Resurrection, continued – May 2014

We’ve journeyed with Jesus through Lent, into Easter, welcoming resurrection life. Our sunrise service at Scusset Beach began with sun coming over the waters right on time and voices lifted in joyful song. Our later-that-same-morning-services were perhaps even more joyful, as we warmed into the good news, and sang with yet-more fervor.

Now we’re several Sundays into the seven-week Season of Easter. Trees are finally opening spring leaves, forsythia are in full bloom, a few early azaleas have been spotted. Birds are in full chorus, herring are running… (I haven’t been fishing yet, but I’ve had a good two day retreat with other pastors at a Methodist retreat center…)

But it’s still chilly, cool, and grey, this last day of April as I write… The chill of a long winter and the tears of Holy Thursday and Good Friday are still fresh in my heart also… Recalling those who’ve departed over the past year… most recently, three beloved parishioners – Allen Fuller, Barbara Chapin, and Marge Lyons – who have all passed away in April, just before and after Easter. We give thanks to God for the many ways they have blessed us with their lives. We mourn their passing, and pray for their families.

And we acknowledge the persistence of death and sorrow, even as we celebrate new life.

***

Living the resurrection life takes practice. Christ’s resurrection is a gift, given freely. But receiving it is a work of faith that takes daily practice. Fortunately we are designed by God to know how to do this practice.

Salmon, with no previous migratory experience, manage to find their ways to ancestral breeding and feeding grounds thousands of miles away. “These fish may have a magnetic ‘map’ in their heads that enables them to sense and navigate using the Earth’s magnetic fields rather like a GPS…” a team of scientists recently wrote in Current Biology. Humans made in the image of God are probably hard-wired to find our way to God in much the same way. Salmon, of course, still have to swim up-river, jump falls, and keep going till they are in the right place.

So do we. We pray, worship, study scripture, live in fellowship, serve God and one another together. We mourn with those who mourn, we rejoice with those who rejoice. Always our intention is to live out our love for God in our practice of being in loving community with one another.

***

Bourne UMC has been holding a series of neighborhood meetings, designed to help us get to know each other better, and discern how we can better serve the spiritual needs of our parish and the communities in which we live. So far we’ve met in homes in Bourne Village, Sandwich, and Monument Beach, with a Buzzard’s Bay session set for May 18. All our discussions have been lively and fruitful. More than fifty people have attended one of the first three meetings. Here’s some of what we’ve heard so far:

First of all, we’ve had lots of positive feedback. Comments heard at all three meetings include “we are a warm and welcoming church”… “the church has been there for me in times of need”… “the church is a family”… “the church is my family”… Many have remarked that our church has a heart for serving the community…

We’ve also heard many good ideas and suggestions as to how we can do some things better, including:

* Make available rides to and from church for those not able to drive. Recruit volunteer drivers and publicize in newsletter. (One parishioner in response has offered rides from the Sandwich area.)

* Host monthly dinners for the community that might include a soup or spaghetti dinner in the winter. For anyone. Free with a donation box. Could be called – Spaghetti, Soup and Salvation!

* Do more with and for children, youth and young adults. Keep trying to build an organized Youth Group.

* Keep looking for ways to help our seniors.

* Improve communication within the church.

* Publicize our recent nursery upgrade and hiring of nursery staff. (In progress. See also articles elsewhere in this newsletter.)

* Evening activities, including home-based groups, for working people.

* Install a raised seat toilet in women’s room. (Trustees will do this.)

* Drug addiction is a big problem on Cape Cod. Perhaps an evening service of some kind especially directed to those struggling with addiction.

* A summertime tent-type revival.

* Food pantry in church.

* A parishioner experienced in this area is willing to offer to prepare tax returns for seniors and those with financial needs.

* A Couple’s Club

* More publicity of church activities, especially in towns outside Bourne. (We can announce events on Sandwich cable tv if someone signs up and joins network.)

* Update pictures on our website. (Please send or deliver photos to our secretary, Brittany Haskell.)

* Make our prayer chain more responsive.

* Make our church facebook web page easier to post to and add more content.

* More evangelism, ‘recruiting,’ and ‘marketing’ to help bring people into church.

* Drop-in babysitting time and/or movie night for kids while parents have a night out or a time to run errands.

* Vacation Bible School.

* Outdoor activities on the church lawn (such as a strawberry festival or similar activity) could raise visibility. Something for children especially.

Please pray about all this and whatever other ideas you may have. Pray especially about what you feel led to volunteer to help with. (The votes that come with hands and feet attached count the most.) Together, all this makes for a very good start.

Onward now, in resurrection life together. Grace and peace be with you,

Pastor Tim