Called to make disciples of all!
DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, until further notice, we will be suspending WEDNESDAY LENTEN services AND SUNDAY morning services at all three PARISH OF THE HILLS United Methodist Churches which include Bethel UMC, First UMC in Mineral Point and Linden UMC at least until Palm Sunday APRIL 5TH.
WELCOME from Pastor Marilyn Brewer
Our Parish is comprised of 3 churches – Bethel United Methodist (rural Mineral Point), Linden United Methodist (Linden), and First United Methodist (Mineral Point). We welcome you to worship with us!
Reflection for March 30
By Krystal Goodger and the UM Foundation
This is a new, troubling time. The unknown, fear, and frustration is palpable. We are all asked to do something new… work from home, not go out, be a teacher, learn from home, or be surrounded by your entire family all. the. time. We are in a time of wilderness.
The term “wilderness experience” rarely, if ever, means a time or place of leisure. In fact, by definition it is a remote environment devoid of all ease, hope or comfort. It is a hostile place where few would willingly go. Most of us actually would resist going into a wilderness, yet that is exactly where God sent His Son.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” (Luke 4:1) Jesus just had a mountain top experience where he was blessed by God at the Jordan River. He heard God! He received the Holy Spirit! This should have been a time of celebration, but instead he is thrust into the wilderness. He is in the wilderness for 40 days, without food and water. Without the voice of God. Without knowing when it would end.
We too are in a time of wilderness. Wilderness is not a place of leisure is it? Sure, it seems simple: stay at home. Home is where my family is. Home is where I can find Netflix. Home is where my puppy is. It seems easy. But our wilderness time is not easy. It is filled with worries and frustrations. When will this end? How do I teach 5thgrade math again? What if I lose my job? What if we can’t pay our mortgage? Deep in the midst of the wilderness, we may feel lost and lacking God
Yet Jesus was with God and God was with Jesus in that wilderness. The good news also is that the wilderness time is not forever! Following Jesus’s time in the wilderness he went out to begin his public ministry. After “social distancing”, the first thing he did was gather together with people: He called his first disciples.
Our time in the wilderness will not be permeant either. Soon we will be able to gather together and worship God at church and in other social areas. But our churches need our help now. Our churches need your prayers, presence (during online worship), gifts, service (wherever possible), and witness. How can you pray for the church, others, and the world? How can you serve the church during this time? How can you uplift those around you? How can you give to your church?
The great news is that you are not alone; we are together in the wilderness. And though the wilderness is difficult, it does end. Soon we will celebrate Easter and other mountain top experiences together. Do not lose hope. Look forward!
The Foundation invites you to remember your church in giving as well as your prayers, presence, service and witness. How can you give to the church? You can still send in your check to the church! They will still take your money! Or if your church has electronic giving, please support them in that way. If your church does not have electronic giving, many groups are offering support during this time. (VANCO is offering free services for the next 3 months OR the WI Conference is offering to filter electronic gifts through their VANCO account.) Donate to your local church
SERMON MESSAGE – SUNDAY 03-21-2020
We are left with the uncertainty of how are we going to be God’s people together? While this is all new to us, this is not uncharted territory to our God. God has been leading His people through their wildernesses from generation after generation.
It is our task to find a sense of Unity in the midst of this new isolation. What I know is that crisis brings out the Best in us. I know that the Holy Spirit works through us to transform our lives and the lives of others. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that the future is in God’s hands and we can take comfort in that.
Next week I expect I will be a little closer to knowing how to provide a sacred space for the people of Parish of the Hills. Until then please pray for your parish and your pastor. We are called to be the People of God in Christ. I pray we may begin to see what that looks like.
May God Surround You With God’s Love,
INFO UPDATE – SUNDAY 03-21-2020
PROPOSALS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE UMC
As of November 2019, at least four groups had submitted proposals addressing the denomination’s future. In alphabetical order, these include: “New Denominations of United Methodism (The Indianapolis Plan)”, “New Expressions Worldwide”, “Next Generation UMC”, and “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation”. As stated in UM News: “Delegates will look at several proposals that split the church along traditional, progressive and centrist lines, with differing policies on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage.” This, and other topics, will be addressed at General Conference, now rescheduled from May 2020 to a new date (TBD) in 2021.
For more information on What’s Happening in the UMC, click on any of the following links and websites:
ROAD TRIP to SAINT LUKE’S United Methodist – Dubuque
On Valentine’s Day 2020, Pastor Marilyn drove a van of Parish of Hills UMC members to Saint Lukes United Methodist Church in Dubuque. Each of the three churches – First, Linden, and Bethel – were represented with participants. A tour, concert, and bell tower climb were included followed by lunch at Caroline’s. It was a cold day, but a heart warming experience.
Pastor Marilyn and husband Dick at Saint Luke’s UMC
Stained Glass Window at St Luke’s UMC – Dubuque
Lunch at Caroline’s for the Parish of the Hills tour group