One of the important communication tools that we have used at Claybanks United Methodist Church is our monthly “Good News Letter” newsletter. Another communication tool we use is the announcement time prior to worship. Because of our sheltering in place that we have followed diligently to protect not only ourselves but others we have had to rely on different ways to communicate upcoming activities, events and other news. My goal in writing this is to bridge this time until our next newsletter is published at the beginning of June and we again meet in worship with announcement time.
Your Claybanks United Methodist Church leadership teams have been communicating with each other during this stay-at-home time. In the upcoming weeks we will be meeting using Zoom to plan the re-engagement/opening of the Claybanks United Methodist Church once again. The goal of these leadership meetings is to provide a safer place for our Claybanks family to gather together when we are empowered to do so. Church will be somewhat different than our previous, “Church” experiences. Please be assured as we approach the time when we can gather once again in worship we will be communicating to you the steps we will be taking to make the Claybanks United Methodist Church a safer place in which we can gather. Things will not always be the same. Some of our practices and traditions will be different, so please keep an open mind as to the changes you will experience are for the health and safety of all.
Sunday, May 31st I will be leading worship once again from the Mears United Methodist Church as we join our brothers and sisters in Christ online and on the radio. I know that for some of you online worship is not possible and you are not able to receive the radio broadcast from the Mears United Methodist Church (9:15 am 100.5 FM). I do encourage you to join other churches in worship such as White Lake United Methodist Church which broadcast at 10:00 am on station 98.5 FM.
For those who are able to join the Mears webcast I would like you to notice a very special addition to the Pentecost Sunday broadcast on the 31st. Shortly after the beginning of the year a number of the ladies from you Claybanks United Methodist Church began a project to create a new banner for our church to be hung on Pentecost Sunday. Because we will not be in church at Claybanks the banner will be hung as part of the Pentecost Celebration as I am able to lead the Mears, Shelby and Claybanks United Methodist Churches in celebrating Pentecost Sunday Worship. This will be a time when we acknowledge the special presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The new banner at present has been hanging in the sanctuary at Claybanks United Methodist Church and will remain there until just prior to May 31st. I would encourage you to stop by and see the beauty, color and artwork of the banner created by the ladies from our church. We acknowledge with love the work of Leona Twist daughter Jill from Quilted Memories who has donated materials and time so that our banner could be completed. Thank you Jill and all who made this new banner possible. We are blessed to be able to share it with all who will be watching the webcast on Sunday, May 31st.
Other forms of communication: Luanne Nienhouse continues to keep our Claybanks United Methodist Church website up-to-date. You can check our website by going to: https:claybanksunitedmethodist.com. We also have for our Claybanks family a Facebook page. You can find it by searching for, “Claybanks Methodist Church Family” on Facebook and request to join the group.
Many of you have continued to support the ongoing operations of the Claybanks United Methodist Church by sending in your weekly offerings to our PO Box. We very much appreciate your commitment and the continued support you have made in meeting the needs of our church. Because this stay-at-home time is continuing longer than most of us had anticipated we encourage you if you have not recently made a contribution (as you would do weekly if we were meeting in worship) would you please consider mailing your offering to:
Claybanks United Methodist Church
P. O. Box 104
Montague, MI 49437
It is my belief and the belief of others in the leadership of our church that we will soon be able to gather together once again. When we have a firm date in which we will be able to gather together we will be communicating that with you by email or through our US Postal System and our church call list. Our plan is to give you ample time and direction on the opening of our church.
Please continue to keep our church family along with our community and our country in your prayers during this Covid-19 pandemic.
I would like to close with this Scripture and thought, from Isaiah 43:1 – 3 “But now, says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, the one who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched and flames will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior”. These times for us in our country and the world have been rough, difficult and our souls hurt. We have changed the way we live, we have lost many lives in our country and possibly lives of those close to us. Our economy is in a difficult time and many have lost their employment and income. We look into the future and see a different way of life. Isaiah says in Scripture that we are not to fear for the Lord knows each one of us by name and claims each one of us as one of his children and when difficulties sweep over us he is still God and through the love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us we know that we are not alone. In the power of the Holy Spirit we have the assurance that God will be with us and give us strength for what lies ahead. I offered this prayer, “Lord, thank you for standing beside me, for knowing my name, and for calling me your own. Help me trust you when the floods and fires come. Help me to remember that you are always with me and to trust in your unfailing love. Amen”.