Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God… and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The passage above, found in the 5th Chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, has a resonating message for me. Hope does not disappoint us. I don’t know about you, but these days, I have struggled to know that. After listening to an online reflection by Nadia Bolz-Weber, I realized why I have been struggling with hope. My hope has been misplaced. I have hoped for events to happen on the dates on which they were scheduled. I have hoped that I get to pack my home with my family and closest friends. I have hoped that I get to visit my kiddo’s favorite places. And of course, hoping for those things has provided disappointment. What Paul is writing about is the hope we have in the grace of God, and grace endures through our sufferings.
Beloved, it seems unfathomable that we have now worshiped via live-stream since March 22nd (that’s 20 Sundays), and that we have kept the use of building limited to essential functions (including the mission of the Linworth Children’s Center). After our last administrative council meeting, leadership at Linworth United Methodist Church has determined that while Franklin Country remains at “red” levels it is best for us to continue operating remotely for worship and for our mission and ministry.
Many of you have asked about the possibility for gatherings outside in our abundant grassy areas or in our parking lot. At this time, we are only using our outside property in rare occasions (a prayer, parade send-off for Pastor Matt, for example). What we know for certain is that we all miss one another, and the urge to be close is strong. For this reason, we encourage you to engage in care for one another still at a distance or by checking in on each other over phone, via email, or by sending notes. When Franklin County has spent a few weeks in the orange (at least), we will consider the possibility of outdoors worship, fellowship, and service opportunities.
The office still remains closed, though many staff have returned to in-person work. For this reason, we ask that you continue to make appointments if you need to come in.
There are some United Methodist Churches across the country (and even world) who have already made the decision to not worship in person for the rest of 2020, and while we are not ready at this point to make the decision, we understand that worshiping only via live-stream may be our reality for longer than we had anticipated way back in March.
What our hope tells us is that we will remain rooted and grounded in God’s love through Jesus Christ no matter what our worship service looks like. We are working to keep our technology working in ways that allow for ease of participation for as many as possible, and we are working to fill the gaps for those who are not as confident with technology by caring for each other just as we encouraged you to do above.
This is a strange and challenging season, and what we have experienced is that even the most well thought-out, detailed plans get scrapped in mere moments, making long-range planning not only a logistical but also emotional and spiritual challenge for our staff and leaders. You have been tremendously patient, and we hope that your patience continues as our plans are made, remade, and sometimes set aside entirely for the sake of needing to change directions.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your pastors and your staff if there are ways we can serve you or connect you to the life of Linworth United Methodist Church. We are so grateful for your ongoing support through prayers, notes, giving, and faithful engagement.
Hope Does Not Disappoint Us.
Rev. Anna Guillozet