is that we would all be intentional about this upcoming week. Keeping it Holy.

My prayer is that God would richly bless you and multiply your faith. My hope is that you will each walk in hope, because we have A Living God who will never leave us or forsake us. My prayer is that you will experience God's peace and reassurance, for we have a God who loves us and cares for us and we have each other…. We are not alone.

Keep loving one another, praying for one another and caring for one another in the wonderful ways that you do.

Spread the love not the germs!  The pews are empty now, but we are not alone,
Pastor Nettie

Note: If you know anyone who has a need please contact me. My phone number is 716-982-3551. Our church message should be up on our local channel this week. All services also will be posted on our website and our Facebook page. If you are in a position to do so I would ask that you consider mailing in your pledge or vision support. We also have a Paypal account on our website. Though the building is empty our vision and mission continues!  Please forward any prayer requests to Ronnie Lafferty  ronnielafferty60@gmail.com