From the Pastor’s Desk

As I write this article it is another beautiful day on Cape Cod.  The temperature is warm, the sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze and everything is green!  It’s so stunning that sometimes I forget we are still in the midst of a serious global pandemic.   This feeling of disconnect has happened on numerous occasions the past three months.  Joy and I love to spend time outside and we have been struck by how nature almost seems indifferent to COVID 19.  The sun continues to shine, the stars glisten in the night sky, the leaves on the trees have come out, the peepers have peeped, the herring have “run,” the flowers have bloomed, and the weather has progressively gotten warmer.  Many rabbits are hopping around our yard.  The birds have been singing away.  We’ve even see some Baltimore Orioles this year.  We’ve watched turkeys trot across the street, deer run through the marshes and even a few coyotes curiously follow us for a time while walking Bailey.  The ocean waves continue to roll up on the sandy beaches.   The tides come in and go out.    All of nature continues even though millions of humans have become sick, powerful economies have come to a grinding halt and far too many have died. 

Thinking about all this invited me to wonder if nature would mind if humans weren’t here at all.  Would the rest of creation miss us if we were gone?  On the contrary it actually seems like nature has received a bit of a break from us during this pandemic.  As we have stayed home and done less travelling for example, our air has become a little cleaner.  What positive contribution do we make to the rest of the earth community?   I can recall the contributions of the different parts of nature; the energy of the sun to power the entire enterprise, the presence of water for life to exist, the importance of fertile soil as well as fire.  We know green plants and trees provide oxygen and food for other living things.  I can think of different animals and am reminded of their unique contributions.  What do humans offer? Of course we can be involved in preserving and protecting the natural world.  This is very important.  We can do things like not pollute, clean up rivers, plant trees, address global warming, and protect endangered species but most of these things are done in response to damage human beings have already caused.  They are corrective measures.  What do humans positively offer the rest of creation?

I think we know that a meaningful life will not be found in making money, gaining status and influence, or solely seeking to be entertained.  We also know these activities don’t really offer anything of value to other living things.  If we don’t want to be selfish, then why are we here?  What unique contribution can we make to God’s marvelous creation?

As I reflected on these things the wise words of Annie Dillard came to mind.  In her work “The Meaning of Life” she states “We are here to witness to creation and to abet it.  We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed.  Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach, but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other.  We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise people who are here with us.  We witness our generation and our times.  We watch the weather.  Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.”

It seems to me that at least one reason why we are here is to “bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us.”   After all, as far as we know, we are the only creatures on this planet able to be fully aware of what is happening around us.  Perhaps we are here to enjoy, further discover, appreciate, relish and rejoice in the very sacred nature of God’s creation.  Perhaps this is our contribution; through things like worship and the arts, the use of our creative energies and the labor of our hands, we are here to notice the miracle of creation, to assist it where we can and to truly be grateful for it.

The summer season is upon us.  It will be different than in years past but it remains a wonderful time of year to really notice to beauty of God’s creation and to marvel in its many wonders.  It’s a great time of year to do our part in helping to heal the earth but also to simply love it as God does.   Perhaps this is our offering.    

Our first Summer Beach Service was held last Sunday.  The weather was beautiful and we had a nice turn out at Bass River (Smuggler’s) Beach.  These early services will continue now through Labor Day weekend every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM.  Be sure to tell your friends about these services.  If it rains the service will be held in our sanctuary.

We also had our 10 AM worship service on the front lawn.  Thank you to all who came out for this service too!  We’ll plan to worship this Sunday at 10 AM on the front lawn once again.  Being the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be serving communion at the 10 AM service.  The personal, pre-packaged communion elements will be used for health and safety reasons.  We have reserved a few parking spaces between the Fishermen’s House and the front lawn for people who would like to remain in their cars but still participate in the service.  Once again, if it’s raining we will move this service indoors.  If we do move worship indoors, state and church guidelines require all in attendance to wear masks. 

We will continue to record our services and post them here on the website  The recordings are usually available by the end of the day on Monday.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor John

Summer Mystery Walks

Pastor John, Joy (and Bailey) enjoy taking walks and hikes here on Cape Cod.  While doing so, they have discovered some very interesting places and thought it would be fun to offer a little adventure this summer for all who are interested.  Pastor John and Joy are developing directions to four fun places to explore.  The directions include “clues” to find a hidden case with stickers in them.  If you go on a particular hike and find the case, we invite you to put a sticker in a “passport” to show us that you were successful in finding the spot. A brief devotion accompanies each mystery location as well.   This is a great activity for families with children, but also really for people of every age.  If you would like to participate and receive a “passport”, speak with Pastor John or Joy or email the church at The walks will be ready to go by mid-July!

The Fishermen’s House Thrift Shop is Open

The Thrift Shop has reopened with a bang bringing in almost $800 in two days!  We are now trying to work a full week schedule with the shop open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Barn open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to  2 p.m.   We are still desperate for workers for both the Shop and the Barn!  We also have a need for someone to be in charge of the clothing as it comes in to sort for our shop and then price and put on hangers, or to pass on to Salvation Army.  Several folks working together make this a fun job. This can be done on your time schedule.  Please contact Connie if you would be interested.

We had a great team last weekend to make a pick up of items from an Estate Sale and we have been told to be on call for more pick-ups in the near future. This again is a fun day with lots of laughs along the way.  Come join our gang of pickers! Talk to Penny at 508-776-8797 to be put on our list.  Please think about where you might help — this is such a big part of our church budget and many hands makes light work.

Thrift Shop has a new face lift — new signs, new paint!  Thanks for all who made that happen!!

The Trustees of our church approved much needed work to be done to the front and side of this wonderful building. People have come out to care for the planters around the building as well as scrape and paint the trim.  We especially thank Jeanne Huseby, Cambi Cassanelli, Joy Mueller, Paula Phillips and Deborah Mitsis for making the gardens and planters around the Fishermen’s House look so nice.  We thank David Dickey for cutting the grass in front of the Fishermen’s house on a regular basis.  We also thank Richard Snelley for organizing the painting group for the property, along with those who gave time to do this work; Jeanne Huseby, Al Boragine, Paul Phillips, Joy Mueller and Penny Bach.  Finally, we thank those who have restored or in some cases remade some of the signs for the Fishermen’s House Thrift Shop.  Al Boragine, Allan Broadhurst and Stanlee Wetzel have all offered their time and talent in this way.  The work everyone has been doing is making things look great!   

Thank you, two little words that have such a big meaning.  Thank you to Pastor Mueller and Joy for their love and support of Fishermen’s House and their willingness to step in whenever help is needed.  Thank you to Wendy who makes up signs at a moments notice and for her patience when we ask to put something in the bulletin or Steeple at the very last moment. Thank you to everyone whose hard work made it possible to open when we did. Thank you to the folks who are responsible for the work done to the front of the building, to the scrappers and painters.  Thank you to Allen Broadhurst for all his wonderful work on the Fishermen’s House signs. Thank you to the folks who mow the lawns, weed and mulch the gardens.  They look beautiful and there is more to come.did.   Thank you to Penny Bach for her great work in the barn and putting together a team for an estate sale pick up, the life’s blood of our little shop.  Although we are living in unusual times, this is our fortieth year and I think we are off to a great start!

Thank you all,

Connie Swedlund

Church Council Meeting and Special Church Conference

On Sunday, July 19th at 11:30  a.m. members of the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church are invited to a special Church Conference for the purpose of discussing and voting upon the congregation’s acceptance of a loan from the United States government in the amount of $22,138 through the Cares Act Payroll Protection Program.   At the appropriate time and after the proper paper work has been submitted, this loan should be converted into a grant.  Pastor John has been authorized by our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. David V. Calhoun to preside at this meeting.   After the business of the special Church Conference has been completed, the monthly Church Council meeting will be held.  These meetings will be held in our sanctuary.

Church Fair Update

The annual Church Fair has been rescheduled from July to September 19, 2020.  Please set this date aside to help with setup, selling, and cleanup.  We will need help inside the Cafe Church as well as help to cook burgers and hot dogs and for the DQ “dilly bar” truck.

Thanks for all your help and support in the years past and for this year, too. 

John Duncan

Fair Committee Chair

2020 Scholarship Recipient

2020 Scholarship Recipient

We congratulate Benjamin Wanko upon receiving a 2020 scholarship from the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church.  Ben completed his application and was enthusiastically approved for a $1,000 grant.   Ben has had a very successful career at Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School.  He was a member of the National Honor Society, a Dennis Yarmouth High School Ambassador, the captain of the band “front ensemble,” class marshal and volunteered his time and energy in a variety of ways.  Ben and his family are also active members of our congregation.   Ben will use this scholarship for his continuing education at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.  He intends on studying film making.   We are grateful the congregation has a tradition offering scholarship money to encourage young people in their pursuits beyond high school.  Congratulations to Ben and thank you for the generosity of everyone in the church who makes this ministry possible.

Historic Sanctuary Open for Prayer and Meditation

Our historic sanctuary will be open from Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until 2 PM for prayer and meditation.  As you enter the sanctuary you also have an opportunity to write down any prayer requests you might have.  Pastor John will be lifting up these prayer requests each week during his own prayer time.  As we continue to deal with the concerns of COVID-19, it may be refreshing to spend a few moments in the comfort and familiarity of our beautiful worship space.  If someone else is in the sanctuary, sit in a place that offers each other plenty of space.  Stop by and spend some time in our wonderful sanctuary to offer thanks to God, to unburden your soul and to feel God’s comforting presence around you.  Please feel free to invite neighbors and friends to do so as well.

Thank You for your Faithfulness

Because of your faithfulness, we have been able to continue to pay our staff during this difficult health and economic crises.  We are grateful to everyone who has mailed in or dropped off your pledge envelopes and financial gifts to the church office.  Some have paid their financial commitments in advance, even giving for the entire year just to help us get through this fiscally “tight” time, thank you!  Please continue to remember your church in this way.  Every gift counts and makes a difference.  Because of your faithfulness, the South Yarmouth United Methodist Church is able to continue to be a beacon of hope in our community and offer a very important witness during these challenging times.  God Bless!

Email Update

If you have not been receiving the weekly update email letters from Pastor John and would like to receive them, please call the church office and let us know.  If you are not receiving them it may be because we don’t have your email address or perhaps we have the wrong one.  We would be happy to add your email to our weekly distribution list. Another reason could be the letter went into your ‘spam’ folder.   You might want to check.  These updates are a nice way for us to stay ‘connected’ during these times and important pastoral care information is often shared in them.  Thank you.

Knitters Wanted

SYUMC needs baby blankets for baptisms.  What a great way to pass away the hours of sheltering at home by knitting a blanket for a baby that will always be cherished. Do any pattern you like. 

Thank you so much, The Ladies Knitting Group