Daily Archives: June 29, 2020

Pastor’s Ponderings

I am writing this message to you with a deep concern for the physical health of our congregation and the need to be spiritually fed. Over the past two weeks our Worship Design Committee and our Administrative Council have looked at the possibility of returning to worship once again in the Claybanks United Methodist Church Sanctuary. We were carefully looking at returning to worship in the first part of July along with other churches in our area. It has been decided during these past few days that our community is not ready for us to return to worshiping together. With the recent increase of Covid-19 cases in Oceana County and the rising trend in our country, we are not ready to gather together safely in our church building. When the time is right for us to gather together additional communications will be issued by phone, email or postal mail to confirm our re-engaging in worship. To do this we must meet the requirements set before us by the State of Michigan, follow guidelines developed for the re-engaging of churches by the Michigan Conference of United Methodist Churches and the determination to do so by our church leadership. This will not be an easy process and some practices will not be what we have done before as we worship God, in the image of Christ through the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

Please hear and understand when I say this: you must decide for yourself and possibly other family members as to how comfortable you will be in returning to worship in the future. Some of us for health reasons must refrain from gathering together because of the possible health risks Covid-19 poses to those with pre-existing health conditions and other at a greater risk. For those who are just not ready to return to worship and all who will not be with us in worship as we gather together please do not let peer pressure, the habit only of being in worship on Sunday mornings or any other possible influences that might make it uncomfortable for you to be in worship be your only deciding factor. I assure you that we will not judge anyone or place a negative value on your decision to gather in common space worship until you feel comfortable. God knows your heart and wants nothing but safety and your well-being to be his desire.

If and when you so choose to return to worship, please evaluate your health each and every day including Sunday mornings prior to attending worship. People with Covid – 19 have a wide range of symptoms and if you have any of these please stay-at-home, contact your local medical providers and evaluate your current health. Some of the Covid-19 symptoms are: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, feeling nauseous or vomiting, and diarrhea. Should you have any of these symptoms please error on the side of safety for yourself and others that you might come in contact with.

For Sunday morning worship and any time we gather at Claybanks United Methodist Church we will practice safe social and physical distancing. We have developed policies and procedures in which to meet these requirements as much as possible. Wearing of face coverings is required for all with this one exception: those who because of health reasons are not able to where a face covering. We asked that you contact Pastor Gary prior to arriving at church so that we can make accommodations to keep you safe and others safe. All are welcome but certain restrictions will be in place. The entrance and exit to our building will only be through our double door entrance into the Fellowship Hall. As you approach and enter the church building please respect and use safe distancing. The entrance being used is wide and will allow the safest entry into our building. When entering and leaving safe distances are required. Hand sanitizer, sanitized wipes and face coverings will be available at our entrance area please use them. We will have a noncontact thermometer available should it be needed. In the entryway you will find baskets in which you may place your offerings for the day. We ask you to minimize your contact or touching of surfaces within the church. As you approach and enter the church building please respect and use safe distancing. Ushers will be available to seat you in the Sanctuary or in the Fellowship Hall if you prefer and we will use Fellowship Hall as overflow when needed. Please follow the directions of ushers and sit where direct (be open to the new and different perspective from your usual sitting location). We have determined the best possible seating to maximize the number of seats available in the sanctuary keeping safe distances. Bulletins will be placed in the seating areas where the ushers will guide you to. During our worship when we use a call and response, we ask you to respond in soft voices. For the immediate future we will not be singing, Suzanne is selecting music for worship that will touch our souls. To lift up Joys and Concerns we ask you to write them out prior to attending worship or use the forms provided in the pews which the pastor will collect and offer up during our prayer time. To minimize contact our Scripture Readings will be done by our liturgist and should you want to read along we asked that you bring your own Bible to worship. The touching of Bibles and our hymnals in the pews we are asking you to keep to a minimum. At the conclusion of worship, we will dismiss those in the Fellowship Hall first and then working from the back of the church towards the front you will be directed to leave by pew using safe distancing. We asked that you leave the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall and proceed outside so that others can be directed to leave in a timely fashion.

Please be flexible and aware of the changes being made and any adjustments that will be made in the future are to protect you and the others as we gather together in community. It is our prayer that the precautions that we take will be effective in allowing us to continue to meet together in worship as the community of Christ gathers at Claybanks United Methodist Church to give glory and praise to God for the love that he has for us and our church.

We as a church have never closed, so the church does not need to be reopened only re-engaged in worship. We as a church have simply stop worshiping in our building for time to protect the health and well-being of the people in our community. The church does not require a building in order to be the church. What is required to be a church is love, compassion and the presence of God.

May the love of God and the compassion of Christ be in all that you do and say, and may the presence of the Holy Spirit be with you each and every day wherever you might be.

Pastor Gary

Announcements and Stuff

United Methodist Women

As I sit here in the sun on a Sunday morning, I am remembering an old hymn “Shall we Gather at the River, the Beautiful the Beautiful River”. With that lovely hymn resonating in my heart, I invite any or all the UMW to gather at 1 PM at our church on the 3rd Thursday of July the 16th. We may not be working on the Strawberry Social, but we do need to plan a joyful recognition of our graduates, Kyra, Eric, and Lance. We will have a devotion time with a bit of humor and if permitted, a treat to eat.
It is perfectly okay if you feel you cannot attend because of the Covid-19 pandemic or any other reason. God loves us and we love each other, present or apart. We will maintain social distancing with masks. Bring your own coffee and no offense if treats are declined!
Shalom my friends and sisters in Christ, Edie Bogart

Nursery Schedule

July 5​​ – Cheryl Gaultney
July 12​​ – June Freeman
July 19 ​​- Kathy Ohman
July 26 ​​- Joyce Twiss
August 2 ​​- Doris Graham
August 9 ​​- Carol Adams

Mission Related

During the past couple of years, we as a congregation have supported the Step-Up Program in Muskegon helping young adults moving out of foster care. Dr. Kamps from Step Up has notified us about an open position that they are trying to fill. We are asking if you know of someone that might fulfill the position requirement to let them know about the position.

The Program Coordinator – The Program Coordinator meets weekly with the residents of both men’s and women’s houses to set and evaluate completion of goals for each individual. Areas to be addresses include education, transportation, job seeking, managing finances and the continued development of social skills. The Program Coordinator holds the residents accountable to move forward.

Financial Position -An update on the finances of the Claybanks United Methodist Church.

The financial position of Claybanks United Methodist Church as you would expect has changed during the three-plus months of Covid-19. While many of you have faithfully continued your normal giving, we have experienced a drop in contributions during Covid-19. The month of June has continued to show a decline in giving and to meet our financial obligations we have needed to dip into some of our reserves.

On July 1st which is halfway through our financial year Cinda Moulds, our Church Treasurer, has been asked by our Finance Committee to send out half-year statements to our congregation as a reminder of your commitment to support the Claybanks United Methodist Church with your financial gifts. As we look to coming back together in worship in the near future it is a prayer, hope, and desire that our church community will look at their financial position and support the Claybanks UMC in meeting our financial obligations.

John Wesley
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
(Contemporary Version)

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,
Praised for you or criticized for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.
And now, O wonderful and holy God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,
you are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it also be made in heaven.

And Can It Be that I Should Gain
By Charles Wesley

1. And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
o Refrain:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2. ’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

3. He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

5. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Upcoming Worship Schedule

July 5, 2020
Open to the Leading of the Holy Spirit

July 12, 2020
Psalm 119: 105-112 / Romans 8: 1-11
Christ In You

July 19, 2020
Genesis 28: 10-19a / Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
The Weeds of the Field
Children’s Message: Flat Stones

July 26, 2020
Guest Worship Leader
Dion Stumpo