Caring Connections for April 1, 2020

Caring Connections for April 1, 2020

March 31, 2020

God's Love is Faithful from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.

Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 1, 2020

Good Afternoon, Iowa! It’s Wednesday, April 1, and this is Caring Connections which is also April Fools Day. I’d like to read a few verses from Psalm 18, one of lectionary passages for Palm Sunday  
Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
    because his faithful love lasts forever.
Let Israel say it:
    “God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
21 I thank you because you answered me,
    because you were my saving help.
22 The stone rejected by the builders
    is now the main foundation stone!
23 This has happened because of the Lord;
    it is astounding in our sight!
24 This is the day the Lord acted;
    we will rejoice and celebrate in it!
29 Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
    because his faithful love lasts forever.

My friends, God’s love is faithful and good. Even when times are bad and the coronavirus continues to spread through our world, prompting all of us to change and adapt in order to help others and protect ourselves; even when hopes and dreams are dashed for the short term; still God’s love is faithful and good. And even on April Fool’s Day, God’s extravagant grace sustains and upholds us because we, too, are fools for Christ.  

I want to share a few stories with you from the past week about how the Holy Spirit is moving among us. Les Green is the pastor of Forest City United Methodist Church in the North Central District. The church broadcasts its weekly services over the local radio station, but after the church had to discontinue in-house worship, the station director responded by bringing his own equipment to the church and setting it up in Pastor Green’s office. Tune in to 107.3 FM Sunday mornings at 10:30, and you can be a part of worship! Oh, and the Trustees installed a secure deposit box (much like banks have) at the church entrance and, guess what? Giving is UP!

Rev. Leonard Ranson is a retired elder serving half-time at Salem UMC in Van Horne in the East Central District at the age of 86. Church attendance was 30 when he went there two years ago. Today they average 55. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Leonard has decided to make ten phone calls every afternoon to his parishioners, and the questions are always the same. How are you staying in touch with others and God during this difficult time?

Pastor Harry Wach of Geneseo UMC in the Northeast District is creating a series of “Hello” videos, showcasing church members in various ways. In this time when we have to do all of our greetings from afar, these brief thirty second videos are creative and are lots of fun! 

Pastor Diana Northcutt and members of Salem UMC in Council Bluffs in the Northwest District are placing individualized baskets for Holy Week on the doorsteps of children in the community this Saturday. The next Saturday Easter baskets will be left at the doorsteps. They are also going to let the parents know that the baskets were disinfected and that they all wore masks.

A few weeks ago, Maddi B’s, a restaurant under new ownership in Shueyville, donated food that members of Shueyville United Methodist Church in the East Central District delivered to the elderly in the community. Volunteers knocked, left the food, and greeted the recipients from afar. One family of volunteers said a recipient was thankful to have a nutritious meal, something she’d been missing lately. Thank you to Chad and Kerry, owners of Maddi Bs, for your generosity. God’s love was shared big time by Pastor Brody Tubaugh and Shueyville UMC volunteers.

I also want to let you know about a Good Idea webinar that will take place tomorrow, Thursday, at 2 p.m. called Faith and Finances in Difficult Times. It will be led by Rev. Dr. Katharine Yarnell, Director of the Iowa United Methodist Foundation. Join us using this link

My friends, people care about each other and no crisis can ever change that! God’s at work all over the state of Iowa because of United Methodists who love Jesus and want to share the good news. Who might you invite this week to worship on Palm Sunday and then on Easter through the livestreaming comfort of your home? God’s faithful love lasts forever!