With the coming of March, we begin planning our gardens and thinking about spring cleaning projects.  Another reason to celebrate this Spring is as we are moving out of this Pandemic as we can see by lower numbers of new cases and vaccinations being distributed to greater numbers and those that have had their shot are carefully coming out of isolation.  Additionally, the variants have not yet made a serious impact as was previously expected so another reason to be hopeful. 

Regarding our plans for the church, they remain pretty much the same.  if the positive numbers continue, we are seeing our way clear to invite our members and friends to our Thursday worship service recording sessions.  We are targeting the first Thursday after Easter, April 8th.  Our target for in person worship on Sundays will offer a second service for you that we hope to begin the 1st Sunday in May, May 2nd.  You will be notified of the times of both those services via the Beacon Newsletter and email announcements   We are not prepared as yet to publicize our plans for in person worship to the public.  Once we are absolutely certain of our dates and if meeting together is working safely for us then perhaps, we can open for public worship in June.  We will continue with the virtual services for those who wish to remain worshiping at home in any case.   We have learned a lot during this time about keeping people healthy as they gather here at church in a public setting.  We will continue to practice those procedures of disinfecting our church and providing social distancing measures and masks.

For the United Methodist Denomination there has been some news.  As many of you are aware there was a special general conference session in 2019 that had put in place the traditional plan  we are operating under right now.  The plan was an incomplete work, and the intention was to complete the work in 2020.  The conference was then delayed until August 2021.  Now we are finding that due to logistic problems due to the pandemic, they have postponed the conference for an entire year until August 2022.  There will be a short one-day online meeting to enable them to break rules to use paper ballots which will be mailed to the delegates so that they can respond to their votes on specific and limited matters, which will not include separation or reorganization of the church.  This has disappointed the political and religious extremes, and they are hoping to get these issues resolved.  COVID has changed things and put us in a holding pattern for some very key issues.  

It should be an interesting year but locally things are looking better for us.  Just think when the vaccine has been distributed widely enough and our pandemic numbers have drastically declined at some point, we will be able to return to coffee after services and in person studies again.  Please do not let the denominational issues cause you to worry.  Pastor Dave says he will keep an eye on those things and keep us posted.  He hopes everyone is doing well and keeping yourselves safe.   Never forget the most important thing is to keep our relationship growing with our Lord.  

God bless you.

Summarized by Lorna Magliaro Secretary SBUMC