Pastoral Message -Welcome to 2021!
I wish to extend a heartfelt “Thank You!” to the congregation, for the generous gift and for simply getting through this past year. It was a tough one - filled with trauma and worries, grief and pain. We responded as a community of faith to meet needs as we could. We shuttered our building as needed, remembering that the church is the people, not the building. When we were closed, we found new ways to communicate and worship. When we were open, we found new ways to gather safely and discovered that Methodists can gather without the promise of food! We had a video Annual Conference and an in-person Charge Conference. Our members sewed masks for friends, family and strangers. Likewise, we grocery shopped for ourselves, neighbors and other vulnerable persons. The knitting group was prolific and, as usual - generous. We gathered and distributed PPE and cleaning supplies as well as personal needs to many facing economic hardships. We continued our support of our local missions while adding on regular donations to the Street Soldiers of Schenectady. We are a small congregation - we were not stopped by the pandemic. I look forward to the time when we can gather safely and SING!
2020 is hindsight at last - although troubles didn't just melt away as we put up a new calendar. We - the faithful of today- have felt deep kinship with those from days of old who longed for God to break into our lives with hope and healing and promise. As a Gen x-er I have never known such prolonged times of darkness. I have been encouraged by the commitment many have made to protect each other and their communities. I am thankful to have an awareness of who is "essential". I keep in mind: the drivers, the grocery store folks, the postal workers, the gas station attendants, with police, EMS, firefighters and heath care workers in my prayers every day. Grace does beak through; vaccines will become available; there is light at the end of this tunnel. But still, we continue to face this pandemic and it seems nearer to our region than ever before. Stay vigilant! The daily numbers from Schenectady County reflect that the numbers are still on the rise. Because of this, the church remains closed to in-person worship until at least 1/17 - we are planning a Zoom meeting on 1/10 - for church Leadership.
Text versions of the service are found on Facebooks at: "Sunday's Service at Alplaus" and "Alplaus United Methodist Church". Video messages can be found on the website at alplausumc.org/video-message.html. Look to e-mail and Facebook for announcements.
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