I grew up as a “church kid.” My mom was Sunday School Superintendent and it felt like anytime the church doors were open we were there! My sister and I both went into the ministry. Me as a pastor, and she is an Executive Director for the United Methodist Women’s global offices in New York. It would be hard to imagine my family life without church, which has made this week all the more surreal without being able to physically gather.
But I remember a song I learned as a child at Parkway Heights UMC in Hattiesburg…
The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the CHURCH IS THE PEOPLE!
I always believed that, but I’ve experienced that in a powerful way this week. The “church” is not the place we gather, but it is instead the people; the body of Christ called by the Holy Spirit to glorify God the Father.
This week we have been forced to do “church” in a new way. But we have still been the church! We have connected with people over Facebook, sent out videos, emails, and even gotten old-fashioned and picked up the telephone. Members have run to get groceries for each other, picked up mail, and called just to check in. It’s different, but it’s a reminder, just like that children’s song teaches, “ I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together!”
You can help us continue to be the church for each other and our community by doing the following things:
1) Pray for healthcare workers, those facing job losses and slowdowns, and those who are sick.
2) Call or text your friends, check on one another and encourage one another.
3) Let us know if you or someone else needs help. There is a form on the website that you can fill out or call our Pastoral Care Line at 601-460-0570.
4) Continue to financially give to the church if you can. We still have our ongoing expenses, we’re still financially supporting our missionaries, and we still want to be able to respond to the needs of our community. Your gifts to our general operating fund make that possible. You can mail your check to the church or give securely online ( CLICK HERE ). Thank you for your generosity.
While it looks like this uncertainty will last for some time, what is certain is that we will be the church no matter what. Sometimes the simplest lessons we learn as children are the most profound:
I am the Church, You are the Church, We are the Church together!
All who follow Jesus, All around the world, Yes we’re the Church together!
Grace and Peace,