Weekly Greeting: Feb 21

Saturday, February 20th, 2021, 2 pm

Good afternoon parish,

May the grace of God be with you. As we grow into our Lenten season together, I encourage you to create space for renewing your relationship/encounter with God. I am setting aside Wednesday evenings for piano praise, Bible reading and prayer to create another ‘pocket of sabbath’ for renewal and growth. This is a wonderful way to prepare for Holy Week and the miracles of Easter. Fifteen visited the church on Ash Wednesday to receive imposition of ashes, and attendance at our evening zoom service was similar to what it would have been ‘in person.’ It sure was good to see some of you at each of these worship opportunities.

Worship services tomorrow (8:30 am zoom & 10 am livestream, You Tube, UMCA Facebook Page, UMCA website, www.auburnmethodist.org, also 88.3 FM in the church parking lot) will focus on ‘Generosity in Drought,’ the story of how God provided for both the prophet Elijah and a widow and her son during a time of drought every bit as severe as the COVID-19 pandemic or the Texas winter storm. I will introduce the Mission Committee’s designated Lenten Offering for 2021: The Zeraphath Emergency Relief Fund of the New England Conference. through it, we can assist our brothers and sisters throughout New England during this unusual time of challenge. One of the striking features of the Zeraphath story from I Kings 17:8-24 is that the widow’s sacrificial generosity, given to Elijah, God’s servant, becomes the catalyst for her own salvation and that of her son (in more ways than one!)

It saddens me to report that our former New England Conference bishop, F. Herbert Skeete, passed away on February 11th at the age of 90. Bishop Skeete was instrumental in helping to launch Africa University which has since trained generations of preachers, some of whom have become missionaries to New England churches, supplying pastoral leadership. He was also the bishop who ordained me as an elder in the last session of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Methodist Church (1992). I remember my first encounter with Bishop Skeete. He happened to sit with my wife, two-year-old son Eric, and me during his first luncheon with our Conference. To my chagrin, Eric scolded the bishop for not eating his peas, “If you don’t eat your peas, you know, you won’t be able to have any dessert!” Bishop Skeete then ate his peas.

I have attached to the weekly greeting email the Worship Guide for tomorrow’s services and an updated ‘Missions Opportunities’ sheet for any who wish to give to the projects described. Our Youth Group will be enjoying a sliding party at Joel and Janet Irish’s next Sunday afternoon, February 28th. Also, please hold the town of Turner in prayer as they grieve the loss of two of their neighbors under tragic circumstances.
God’s grace be with you,

Pastor Steve Bascom, UMCA