Good afternoon parish,
“I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see.
I sought my God, but my God eluded me.
I sought my brother (sister), and I found all three.”– Anonymous
As we join our hearts together this weekend to celebrate Trinity Sunday, I am mindful of the systemic racial injustice which is under protest in so many cities of our nation, including (last night) Auburn-Lewiston. From what I observed, our law enforcement officers expressed solidarity with the
spirit of the protest. For deeper change to emerge, we do well to recognize how we are all in this together. The quote above reminds us that inner contentment and oneness with God are found in the care we offer to those all around us who are made in God’s image, regardless of skin color or any other particulars which may divide. The trinitarian triumph of the verse perhaps flows from God’s own nature. In connection with this, today (Friday) has been designated by our District Superintendent as a Day of Prayer, seeking peace and justice for all.
At our live-stream worship (Sunday at 10 am, UMCA Facebook Page, and then posting to the website, www.auburnmethodist.org) this week, we will celebrate holy communion. I invite you to prepare elements of bread and grape juice for us to bless and share together. The Worship Guide is attached to this email for all who wish to participate. I will send a follow-up email with the zoom link for the 2 pm Coffee Fellowship Chat for any who may wish to visit together on that on-line platform.
At our Council meeting last night, there was considerable discussion and prayer regarding re-opening the church facility to ‘in person’ worship. We have heard from many and appreciate the range of views represented. There are some who are frustrated that we are not re-opening this Sunday and others who don’t feel we should re-open until the fall or 2021. We have substantial documents from the CDC (Center of Disease Control), State of Maine, New England Conference and even our own municipality which require or recommend certain protocols and best practices to make the facility and worship service safe for all who participate. To that end, we have formed a Relaunch Team (Gary Bain, Steve Bascom, Carla Daigle, Cherie Downing, Joel Irish, Amanda Lednum and Wanda Sprague) to craft a plan to present to the July 9th meeting of the Church Council, with the hope that we may be able to re-open in some form by July 12th. Please understand that we are trying to approach this with integrity, harmonizing with our shared values of creating ‘Safe Sanctuary’ and championing full inclusion.
A brief survey has been created and will be distributed (email and postal service for those without internet access) to invite congregational perspective on some of the challenges and opportunities related to re-opening. To expedite this process, we ask you to respond to the survey within one week of receipt. That way, your recommendations, concerns and observations can inform the work of the Relaunch Team.
Rev. Kristin White and I are crafting a service of memorial remembrance for those who have lost beloved pets this past year. It will be an on-line service, via zoom, on Sunday, June 14th at 6 pm. I will send the parish list a link closer to that time so that you may join in as you feel the Spirit guide. Former Pastor Jackie Brannen lost her brother this past week. Bereavement cards may be mailed to: 6 Dana Drive, Bangor, ME 04401. Former Secretary Joan Spitzform broke her ankle this past week: 1125 Main Street, Poland, ME 04274. Please keep them in prayer as well as others in our church family.
We will be publishing a summer edition of The Beacon, so if you have articles or notes to include, please send them to Edith Ellis as soon as possible. Thank you for your continuing financial support and patience during this spring of pandemic. Please know that you continue in my prayers and heart.
God’s grace and peace,
Pastor Steve Bascom