Usually this edition of the Steeple would contain information regarding the exciting start of a new “season” in the life of the church. With summer winding down, normally we’re getting ready for a very active fall with the return of Sunday school classes, the choir starting up again, a special “Rally Day” to kick the season off and more. While we will certainly experience some of these things, we are living in unusual times. The guidelines and limitations due to COVID-19 continue to shape our life together. Although a date has been set for Rally Day, September 27th, we don’t exactly know what this day will look like yet. We will try to start offering nursery care and holding in-person Sunday school classes on this day, but this is still in flux. If we do offer Sunday school classes they will probably be held outside when the weather permits and then inside, in the large room upstairs, with masks and proper distancing.
When the beach services finish up on September 6th, we’ll be back together again as one congregation at 10 a.m. Throughout the rest of the month of September we’ll be worshipping outside, again weather permitting. When we do move inside, we’ll have to space people out and require all participants to wear a mask. We won’t be able to have our choir return yet. We continue to be encouraged to refrain from singing, especially inside. It looks like we won’t be re-starting our fellowship hour after worship either for some time. So, things will continue to be a little different.
All this being said, we can still look forward to this new season upon us and be grateful. The beach services have gone very well this summer. It’s always nice to also get back together again as one congregation for worship, which will happen on September 13th. We will certainly be offering something for our children and youth. A Bible study on the parables of Jesus, both in person during the day and on-line at night continues into October. We’re also starting to do some intentional work around the priorities we set earlier in the year, priorities that came out of our house meetings last fall. Focusing intentionally on these priories will be a blessing for all. In addition, although we can’t hold a Church Fair this year, we will be having a Fishermen’s House Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn “Super Sale” on September 19th. This should be a fun way to build on the very successful re-opening of the Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn and continue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this ministry.
So, although a number of things remain uncertain, some things we can surely count on. The most important one, of course, is the love and faithfulness of God. Although these are unusual and uncertain times for us all, they aren’t for God. Over the centuries God has led people safely through all sorts of challenges; plagues, natural disasters, national crises, world wars and even global pandemics. God is still with us and will lead us safely into the future to which we are being called. Opportunities to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ continue to be available to all of us, each and every day. So, I look forward to this new season that is upon us and thank you all for your faithfulness!
Grace and Peace,
Last fall members and friends of our congregation met in a series of house meetings. During these meetings we reflected on a couple questions about our church life. Sixty-two different people participated in these conversations and shared some wonderful insights. After these conversations were completed, a group of leaders looked at all the ideas that were shared. From these notes a list of potential priorities was developed. This list of priorities was shared with our Church Council in January and then presented during a congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, February 16th. The following priorities were endorsed and approved:
Building Our Congregation’s Connections
Building Our Community Connections
Continuing to Focus on Children, Youth and Young Adults
Building Our Connections with Senior Adults
Supporting Efforts to Address Housing Issues on Cape Cod
We were just starting to get organized in order to address some of these priorities when the pandemic hit. In many respects, things have been “on hold” since in regards to intentionally moving forward with these priorities.
Now more than ever, these priorities feel very important, especially building our connections with senior adults. While we have resumed in-person worship services again, we are still limited in the ways we are able to be together. A number of people are not yet comfortable or safe joining for worship. Fellowship opportunities are limited. During this time of “sheltering in place” and “social distancing,” the challenges of feeling isolated and “cut-off” can be even greater.
So, if you have an interest in being part of a team who will reach out to some of our senior and/or shut-in members to see if there are specific things they might need or would appreciate please contact Pastor John. We will do this outreach in appropriate and responsible ways, but as it is clear that COVID 19 will continue to be with us for a while, it seems we need to move forward on all our priorities. If you feel God might be encouraging you to be part of a team like this, someone who will call, listen to and help advocate for some of our senior or shut-in members, please send Pastor John a quick email.
We give thanks for our very successful summer beach services this year. Worship attendance at these services ranged from 41 to 89 people on any given Sunday. We extend our thanks to all those who helped make these services possible. We especially thank Cookie Barry for joyfully greeting people at every single service. We thank Howard Heaton, Lesa Dovell, Carol and David Beauchamp, Cheryl Kain and all who helped get equipment to the beach and the sound system ready to go for our services. Every Sunday a number of people also “pitch in” and help pack up the equipment to get it ready for the 10 AM service. We thank Allan Broadhurst for leading worship on August 9th when Pastor John was away. Thank you all!
We will be going back to one service at 10 AM on Sunday, September 13th. We will continue to hold the service outside on the front lawn if it is not raining. So, feel free to bring your own chair, a hat, coat, blanket, sunglasses or whatever will help you feel more comfortable. While we are still in the midst of this pandemic, we will continue to practice physical distancing, offer masks to those who would like one, have hand sanitizing stations available and maintain the changes we’ve made to our order of worship so people can stay healthy and safe.
Remember we have also set aside a few parking spaces next to the front lawn for people who would like to participate in the service but remain in their cars. If it rains, we will move the service indoors and everyone in attendance will need to wear a mask. We have roped off certain pews in order to practice physical distancing and people will be dismissed at the end of the service.
We will certainly continue to record our worship services. They can be viewed from the comfort and safety of your home by going to www.syumc.org. Usually these services are available on our congregation’s website by early Monday afternoon. We are also exploring the possibility of “live-streaming” our services on Sunday morning, so those who are watching from home can participate in worship with the rest of the congregation in “real time.”
We especially thank Deb Hanson, Howard Heaton, Cheryl Kain, Paul Honigsblum and Wendy Perry for making our on-line services available for everyone each week
We had hoped to have our annual Church Fair on Saturday, September 19th. When we spoke with leaders from the town however, we were advised that it is still not wise to offer something like this during the time of the pandemic. We thank John Duncan and others who had already started working on getting ready for the fair this year. We appreciate all their efforts. We also look forward to having an extra good church fair next year! We still plan to have something special on September 19th at SYUMC. Since the Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn have been doing so well and since we have a date set already for a special event, leaders of the church thought that instead of a Church Fair we’ll have a special Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn Super Sale! On September 19th, from 10 – 2 PM our Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn will be open, like they usually are. On this date however, we’ll put some extra furniture and thrift shop items out on the lawn, in the driveway and have a “super sale!” If you can help out with this sale, please speak with either Penny or Connie. Also, if you have items to donate for the sale please call the church office.
Because of the faithfulness of a number of members and friends of the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church, our congregation has been able to continue to be a beacon of hope in our community and to offer a very important witness during these challenging times. The congregation has also been able to continue to pay our staff during the entire time of the coronavirus pandemic. We have continued to offer worship and other ministries even though at times we’ve had to do so in new ways. We are grateful to everyone who has kept up-to-date on their giving, placed their offering in the small, wooded church building on Sunday, mailed in or dropped off pledge envelopes and financial gifts to the church office. Some people, who use on-line banking, have also contacted their financial institution to make regular, direct, on-line contributions to the church. This is still another way to make sure our giving is consistent and remains a priority. Please continue to remember your church with your contributions. Every gift counts and makes a difference. Thank you all and God bless!
Since we are recording our services every Sunday, if someone would like to have a DVD of the service made, we have the ability to do so. If you are interested in having a DVD of any service, please let the Church Office know. We are grateful to Howard Heaton for offering this option for us to experience our Sunday worship services.
A Bible study based upon a number of the parables Jesus told in order to communicate the message of the good news of God is being offered this month and into the month of October. These parables are filled with powerful lessons. Some of them may be familiar to us, others may not be, but each one is rich with meaning. While this study has already started, each session is fairly “self- contained” and the entire study continues through October 23st. So if you’d like to join in with either the group that meets in-person on Wednesdays in the parish hall at 12:30 p.m. or the group that meets on-line at 6:30 PM, call the church office or speak with Pastor John. Everyone is welcome.
A number of folks have received their passport booklets for our Summer Mystery Walks. It has been great fun for Pastor John and Joy to hear from those who have taken them. Remember, if any child finds all four hidden SYUMC boxes and places the four stickers in their booklet they’ll receive a small prize. Just show Pastor John your passport. If anyone would like to participate in the walks and have not yet received your own booklet, we have additional copies available at the church office. Pastor John, Joy and Bailey will keep the mystery walks “active” (making sure the SYUMC boxes with stickers are in place) through the month of September. The slightly cooler weather may be a bit more conducive for a nice walk for those who haven’t done them yet. Enjoy!
It has been a very busy summer for the Thrift Shop and Furniture Barn. We thank everyone for their loyal support. Volunteers are always needed! Please let Connie or Penny know if you are able to lend a few hours.
Plan to visit our Super Sale on Saturday, September 19th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with lots of good things for sale!
As you know, wonderful work has been done to fix up and dress up the front and side of the Fishermen’s House. We are grateful to all who have contributed time and talent to this project and especially our Board of Trustees for overseeing all this work. The most recent update is that someone from our congregation noticed the nice work being done but also saw that the roof needed attention. So, this person was inspired to make an anonymous donation to have the roof replaced on the front of the Fishermen’s House and the roof over the front stoop. This work was completed on Saturday, August 15th. We certainly give thanks for the generosity and thoughtfulness of this donor! All the improvements have really transformed the look of this wonderful, historic building.