Dear Resurrection Family,
I hope you are doing well on this chilly but beautiful fall day!
I’m excited about this weekend in worship. Our teams have meaningful worship planned, and I’ll be sharing the second in our series of sermons on Uncommon Generosity.
This week at the Leawood campus we’ll continue our simplified in-person services, but for those of you who attended the 9:15 and Foundry services pre-COVID, the 9 am service will have a simplified, more modern style. Likewise, for those who attended the 7:30 and 11 am services, we’ll have a simplified, more traditional style at the 11 am service beginning this weekend. We’re also planning in December to launch traditional and modern options for our online worship.
In my sermon, we’ll be learning generosity from twin seven-year-old boys and their parents who used peanut butter to teach their boys about character, faith and generosity. I interviewed the parents this week and was inspired, and I know you will be too. We’ll also look to a boy in scripture who gave Jesus his lunch and see the remarkable thing Jesus did with what the boy gave him.
Invite a friend to join us online at cor.org/live tomorrow night at 5 pm, Sunday at 7:30 am, 9:15 am, 11 am or 5 pm or on KMCI Channel 38 Sunday at 8 am or 11 am. For a listing of where KMCI is found on various cable providers, click here.
If you have been worshipping with us at Resurrection, online, on TV or in person, and you are interested in making this your church family by joining the church, I’d like to invite you to join me for a virtual Coffee with the Pastors this Sunday, November 15, at 2 pm.
I’ll be coming to you live from my study at Resurrection. We’ll connect via Zoom, and I’ll share a bit of the history of Resurrection, the beliefs and traditions of the United Methodist Church, help get to know the church a bit better as we explore what it means to be a Christian. You will also connect with fellow Resurrection worshipers and hear about opportunities to serve, connect and grow!
Every November I send our congregation a note asking those of you who consider Resurrection your church family to return your annual stewardship commitment card indicating what you plan to give to God through our church in the coming year. You’ll receive that letter this coming week. Your pledges or commitments are really important – but this year more than ever.
As I mentioned last week, our offerings have been down 10 to 15% the last few months. Last month was a bit better, off just 6%. Overall we’re okay for this year – our giving was ahead of budget in the first few months and we’ve kept expenses down. My concern is if the trend continues, what that could mean for our ministries next year. We know many of you are unemployed or struggling financially, and to you I’d say, “We’re here for you.” For the rest of us whose incomes may be down just a little, or maybe stable (or even up!), I’d like to ask if you can step up this year to make up for those who cannot give at the same level they have been.
I send the same letter to LaVon and myself that I send to you, with the same commitment card. We talk about it, consider what our income will be in the next year, and we commit the first 10% or more to our ministry pledge at the church. We give to a host of other causes within and outside the church, but providing for the ministry of the church is our starting point. Even when our income hasn’t changed, or is down year over year, our goal is to increase our giving. As we fill out our commitment card I see it as a spiritual act of worship and devotion. My prayer goes something like this:
Lord, this is a small reflection of our love for you, our gratitude for your blessings and our desire to put you first in our lives. Use it, we pray, to make ministry possible in our church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’m grateful for the ministry we’ve done this year as a church – we’ve done more to serve the community than in any year in our history. I’d love to see us keep being able to do this at this level in 2021. Watch for your commitment card in the coming week. Sunday, November 22, is commitment weekend.
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our community, with record numbers of cases this past week. We are carefully monitoring this and following all guidance provided by the CDC, and city, county and state health departments. Several have asked if we are going to close in-person worship again. We are weighing this just as the schools are. We have protocols in place aimed at making attending worship safer than going to the grocery store, but at this time we are aware of the dramatic increase in cases and the impact this is having on hospitals.
For now, we will continue to offer in-person worship at each of our locations, with a limited attendance of less than 25% of each campuses sanctuary capacity. At Leawood, because of the size of our sanctuary, we’re actually running about 10% of capacity. We know that in person attendance is really important for some of you, while others are still enjoying online or televised worship.
If you’d like to attend in person this weekend, join us at 9 and 11 am at our Leawood or Downtown campuses or at 11 am only at our West, Blue Springs or Overland Park campuses. If you are worshipping or attending programs on site, you must adhere to our safety protocols. You do not need to register for worship, but we do need you to continue to pre-register for nurseries and Sunday School. You can click here to find the links.
Many people who are asymptomatic and have no idea they have COVID are going to school, the store, restaurants, work and church. For this reason, it is really important that we are wearing a mask when we are around others, remaining six feet a part, using hand sanitizer, washing our hands for twenty seconds and not touching our eyes or nose with unwashed hands.
We have had several cases of people attending our programs or worship who were asymptomatic but later tested positive. When we hear about this happening, their case is reviewed with the health department. Fortunately there appears to have been no transmission or outbreaks at Resurrection as a result of these cases so far. Our protocols are working to reduce the risk of transmission.
Remember, when you are on our property, please make sure you are maintaining six feet of distance between you and others and wear your masks at all times, beginning the moment you get out of your vehicle. This continues to be the best preventative practice anytime you are around other people outside your home.
Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, begins in two weeks!
Knowing that many of you will be worshiping from home this year, we’ve prepared some pretty cool resources to help you celebrate Advent from home. We have a family experience kit with resources for children, an Advent wreath kit to purchase, and an Advent guide with scriptures and liturgy so you can follow along from home as we light the Advent candles each week.
You can create your own Advent wreath with four candles surrounding a central Christ candle – you can get creative! – and download the Advent devotional guide, or we’re making available an Advent wreath kit with candles and the devotional guide for only $5.
Here’s a picture of our Advent wreath:
We’d love for each of you to have an Advent wreath and, when we light the candle in the sanctuary during worship, for you to light your own candle at your house.
On Christmas Eve, as we light the Christ candle in the sanctuary, we want you to be able to light the Christ candle in your wreath. Click here to order your Family Advent Experience Kit (free) and/or to order your Advent wreath ($5). Of course, you’re also welcome to download the Advent devotional guide and to use your own Advent wreath. Kits can be picked up at all our locations on Sunday, November 22 or 29, from 12:30-2:30 pm.
Additional resources for families including printable downloads and videos will be available beginning November 22 at cor.org/Christmas.
Join me (and my granddaughter, Stella!) on Facebook Live this Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. If you follow or like my page, you’ll be notified automatically as I go live. I’ll be coming to you from our home in Stilwell, offering a devotion from scriptures and leading you in guided prayer.
Our November donation drop-off drives will be to supply our partners with new or gently used winter warmth items: blankets, sleeping bags, outerwear (coats, hats, scarves, gloves) and clothing (pants tops, shoes underwear and socks). You can drop off your items at these locations and dates:
Did you know that only 2.7% of adults give blood each year in the United States? That makes giving blood an act of uncommon generosity. I’d like to invite you to join me in giving blood in our upcoming blood drive November 16–17, 8 am and 8 pm in the Resurrection Leawood Commons (Building B).
Due to COVID-19, donations are critically needed. Masks are required, physical distance is maintained, and reservation are suggested.
You can help practice uncommon generosity and brighten someone's Thanksgiving and Christmas this year by Joyfully Offering Yourself (JOY) in Serving and giving.
Although COVID restrictions prevent us from physically donating food this year, we will still be providing hot Thanksgiving meals or supplemental holiday groceries through several local ministry partners. Your $10 donation can help provide a meal for an individual or a $50 donation can feed a family in need this Thanksgiving. I’m grateful we can be a blessing in being able to share Thanksgiving with someone who needs a bit of help this month.
Learn more about our ministry partners and make your donation online at cor.org/joy.
Just a reminder that if you placed a #LoveYourNeighbor yard sign on a public right-of-way, or if you're driving through town and see one, please pick it up and store it for future use. You can keep your signs in your yards for as long as you want. Mine are staying up for at least another week!
Also, if you pre-ordered a Love Your Neighbor t-shirt at Resurrection Leawood and haven't yet picked it up, please do that by Nov. 20. We still have a significant number of t-shirts from the original order that were ready to be picked up on Oct. 4 waiting for their owners to claim them. These can be picked up from The Well bookstore with curbside delivery on the north side of Building B, Mon-Thur, 9 am – 4 pm, or you can pick it up in the store on Sunday mornings from 8:30 am – 1 pm. If you'd like us to ship your order, or you would like to donate your order, please contact The Well bookstore at 913-544-0240.
Our anniversary month is over, but I hope you continue to wear your t-shirts and share our message of #LoveYourNeighbor!
See you in worship!
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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