Last year in the Vision I wrote that September was my favorite month as a time of seasonal change. The first day of autumn and the promise of shorter, cooler days is something I look forward to. September has also been, in my life experience, the start of new activities. September and the holiday of Labor Day used to be the start of school: do you remember that? Back when summer included all of August? September brought my new “grade” identity, a new teacher, and a new school group. Sunday School and Scouts and sports all got reorganized with the promotion that came with being a year older. September will be a month of change and reorganization for us here at Somerville First United Methodist Church as well. New responsibilities will be taken up as we fill work areas and committees for the upcoming church year. For quite a few of our members and friends, our connections and our work will be virtual. How we connect with the global and national church will also be virtual this year. The Annual Conference will be Saturday, September 26, and we will host with the UM Men providing breakfast in our Davis Hall as a Zoom meeting. Virtual conferencing may have its advantages, and I hope many of our members that have never seen the “business” of Annual Conference will gain insights to our connection with all the churches in West Tennessee and Western Kentucky. Our Charge Conference will be virtual also, a half-hour Zoom meeting with our District Superintendent, date to be announced. Having “adjusted” to forces beyond our control since last March, I look back with pride on the resilience of our church community. Many important elements of church fellowship have been maintained, and we continue to experiment with staying connected in the ways we can. Our live gatherings have gotten more comfortable with practice, and physical attendance is growing. The safety steps we have taken seem to be working as well. Our Children are meeting on Wednesday evenings for Study and Play. Plans are working toward a more dependable and robust “live stream” and recorded worship service, as well as a study series channel on our web site. “Experimenting” would be a good word for the highs and lows of our shut down and reopening.
I thank God we have not had any COVID-19 related deaths or serious illness among our membership that trace back to church contacts or events. Still, we are cautiously planning events and hoping for participation by the community. We hope to host a “Blessing of the Pets” for the community in October, and a “Parents Night” activity with our children on a Wednesday in October. Plans are also shaping up for a Community Thanksgiving Meal in November.
Remember the promise…
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
Joel 2:28 (New King James)