Dear Resurrection Family,
This week was another week of news filled with stories of violence and pain. Eight people killed in Indianapolis last night, two young men of color killed in police-involved shootings, a rise in numbers of COVID cases in some states.
My heart was heavy this morning thinking about these things. I was reminded of Jesus’ words, “In this world you will have trouble… but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Our faith compels us not to throw up our hands and give up, but to roll up our sleeves and get to work embodying love and acting as instruments of healing and hope. You’ll see opportunities to do that in today’s enote – it is a theme that winds its way through much of what follows.
Pope Francis in his new book about COVID wrote, “The basic rule of a crisis is that you don’t come out of it the same. If you get through it, you come out better or worse, but never the same.” This weekend we’ll continue in our series Beginning Anew After the Pandemic by asking how the COVID crisis has and will change us – will it make us better or worse?
Last week 4,800 of you took our survey about the pandemic. I’ll be sharing three lessons you said you learned from the pandemic – three ways you have changed for the better. We’ll also look at the three emotions you said you most frequently felt in the last year (from a list of 17 choices). Interestingly, the responses of young adults were the exact opposite of older adults who faced greater risks from contracting COVID. Ultimately we’ll turn to the words of Paul and James in the New Testament who remind us that with God’s help, adversity can give way to wisdom, perseverance, character and hope. Will you be better or worse after the pandemic?
If you’d still like to take the survey, click here. Here’s the video promo for the series to share on your social media and invite your friends to join us either in person at one of our locations, online or on KMCI.
If you have not received a COVID vaccine yet, there are still openings for tomorrow at the Advent Health clinic on the Leawood campus. Individuals 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. You must register in advance, and registration will be closing at 2 pm, so sign up online right now!
If you’ve been worshiping with us online, television or in person and are ready to take the next step, to make Church of the Resurrection your church, I’d like to invite you to join me for Coffee with the Pastors on Sunday, April 25. We’ll meet via a Zoom call and I’ll be coming to you from my study at the church. We’ll meet up at 2 pm Central Time.
It’s an inspirational time and I’ll share more about the church, what we believe, what it means to be both a Christian and a member of the church. Go to cor.org/next to sign up and join us for this informational event, followed by an opportunity for those who want to become official Resurrection members.
Last week I shared that Bishop Saenz has appointed Rev. Bill Gepford to serve as our next Resurrection West Campus Pastor, while Jason Gant will be moving into a new position as Pastor of Children and Families.
I want to share a little more about Bill and his family. Bill grew up in our congregation. You gave him his third grade Bible, confirmed him and helped him hear God’s call on his life. His mother, Gwen, serves as our handbell choir director at Leawood. His wife, Melissa, is also an ordained pastor, serving the Great Plains Conference, and they have a son, Finn. Bill’s a graduate of Perkins School of Theology and has been serving at First UMC of Freemont, Nebraska. Some of you served on teams alongside Freemont members helping the city recover from the flood a couple of years ago.
Bill and Melissa recorded a brief video to introduce themselves that you can see here.
Last week, the Allies for Racial Justice, a partnership between Church of the Resurrection and St. James United Methodist Church, presented a webinar to explore the role churches can play in either perpetuating racism of dismantling it. It included an amazing panel of speakers including pastors across KC including two of our pastors, a professor from Emory University, and a cardiologist led by Dr. Nicole Price.
I was not able to join the live webinar, but found it powerful as I watched it this morning and I’d like you to take the time to listen in. It was an important conversation. Here’s the link.
SevenDays, sponsored by the Faith Always Wins Foundation, was created from the tragedy of a hate crime that took the lives of three members of our community. This annual week of events encourage people to take actions to bring positive change for the future.
One of this year’s events is a virtual presentation by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the first Palestinian doctor to work in an Israeli hospital. During the Gaza war in 2009 three of his daughters were killed when an Israeli mortar struck his home. He is the author of the book I Shall Not Hate. He’s devoted himself to working for peace. And he’s speaking this Thursday, April 22, at 6:30 pm.
Following the presentation, I will be participating in a panel discussion with Rabbi Art Nemitoff (Congregation B'nai Jehudah), Mindy Corporon (Faith Always Wins Foundation) and Haley Harrison (News Anchor at KMBC 9). Here’s a link to sign up for this event and learn about the other six events.
If you can’t join on Thursday, KMCI, Channel 38, will be airing some of the SevenDays events this Sunday, April 18, and next Sunday, April 25 between 2 and 4 pm. The “Others Day” presentation and panel will be broadcast at 3 pm on Sunday, April 25.
On Wednesday, April 21, we’ll have a Zoom presentation by Dr. Matthew Sleeth at 6:30 pm. Dr. Sleeth, a former atheist, emergency room physician and chief of hospital medical staff, resigned from his position to teach, preach, and write about faith and creation care. Recognized by Newsweek as one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, Dr. Sleeth is the executive director of Blessed Earth, whose mission is to Inspire faithful stewardship of all creation. He will speak on his newest book, Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us. Here’s the link to register and get the Zoom link.
Additional ways to celebrate God’s creation on Earth Day include an environmentally focused prayer walk at the Leawood and West campuses, as well as ways to get involved in EarthCOR, a Resurrection ministry committed to creation care and environmental justice. Check these out at cor.org/earth.
Last week I invited you to join the United Methodist Women in an online Book Fair to replenish the Bookmobile supplies. I understand that there were some problems with payments going through on the Scholastic Books website. If you want to donate books, we suggest making an online donation through Resurrection (select “Book Fair” under Giving Type), then our Bookmobile team can purchase the books most needed for our Partner School students.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) and the City of Overland Park are exploring expansion options for widening 69 highway. I’m serving as a part of a community advisory team for this study. I’d like to invite those of you who regularly drive on 69 highway between 199th Street and 103rd Street to participate in a live virtual Public Meeting on Tuesday, April 20, from 5-7 pm. Here’s the link for more information.
We are currently seeking leaders to fill a limited number of volunteer openings on Resurrection’s Sacred Arts Committee representing all of Resurrection’s locations. Scope of responsibilities, as a subcommittee of Resurrection’s Board of Trustees, includes determining and planning where sacred artwork is appropriate church-wide plus maintaining installed interior and exterior artwork.
The committee seeks an appropriate balance of skills and backgrounds in the areas of art, architecture, and interior/exterior design. Meetings typically occur monthly or less, as needs arise. If you are interested, please submit your name for consideration, please completing this brief questionnaire by Monday, April 26.
Our 2020 trip to the famous Passion of Christ Play was cancelled due to COVID, but it is rescheduled for 2022! Join Resurrection for an incredible journey to experience this world famous performance held only once every decade.
The 10-day trip begins on July 26, 2022, departing from Kansas City and visiting Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Innsbruck, Prague, and Oberammergau. The performance follows Christ from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem through his trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Kevin Bogan, Director of Traditional Worship, and Pastors Penny Ellwood and Steve Langhofer will be the trip hosts. The performance sells out and is not experienced again for another 10 years, so register today to secure tickets. To get information and register, use this link.
We will also be hosting a Virtual Q & A session if you want more information with our Educational Opportunities Travel Tour Host on Sunday, April 25, at 5 pm Central. If you would like to participate in the virtual Q & A, please use this link. For other questions, email Debi Nixon at email@example.com.
For those interested in going to Israel to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, next week I’ll have information about a pilgrimage to Israel that we’ll be leading next February. If that is of interest, be sure to check out next week’s enote.
Wherever and whenever you choose, make sure to let us know you are worshipping by registering your attendance at cor.org/next or by clicking here. And, while you’re at cor.org/next, check out all the other opportunities coming up in the next week.
In Christ’s Love,
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