`

A Fork in the Road

May 26, 2020

 

Hello Church Family!

 

I hope this letter finds you doing well and that you have everything that you need to navigate through this journey. The weather is a little nicer, so it makes all of this a little more tolerable. I know the regulations are loosening a little bit, but I still think it’s important that we venture forward with care; to wear masks when in public, to be careful of social distancing, and to make sure that we are sanitizing and washing our hands frequently. We are working together at the church to ensure that when we do return, we have safe practices in place so that we all will feel comfortable when that day of rejoicing takes place.

 

This certainly has been a long journey! It feels like one of those long crazy hikes we took as kids with my dad. Every summer when my brother and I were younger, we would go to church camp at Allegheny with my father. It was kind of funny because my dad would shave his head bald and wear goofy sandals (I now wear those same sandals!) and my brother and I couldn’t wait to get our new hiking sneakers at the big store in Salamanca.

 

We would get to camp and get all settled in and then go and catch salamanders.  Then we would all go to the mess hall and eat dinner together as a church.  It was so much fun.  They would have all the activities and hikes for the day posted on the mess hall wall.   We were ready!  New sneakers; check!  Small jar with holes in the lid (for my salamanders); check!  One bag of Twizzlers in my backpack; check, and my handy dandy official Girl Scout Thermos; check!

 

They would announce that morning which trail we would all be taking for our hike. Of course, in my head I wanted to take the 20-mile hike.  My dad however, knowing that about 10 minutes in he’d be carrying our jars and our canteens, and being the voice of reason, would suggest maybe we start with the five-mile hike.  Afterward, we were always glad we listened to our dad!

 

When I think about it now, I just laugh because at the beginning of our hike we were all gung ho.  “We’ve got this!”  About 20 minutes in, or at our pace a quarter of a mile, we started handing Dad some of our gear.  About 40 minutes in, we kids would lay on the ground and ask if we were almost there.  We would do this in 10-minute intervals until we arrived, and yet every year my dad would still take us on a hike.  He would definitely get the “Dad of the Year Hiker Badge”!

Sometimes we kids would run up ahead of the grown-ups and forge our way through ferns (oh yes - trailblazers we were), until we saw a snake or hit a fork in the road.  For fear of getting lost or going in the wrong direction, we would all quickly turn back and head toward our parents, and of course, our parents were always there. We were never alone out there and we knew that.  Even though we had no real sense of what came next, we trusted and we weren’t afraid, because God had placed us in great care.

 

So folks, I must confess that I feel like I’ve been on one of those long hikes!  Every so often I lay down and say, “Are we there yet?”  Every so often I run ahead and try to forge a path, and sometimes I just sit still and wait.  Wait for some direction.  Sometimes I’m bored.  Sometimes I’m stressed.  Sometimes I feel really at peace, but most all the time, I’m thankful I’m not in this by myself.  I am thankful that God has us on this journey together.  We are all just 6 feet or a phone call away.  Someone from our church family is always close by to carry our gear when we become weary.  I’m thankful that an end is in sight and that we will all be alright.

But just like my dad couldn’t cut our hike short, neither can we quit mid-hike.  We have to finish this trail.  Right now, it may feel like we are standing at a fork in the road.  We are hearing so many conflicting ideas and thoughts; some of them in the entire opposition of the other.  

 

This has been a long journey, and I know we are nearing the end.  The clearing is in sight, so who do we listen to? What direction do we take?  You should take the direction that you feel most comfortable taking. If you are not quite ready to come out into the community and you want to wait until you see what it feels like after things open, then wait. If you want to venture out, just remember to do so safely.  We are here to help support one another either way.

 

For our church, as we stand at the fork, I and our Ad Council, want to go the way of safety.  We feel that worship online is working for now.  Worship online is keeping us together and we know that we are not on this hike alone.  We have one another.  Continue to check on one another, call one another, send cards, and pray for one another.  Choose to stay connected as we finish this journey together.  This is what will give us the strength to make it the rest of the way.  We are still here to grocery shop and drive you to appointments.  Our office is open a few hours each day to make sure you have everything you need regardless of the road you take.  The church is allowed to open for gatherings of 10 people.  It would be silly for us to open under those circumstances as it would feel more like we were being divided.  The church will probably open at least one month after the full onset of social distancing is lifted.  We will keep you posted.

 

“Father!  Are we there yet????!!!”   “Not quite!” He says, “but I am here to carry your gear and I am here to make sure you have all that you need.  I am here in your quiet and I am here when you are anxious.  I am here when you feel lost and I will assure you that you’re not, and I have placed you in the perfect group of hikers for this journey!”

Proverbs 3:3&5

 

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you: bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart… trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight”.

 

Isaiah 41:10

 

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.

Thank you again for how you have continued to support our church. It truly enables us to keep our doors open and make ourselves available to those who are in need. When we return, we will not be able to collect the offering the same way we’ve done in the past.  The safest way will be through PayPal (on our website) or to set up automatic withdrawal from a checking or savings account (that's how the church receives my giving).  We may also set up one location where people can drop their offering.

Also, we will not have paper bulletins available at the church.  We will email a weekly bulletin with all of our necessary information and you may print from home and bring it with you.  Things will be a little different but we are working to make everyone and everything as safe as possible.

Ronnie’s prayer list is only shared by our church family.  Since worship is more public at this time, we are not lifting up names as we did before.  When we return, we will be able to pray openly and together once again.

 

 May God richly bless you and keep you safe!   We will see you on Sunday!

 

  • Fredonia First United Methodist Church Facebook, 10 a.m. (live)
  • You Tube
  • Local access channel everyday at noon!
  • Office open (not to the public) from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  Monday-Friday
  • The sanctuary is open during these times (limit of 5) as well.

 

  • Greetings and announcements
  • Opening prayer
  • Call to worship
  • Opening Hymn: UMH#(Martha’s Choice)
  • Reading #1 Acts 2:1-21
  • Reading #2 1 Corinthians 13:3-13
  • Message
  • Response to the Message
  • Invitation
  • Closing hymn: UMH# (Martha’s Choice)
  • Closing Blessing: The Lord Bless and Keep You

 

 

We are live streaming on Sunday mornings so that we can all enjoy greeting one another before service. 

  • Type in Fredonia First United Methodist Church Facebook page (or click here and skip the next bullet point).
  • At the top of the page click “Videos”
  • Or you can catch us on YouTube (click here).

Online Sunday Service

Join us for Sunday Service on Facebook!

Click Here
 


Online Donations

A gift to FFUMC allows us to continue our work within our walls and out in the community (while maintaining a safe social distance, of course).  If you feel led to donate, and it will not negatively impact your family financially at this time, please click here.

 


UNY Conference Office Closure & Recommendations For Local Churches

In accordance with the continued response to COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper New York (UNY) Conference Office, the Episcopal Office, and the Crossroads District Office at the United Methodist Center in Liverpool, NY will remain closed through the end of May. All employees will continue telecommuting.

In addition, UNY Conference local churches are strongly encouraged to continue to refrain from having in-person worship services through the end of May. Recognizing that the New York Governor has placed drive-in theatres as a part of businesses that can open within Phase 1 of the states re-opening guidelines, we support any churches that desire to offer drive-in worship experiences within regions that are in Phase 1 of New York’s reopening guidelines until in-person worship within our buildings can resume. It is vital that guidelines be followed closely if a church decides to offer drive-in worship and that the building not be opened or available for access in any way. You can find guidelines, as well as resources, for drive-in worship experiences here.

As the state begins to reopen, decisions about in-person worship services within church buildings will be made regionally and locally in compliance with local authorities. By next week, detailed guidelines for church reopening procedures will be shared by UNY leadership, along with FAQs, and best practices. Continue watching Conference Communications channels for more information.


Talent Survey & Stewardship Pledge Form