Weekly Greeting: April 24

Undaunted by Decembers, the sap is faithful yet.The giving earth remembers and only men forget.               

  – John G. Neihardt

Greetings Parish,

The earth is not as impressed with time as we are. We tire of sheltering in place, doing without and getting about, but earth trusts the seasonal rhythm, and whether it be early or late, spring awakens, robins return and the sun smiles. Let us treasure this time of reflection and re-evaluation of priorities, as best we can, so that its lessons reach into the ‘new normal’ which is emerging. At the same time, let us continue to pray for all who are ill and those working hard to care for them.

Please join us Sunday morning, 10 am, for our on-line, live-stream worship service on the church facebook page and website (www.auburnmethodist.org). Church School will continue with zoom encounters at 11 and 11:30 am. At 2 pm, I invite you to join us for our UMCA weekly coffee chat via Zoom (invitation link will be sent in separate email). At 6 pm, Sunday, our Youth Group will be meeting online as well.
Note to college students: If you wish to apply for a church scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year, please submit your request and update of activity to Cherie Downing (butchncherie@gmail.com) by May 10th. There are also limited funds available through the New England Conference which can be applied for by using the ‘form finder’ feature on the website (due date April 30).

We have published the church campus closure date through May 1st, but that will of course be extended until the Governor of Maine allows for churches to be safely re-opened. I have applied in the church’s behalf for a Paycheck Protection Plan loan through the CARES act of Congress and will let you know when and if it is approved. As part of that process, we are committed to retaining our staff at current compensation levels. Though many of us on staff may not be able to do what we are engaged for, I assure you that the staff are doing what they can for the continuing health of the church. As pastor, I am deeply thankful for them!

Joel and Janet Irish are moving forward with the Maple Syrup missional fundraiser and will, sometime after May 1st, arrange for curb-side pick-up and payment remittance from the church parking lot. Stay tuned! The profits received will support our lenten mission, Sophia’s House, a local residential facility designed to help at-risk women find a new start.
The New England Conference has established the Zarephath Emergency Relief Fund to help churches that are facing immediate and critical need during this extraordinary time of COVID-19.  To date, $10,000 has been contributed with matching funds from the Conference Council on Finance & Administration, the Foundation of New England, the Preacher’s Aid Society and the extended cabinet, thus $20,00 as of this writing. Another $30,000 of matching funds has been pledged if an equal amount can be raised. If you wish to contribute, please make the check out to: UMCA and indicate “Zarephath Fund.” We will forward the contribution to the New England Conference.

See these ‘Before and After’ photographs of the chancel wall at church.

Sanctuary Chancel Wall – Before and After replacement work, Spring 2020

Callahan’s has completed their work, and the result is spectacular! Thank you for providing the financial capacity for this work to be done. We are deeply grateful to Wanda Sprague and Carroll Akers (in particular) for their work in shepherding this project through to this stage.
Please know that you continue in my prayers and heart,

Pastor Steve Bascom, UMCA