SEC UCC Bi-Monthly Newsletter!
"How long O Lord, how long?"
by Rev. Char Burch, Transitional Conference Minister
"How long O Lord, how long?" That seems to be a common sentiment lately as the weeks drag on - even with the hope of some re-opening of businesses. Whether you have found creative use of time while at home, been counting the pennies in your bank account, or have experienced new opportunities, it feels like it has been a long time in this uncertain state.
I am reminded of the Biblical stories of the Exodus when the Hebrews left Egypt and wondered in the wilderness for 40 years. There was a lot of anxiety - and whining - about not knowing where they were going and what would be their "new normal" in a land that was different from what they had known. But during that time of uncertainty, they began to re-define themselves and consider what was important as they moved into a new beginning.
Perhaps we are in the midst of some similarities in our transition. The pandemic is allowing us to see more clearly the issues of injustice as lower income areas are suffering from COVID-19 at a higher rate. In addition, certain segments of people have higher unemployment rates; are faced with evictions from homes; are needing food while farmers are needing to destroy crops. We are discovering how segmented we are as a country when we cannot get needed supplies from one place to another and don't seem to know how to even communicate about the need to do that.
This time has been called by some as an opportunity for significant transformation. I know we just want things to get back to some kind of stability (please note that not everyone wants to go back to the way things were). However, as we move forward through this uncertain time, we have the opportunity to make things better as a society. As people of faith, we are called to ask questions that will help us become more aware of the reality of our society and correct the injustices. But its needs to begin with questions and listening deeply, and with not assumptions.
As the Hebrews struggled for those 40 years in the wilderness, they learned about asking questions and redefining themselves as people of God, people of faith.
I do not know how long COVID-19 will have a daily impact, and I do not know how things will change in the future. But I do know that difficult times provide opportunities for us to reaffirm and redefine who we are as Christians and how we live out our faith. God led the Hebrews through the wilderness, God will continue to lead us forward through this uncertain time!
From the Generosity Coordinator
by Min. Carrole Moss, Generosity Coordinator
Peace and blessings to all,
Amidst this Covid-19 Pandemic, we remain hopeful, faithful, and continue to trust God. All of us have been infected with or affected by this virus, yet we still trust God. We know people who have succumbed to this disease, yet we continue to pray, reach out to each other and we trust and believe that GOD is still in control. Yes, GOD's GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN GOD'S HANDS." Scripture teaches that we MUST trust GOD when life hurts.
Psalm 146: 5-10 reads and encourages:
"Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. God is the Maker of heaven and earth, God is the maker of the seam ad everything in them--Hod remains faithful FOREVER. God upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight t the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and he widow, but God frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever, your GodO Zion, for all generations. PRAISE THE LORD !!"
A huge note of Congratulations to our churches who received a Cycle one, 2020 Transforming Churches Transforming Lives grant award. Those receiving an award are:
Community Congregational UCC; Birmingham, AL
PATHWAYS Theological Education; Atlanta, GA
Cycle two, 2020 applications will be available in September 2020. If you applied for a grant and it was not awarded, acknowledgment been sent. Please feel free to reach out to me directly. We appreciate all the work that you are doing, and are so impressed with your projects. We are so grateful for all of the ways that continue to support this conference, in the good times and the bad. We will get through this together. We really appreciate your contributions, your support, and most of all, your love for this Southeast Conference United Church of Christ.
Please continue to be a source of support for each other, Let us continue to pray, shelter in, and know that we are ALWAYS stronger together.
May God continue to keep us all, bless us all, and one day soon, we will be able to be in community one with the other, personally. In the meantime, I am so enjoying the virtual worship with all of our participating churches. CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done.
Peace and blessings, as we continue to JOURNEY, TOGETHER, THIS TOO SHALL PASS...
UCC Peace Face Masks
Pre-order now. Shipping to begin at the end of May 2020.
Keep yourself and loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic with UCC face masks. Masks are constructed of two layers of lightweight moisture-wicking polyester fabric with elastic ear loops and a pocket for a removable filter (not included) to keep yourself as safe as possible from the virus. A HEPA filter would work well. Washable with filter removed. Hang to dry. Very stretchy and fits most with ease. These are non-medical grade masks.
We may have to wear masks, but we don't have to hide who we are. Be the church as we pray for rapid resolution to the pandemic and the safety of family, friends, and those on the front lines.
Proceeds from sales support the mission of the United Church of Christ and fund the National Setting's ability to continue to respond to the ongoing needs of the church in these times of pandemic.
For additional information & articles visit www.secucc.org