Dear Resurrection Family,
I just got back last night from Alabama where I spent two days teaching on the future of the United Methodist Church and A Thinking Person’s Guide to Christian Faith. My hope was to encourage United Methodists in the Northern Alabama and Alabama West Florida Conferences, particularly as the churches and leaders in these two conferences consider whether they will remain United Methodists or leave to join a new more conservative denomination starting in a year or two.
It was a great couple of nights. They asked me to thank you for loaning me to them for a couple days this week.
This weekend as we continue our study of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, we’ll turn to one of the most interesting and confusing parts of this epistle, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 where Paul writes about the Second Coming of Christ, what happens to us when we die, and the end of the age.
Are we living in the end times? Will we be raptured – caught up – to the clouds with Jesus when he returns? We’ll see what Jesus and Paul had to say about eschatology – how the world ends. Make sure you have a Bible, pen and paper with you as there will be things you may want to write down. I’m looking forward to sharing this message with you!
It’s a fascinating subject, and surprisingly relevant to our daily lives – you’ll see why this weekend! Invite a friend to join you in worship. Here’s the promo for this series of messages to share with your friends and family and invite them to join us!
Click here for a list of how to join us for worship this weekend including online, on television and in person.
Yesterday, the CDC updated recommendations that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance in either indoor or outdoor settings.
Last night I met with our lead staff, then invited feedback from our Church Council. We’ve followed CDC guidelines up to this point, and that’s what we’ll be doing now as well. Beginning this weekend, masks are optional in worship and adult programs. The CDC has indicated that the chances of a fully vaccinated person contracting COVID are very low and, even if they do, the chances of having a life-threatening case are negligible.
They continue to recommend unvaccinated people wear masks, and I would suggest this too, but at this point, you must make that decision.
We know that some of you are not yet comfortable in public without masks, and some have yet to be vaccinated, so while masks are optional, we encourage you to wear your mask. Our pastors and staff will continue to wear masks when interacting with worshippers and serving communion. I will continue to wear my mask while leading worship except when preaching.
Recognizing that most children have not yet been vaccinated, we will be consistent with the local schools’ policies in our student and children’s ministries, and require masks for staff, volunteers and participants 3 and older in our KiDSCOR and Rezlife programs until the end of the school year.
This year, we are especially proud of our graduates. I know you have faced unprecedented challenges to achieve this milestone. If you are graduating from high school or college, we will have a special gift for you on Sunday, May 23, that you can pick up before and after worship at each of our locations. My sermon, too, will include a section on wisdom and inspiration for graduates.
Please complete this form to let us know you are graduating so we can have your gift ready for you. (If you don't live in the Kansas City area, we would be happy to mail you a gift.)
"To podcast or not to podcast?" That is one of the questions I’ll be devoting some time to exploring this summer!
For years I’ve been feeling a nudge to do this. If you listen to podcasts, I’d like your input. How do you think a national podcast might help us fulfill our purpose and vision here at Resurrection? How might it help us connect non-religious and nominally religious people across the country, helping them find faith? Or how might it help strengthen other churches? How could it be a part of inspiring people to positively impact our world?
A couple of other questions: What do you think would be the ideal focus for a podcast? Christian living? Making sense of the Bible? Theology? The gospel and what’s happening in the world around us? Leadership? I’m assuming I’d have someone else co-host and some of the podcasts would be interviews or conversations with others, some would be questions the audience would submit for me to answer. But I’m really not sure. What do you think? What’s the ideal length of a podcast like this?
If you’ve got some ideas on this, would you please send them to me via my assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been feeling a nudge to do this for several years, but would love your help in thinking about it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
We have great opportunities to serve throughout Kansas City tomorrow morning, including opportunities at food pantries, assisting with donation sorting, yard beautification, community garden opportunities, and more. Serve opportunities are COVID cautious, and many are family friendly. Register today!
As we approach the Memorial Day holiday, when many people will be beginning to travel again and enjoy summer activities, we have the opportunity to help replenish the blood supplies and potentially save lives in our community. We have blood drives coming up at three of our locations (Overland Park already had a blood drive this week).
Walk-ins are welcome, but you can save waiting time by making an appointment. Learn about donating at cor.org/blooddrive, and to make an appointment, just click on the date below. If you live outside the Kansas City area, check with your local community blood center to see where you can love your neighbor in a tangible way by donating a pint of life-saving blood.
A Church Conference will be held on Tuesday, May 18, from 6–6:45 pm to vote upon our Staff Parish Relations Committee’s recommendation of five church members who are candidates for pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church: Lydia Kim, Leah Swank Miller, Kyle Ray, Blake Thomas and Christopher Wisener. We will also vote upon our Staff Parish Relations Committee’s recommendations regarding pastoral compensation for the coming year.
Voting is limited to members of the church who are present for this virtual session of Church Conference on Zoom. Registration is not required. To join the conference, click here at 6 pm on May 18, For more information, email Dan Entwistle.
I have shared with you previously in my enote and sermons some of the amazing work done by COVID Care Force, which was started by Dr. Gary Morsch of Heart to Heart. When the pandemic began, this organization mobilized healthcare professionals to deploy to hot spots and areas of critical healthcare staffing shortages due to COVID-19. They also have a special relationship with the St. Joseph's Soup Kitchen and Shelter in Gallup, New Mexico. The facility is run by the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, started by Mother Teresa, and COVID Care Force helps provide volunteers.
This Shelter and Soup Kitchen serves the community every day, and is in desperate need of volunteers during June and July. The pandemic has slowed local volunteering down to a halt, so they've been looking for outside help, and COVID Care Force has asked us to help get the word out to people who would serve for a week this summer in places where you would have an incredibly meaningful impact.
Volunteers would assist the Sisters with the Shelter and Soup Kitchen. Duties include meal preparation and serving, cleaning/disinfecting the shelter as needed and other daily shelter operations. They need two males, or a married couple to serve for a week or more during June and possibly July. COVID Care Force will provide travel to and from Gallup, New Mexico, local transportation, and meals.
If you are interested, you can contact them at (913) 489-7500 or email email@example.com.
I want to share a celebration with you. This week the organization Nonprofit Connect presented Church of the Resurrection and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City with the “Stronger Together” award at the 2021 Philanthropy Awards Luncheon. The award recognizes the collaboration between Resurrection and the Y to provide virtual learning support for students with working parents during the pandemic.
I’m grateful to the YMCA for using their expertise to provide this support for families, and I’m grateful to each of you who make possible the Resurrection facilities that can be used by our community as we demonstrate what it looks like to open our doors to welcome everyone and love our neighbors.
Once every seventh year, our Staff Parish Committee allows me to take an extended renewal leave to read, study, pray, write, plan and renew. I was to have been on sabbatical last summer, but with COVID we felt it best for me to postpone it to this summer.
While I’m away, you’ll hear from several of our outstanding Resurrection pastors and some terrific guest preachers. We’ve got amazing worship, sermon series and tons of fun fellowship events and service opportunities going all summer.
I’ll also be joining you by video in worship each week sharing short interviews with some interesting people I’m speaking to this summer about their faith stories. I’ll be coming to you from Joshua Tree in California, the shores of Lake Michigan and the Lake of the Ozarks.
While away, I’ll be completing a book I’m writing on the Lord’s Prayer, outlining sermons for the next two years (thank you to all who shared ideas last week!), exploring the podcast idea I mentioned above, reading and studying, as well as spending time with family.
I’m in the pulpit two more weeks before I go as we complete our study of 1 Thessalonians: People of the Light.
See you this weekend!
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