May 13, 2020
May 13, 10:30 a.m.: Children’s Zoom gathering.
May 15, 3 p.m.: Kelsey Huxman’s (our choir director this past year) senior recital is being livestreamed on the Tabor College Music Department Facebook page at this date/time. Kelsey also plans to have a recital watch party/graduation party later this summer for those who miss the livestream or don’t have Facebook.
May 13, 7-8 p.m.: Open Zoom gathering: ID: 845 8978 9669, password: 743680 or link <https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84589789669?pwd=NTV1VitZL0xDayt2T1duSDRhY3BsQT09
May 17 a.m.: Michael Unruh offers meditation, children’s story, update on Camp Mennoscah for our worship.
May 25: Memorial Day: Members desiring to place flowers at the Zion Menn. Ch. Cemetery are encouraged to utilize “natural/live” flowers. If it is difficult to obtain those, or cost is an issue, contact the pastors; a member has offered assistance.
May 28, 7 p.m.: Spiritual Life Board meets via Zoom.
May 31 a.m.: Pentecost worship (with communion): we’re tentatively planning a “live” Zoom worship service in which all who wish can join simultaneously. More details will follow.
June 1, 7 p.m.: Outreach Board meets via Zoom.
June 7, 6 p.m. (tentative): Hymn sing on Zion church parking lot; bring lawn chair and hymnbook, if you have one. Send hymn suggestions to Zion e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> by June 5.
June 21, 9:45 a.m.: (?) Zion summer Business Meeting.
Charting a path forward: In the last couple days, the Governing Council and Deacons have both considered the future as we ponder how Zion will start to gather again in person. A fair number of details remain to be worked out, but some of the determinations thus far include:
• Attendees will be strongly encouraged to “self-monitor” their own health as we “re-open,” paying particular attention to any of the now-classic symptoms and history (fever, cough, sneezing, loss of taste, etc.; recent travel to “hot spots” or contact with known cases)—and voluntarily staying home if such elements exist. And we’ll respect those who might stay away simply because of added caution.
• For those who don’t come to gathered events, we’ll try to provide a fair number of hybrid experiences, recording the “in-person” events and posting them to YouTube ASAP.
• For those who come to gathered events, we’ll strongly encourage social distancing, wearing of masks, etc. No handshakes, hugs, fist/elbow bumps, please.
• The earliest we’ll consider having “public” events is early June (after groups of up-to-90 are again permitted via state order—and if that date is postponed, we’ll postpone. Furthermore, if infections appear to be on the rise in the aftermath of the current public “re-openings” or problems start emerging from other churches regathering, we’ll reconsider). Thus, our first re-gathered event may be the hymn sing the evening of June 7; if that goes well, we may worship together on the morning of June 14.
• Our initial gatherings will all be outdoors (probably often under the trees in the backyard of the parsonage). Bring lawn chairs; sit together as families; keep a few feet of distance from others. If weather doesn’t allow for outside gathering, we’ll cancel in the initial weeks. When we might start gathering inside the sanctuary is yet to be determined.
• Initially we’ll primarily gather for worship; no Sunday School in person yet (further determinations of that are in process). SS classes are encouraged to continue to meet via Zoom, etc.
• Parents are encouraged to keep their children with them, and do their best to avoid personal contact amongst children; we know this will be difficult, and don’t want to be legalistic. Use of the playground equipment should probably be avoided.
Camp Mennoscah will open for a limited number of individuals and groups beginning May 18. Reservations must be made in advance at 620-297-3290. We continue to think of you and to work at making it possible for you to visit Camp Mennoscah!
Devotion Rosie Epp
Deuteronomy 26:1-2 2020-05-13; Zion Menn. Ch. (Elbing, KS)
During these past weeks it’s been more difficult to keep track of not only what day it is, but to keep hope and wonder alive. It reminds me of the people wandering in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Day after day for 40 years the people wandered in the desert anticipating a better life, yet with the sameness and harshness of each day as grumbling and despair grew. What was God thinking?!
Forty years later, not forty days, they reach a new world, green and brimming with life. And as they entered God wanted them to notice the wonder and delight that was around them. And to give thanks. (Deuteronomy 26:1-2).
These are words for us to ponder today. Can we at the end of each day, as individuals or as families, sit for five minutes after supper or before we go to bed and answer two simple questions: What moment today are we most grateful for (or what gives us the most life)? And what moment are we least grateful for?
There are many ways to ask the same questions: When was I happiest, when was I saddest? What was today’s high point? Low point? This process is called the Examen and is meant to help us identify moments of consolation and desolation. Moments of wonder and praise, and moments of loneliness. When is God most present or most absent from our lives.
It’s easy these days to moan about what we can’t do because of social distancing, etc. But can we focus more on the wonder of each day, each moment, and see, taste, delight, and even wonder at God’s goodness. As we focus on what brings our heart joy and peace, I believe our lives can shift, for that is one way to hear the voice of God and follow God’s guidance.
Rather than being caught in the downward spiral of despair (I can’t do this, I can’t see these people), center on what is present and what is enriching your life now. Notice the wonder of God’s world and give thanks. Springtime is a good time to do this as we see the trees blossoming, as we wait and watch for seeds to sprout, and the world to green and flower, giving us hope for another season. Carry that image with you and God will bless you abundantly, even in this COVID wilderness.