A New Beginning at Oak Chapel (June 9, 2020)
After nearly three months apart, Oak Chapel is taking steps to move forward by providing opportunities for worship that are both traditional and non-traditional.
As we prepare to enter this brave new world, we do so, not with trepidation, but with confidence and conviction, as Paul did in Acts 19:8 (Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God). We plan to do likewise in a series of phases that are both sensible and sensitive.
Above all, our goal is to be as inclusive as possible as we prepare to assemble in the coming weeks. Here is our planned run-up to our re-opening…
- June 14, 21, 28 Outdoor Services at the traditional time (10:30 a.m.) on the lawn (with appropriate social distancing) with a drive-in option for those who wish to stay in their car and access the audio on their radio at 97.9 FM. If you plan to sit on the lawn, please park at a spot about one-third of the way from the church so that those listening in their car will have a better view. Seating will be provided, but if you prefer to bring your own chair, you are welcome to do so
- A Google Meet gathering online will follow at 11:30 a.m. as a form of virtual fellowship, during which we can share praises and prayer concerns, and simply catch up with one another.
- There will also be an accompanying video service (as in previous weeks) with a different message. If you choose to access both services, we hope that you will be doubly blessed.
- July 5 A grand-reopening in the sanctuary (with appropriate safeguards), during which we will re-consecrate the church, re-dedicate the bell, and celebrate our return, will take place on Independence Day weekend. This date was chosen because we believe that all of our sanctuary audio equipment, stolen in the April burglary, will be replaced by then. We will also have special pre-sealed packets for the safe distribution of Communion.
- Parking Lot Worship Service will still be available for the remainder of the summer for those who are most comfortable worshiping in the safety of their car.
- A sanitation station will be placed in the narthex when we move inside, and new, reusable masks, made by some of our fellow congregants, will be available for those who need them.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pastor John at 330-988-2577 or (Pastor@OakChapelUMC.com).
Blessings and Best Wishes!
What Can I Do? (April 21, 2020)
That’s a question many of us have been asking during the past six weeks when we have been asked to shelter in place. It is a very good question and one deserving of faithful contemplation and consideration.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called upon to be ready to assist others (including members of our own congregation) at a moment’s notice. Based on what I have been able to gather through phone calls and other forms of correspondence with each of you, you appear to be doing well, or at the very least, holding your own.
Our hope and prayer is that the restrictions will be gradually lifted and that a vaccine will be developed. Until then, there are actions we can take to serve the Lord and one another — both within and outside of the church. Here are a few suggestions…
- Be Prayerful: Take time (most of us have at least a little more of it these days) to be in prayer, giving thanks for God’s many blessings while also praying for others in need, and asking the Lord what we might do to help.
- Be Attentive: Reach out to others by phone, text, or e-mail. A friendly correspondence can really lift the spirits of another, especially if that person lives alone.
- Be Responsible: Honor social distancing guidelines and follow state/federal recommendations. I’ll admit that I am not a big fan of masks, but thanks to several members of our church, I have a couple that I can rotate and protect others when I am out in public.
- Be Generous: I know, you already are, but consider this time as an opportunity to contribute to our new food pantry/resource center, which is now open. We don’t know what the community response will be, but we know that others are in need and would greatly benefit from the items we have to offer. Likewise, our Helping Hands Fund provides financial support for those who are struggling to make ends meet, especially now as so many people are currently not able to work. And remember your monthly offering to the church, and perhaps consider how a portion of your stimulus check might benefit others.
- Be Joyful: A positive attitude goes a long way, for both you and the recipient. Look for ways to encourage and lift up others.
- Be Faithful: This, of course, is our greatest strength! Our faith will sustain us through every crisis, and it will serve as a beacon of light to others.
You are greatly loved and greatly valued! Life as we know it will likely change in a number of ways as a result of this experience, but we are blessed with resiliency, and we will not only survive, but we will also thrive.
Until next time, stay smart, stay healthy, stay vigilant, stay happy, and stay faithful.
Blessings and Best Wishes Until We Meet Again!