Beloved Epworth Community,
Last week’s meeting of the Do No Harm committee confirmed that we will be returning to in-person worship on February 20. I’m so grateful for this thoughtful, committed group of leaders who has led steadily with me as we made decisions about keeping our community safe through this pandemic. When we return, all except the preacher and liturgist will continue to be masked and we hope and ask that if you can get vaccinated, that you do so. We’ll continue our livestream component so that those who are not ready or able to come back to the sanctuary will still be able to worship with the full community.
This Sunday in worship, my message will be rooted in Psalm 1 which begins with the words, “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law they meditate day and night.They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.” This beautiful Psalm begins the whole book of Psalm and speaks to what makes a happy life, and the strength of God’s law. That law is love, freedom and dignity. I’ll be weaving some of the history of Methodism, and particularly the story of Richard Allen who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, into the sermon as we continue to lift up Black History month as well.
Don’t forget that virtual communion takes place right after worship on Zoom. Rev. David Ourisman will lead the liturgy and all are welcome. At 11:45 after communion, Epworth’s Winter Bible Institute continues and we welcome Dr. Susan Abraham, Dean at Pacific School of Religion in conversation with Karla Suomala on how theological education is changing as a result of the pandemic. All sessions of this year’s Winter Bible Institute will be held on Zoom. I hope you’ll join in these offerings of worship, sacrament and learning.
Finally, if you haven’t indicated your interest in being part of a small group, this is your final chance to do so as the survey will close this weekend. You can still join a small group even if you don’t fill out the survey, but the survey will let us recommend or create groups that fit your interests.
Epworth, thank you for the good you do in the world through your kindness and intentions, for your willingness to hold yourselves accountable to what is sometimes a harder path, and for your commitments to justice and reconciliation. It is a true blessing to be walking this path with you.
Grace and peace,