“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
– 1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV
As Christians and as a church it is always good to remember who we are and who we follow. In the midst of a crises (and there are many), we have the opportunity to start a new season this September with a renewal of our covenant with God and our neighbor. And the only thing that God is asking us to do is this: LOVE.
Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into Two:
- Love God with your whole being.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
At a glance, it seems simple. You go to church every Sunday (or most Sundays), sing in the choir, teach Sunday school, help with the fellowship table, maybe attend Bible study once or twice a month; and help others the rest of the week. Church was a place to go, a building, a gathering place. Helping others meant starting at home, then school (if you were a student or teacher, or staff), or workplace. Maybe on a weekday or a weekend, do volunteer work at the food pantry or a sports league, or any community organization. And perhaps once a month, visit the sick and elderly.
But then the pandemic happened and since then obeying Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor as ourselves has been a greater challenge. With our church building closed for in-person worship and no more Coffee hour before the service, a sense of loss was felt by all of us. This is a natural response that needs to be acknowledged and honored. But this is also a teachable moment in our lives as Jesus’ followers and the church. We are not alone in this experience. Many churches around the world are going through similar experiences as we have. It is good to learn from one another and to pray for God’s wisdom and love to guide and teach us. One quotation shared with me by Heidi emphasizes one important lesson that is biblically sound and supported by what Jesus and the apostles taught. It said:
“Just to be clear, the Church has not been closed, so it doesn’t need to be re-opened. We have simply stopped worshipping in our building for a time to protect the health and well-being of our people and our communities. The Church does not require a building in order to be the Church. What is required is love, compassion, and the presence of God.”
For me, in spite of the lack of face to face interaction and fellowship, I have felt God’s love and care from our church family through phone calls, cards and yes, on Zoom meetings. I miss choir rehearsals, fellowship, worship and singing during the service at our spacious and beautiful worship sanctuary. These are irreplaceable losses. We continue to mourn, praying for God’s intervention and healing.
But as much as our church building and sanctuary are sacred and precious places where we gather and will gather in worship eventually; we must remember that the Church is People, the body of Christ, (1 Corinthians 12:2), called to be ambassadors of God’s reconciling love. The commandments to love God and neighbor as ourselves challenge us to think of new ways to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. This is a whole new world for us, but the Two Greatest Commandments haven’t changed. In this pandemic, it means wearing masks when we go outside and have to be with other people, washing our hands, observing physical distance, maintain cleanliness in our homes and buildings; and self-quarantine when we have been exposed to covid-19 or tested positive.
God-willing this September 13, when we plan to start in-person worship at our church building, let us remember that this is only one of the ways that we can show our love for God. Those who choose to stay at home and worship online with us, are expressing another way to love and serve the Lord, and love our neighbor as ourselves. Together, united in the love of God through Jesus Christ, I pray and trust that we will grow as disciples of Jesus in serving each other, and to do it safely, ensuring the well-being of everyone we love and serve.
Have a safe and healthy September!
Yours in the love of Christ,
COVID-19 UPDATE OF OPENING CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH SANCTUARY DOORS FROM PASTOR CARLA
Main Theme: Christian Discipleship - The Journey of a Lifetime
SEE THE ABOVE LINK TO THE COVID-19 UPDATE.
Adult Sunday School Class will be held on Sunday, September 13th at 7pm. on ZOOM
Children’s and Teens Sunday School starts on Sunday 13th and also on September 27th at 2pm. on ZOOM
Morning Worship Service: 10:30am on ZOOM
Church Council Meeting – Will be held via ZOOM on Thursday, September 17th @ 7pm. All are invited to attend. Please contact Pastor Carla if you are interested in joining us, so she can give you the ZOOM information. Thank you.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study Will meet on September 9th and 23rd at 7pm. on ZOOM >
Tuesdays and Thursdays - 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Pastor Carla is available for any pastoral and spiritual care need
Via phone or Zoom Video Conferencing
Please call (parsonage) #856-579-4767 or (cellphone) #610-659-0314
*AND please remember that you may call at any time for pastoral emergencies.
If there is an EMERGENCY in your family or you know of a need please call at any time:
- Pastor Carla (610-659-0314)or Parsonage (856-579-4767)
- Heidi Louis, Moderator (856-371-8791)
- Pat Moore (856-430-0685)
The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries Food Bank, located at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the corner of South Barber and Evergreen Avenues, is collecting food and household goods. Please donate food and/or non-perishables to the Food Bank, and they will joyfully take them. If you are able to purchase extra while out shopping, please bring to the Food Bank, from 9:30am to 11:30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or please put them in the box in the Narthex. ** Also, remember that you can make a monetary donation to the Food Bank, and they will purchase the much needed food.
First, I would like to say how blessed I feel that the daily hymns sent out by Heidi are helping so many during the global pandemic. I have truly enjoyed recording them. I have loved the hymns of the church all my life. I was raised and weaned on them; and I really love fiddling around with the harmony, rhythm, majesty, or playfulness that lie hidden in them.
I really do appreciate your feedback – when a particular selection is meaningful to you (and why). It is also very helpful when you send me your favorite hymn(s) or Sunday school chorus(es). It is easiest if you send them directly to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
While I’m at it, I also appreciate it when someone says thank you. We are so richly blessed, but so often we neglect expressing gratitude to those who touch our lives. With that in mind, I want to say how much Chris has done during all of this, recording music, and generally supporting and encouraging me. She is a treasure!
I believe it was my Pop Pop who taught me: plan for the worst, but hope for the best. That is certainly good advice for the current situation, which leads me to my second point.
When worship returns to the church building in September, I will not be physically present. The organ recordings have worked very well, and Bill ‘the man’ Mays can continue to work his magic incorporating the music into the worship experience.
Regarding Senior Choir, we need to err on the side of caution when it comes to our health, since many of us are in, shall I say, our ‘mature’ years, with health concerns that make us even more vulnerable. (Libby’s mental challenges are a separate issue.)
It is my hope to begin choir rehearsals in October when the weather breaks, with appropriate safety precautions in place. Depending on how things develop, I hope to have us singing in some configuration sometime in November, and certainly for the Advent-Christmas season.
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, and always keep a song in your heart.
Boyd L. Fox, Jr., Minister of Music
Anyone interested and willing to contribute to the maintenance of the church and parsonage lawns for the Spring and Summer months, please send your check to our Financial Secretary, Diane Bradley and mark with designation for lawn care. Thank you.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Or, at least, for many parents, it was last year. This year things are oh so different. While parents and kids face real challenges as the school season begins, I thought it might be a good idea to share some humor about how youth and adults face challenges. I hope some of these bring a smile to you face.
- Woman: “I don’t think my husband listens to me anymore.” Friend: “What makes you say that?” Wife: “Well, this morning he was reading the paper at the table and I said, ‘Honey, I’ve decided to be cremated,’ and he replied, ‘Okay, do you want me to come with you?’”
- A therapist asked his patient how things were going at home. The man replied, “Great! You see, my wife and I have an agreement: I don’t try to run her life… and I don’t try to run mine either.”
- Two young boys are talking, and one of them says to the other, “Every afternoon when my mom gets worn out, she makes me take a nap.”
- From the comic strip, ‘Nancy’ – Sluggo says, “The new kid on our block is a big fathead.” Nancy responds, “You shouldn’t call people names like that. I never call people names.” Sluggo tells her, “Well, I got mad at him because he said you were funny-looking.” Nancy responds, “And what else did that fathead say?”
- A man is celebrating his 60th birthday, and his kids want to give him a book about their family tree; however, Uncle George had been electrocuted, having been tried and convicted of murder. After puzzling how to include Uncle George in the book, without upsetting everyone, they finally obtained a creative writer to help them. This was the result: “Uncle George occupied a Chair of Applied Electronics at an important government institution. He was so attached to his position by the strongest of ties that his death came as a real shock.”
- A husband and wife had three young children. Then a fourth one came along. Her friends got together and bought her a very sturdy playpen, the newest model they could find. The mom sent them a nice thank-you note. “Your gift is just what I needed. Every afternoon, after lunch, I sit in it and read, and the kids can’t get close to me.”
- In this time of uncertainty, smiling, laughing, singing, praying all can help us to realize how truly blessed we are. I am reminded of Paul’s words in his letter to Philippi (4.11): …I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.” There is no pot of gold at the end of some rainbow; you will not be contented ‘over there’ – if you aren’t contented here.
Stay well; keep on loving, and living…
Chubby (your church-mouse-in-residence)
Have you ever wondered what words to say during a crisis? In one of the continuing education classes I attended in July (online of course!), I learned about 6 sayings to use when overwhelmed. Our resource person’s name was John Calvi (his last name is not misspelled and, No, he’s not a Presbyterian.) These sayings came from his own experiences as a trauma counselor. He said that these words are not be said carelessly or casually. They must not be used to coerce, manipulate or hurt. They were to be spoken with sincerity and an intent to heal not to destroy. Each saying can be spoken at an appropriate time and situation by the one who is suffering as well as by the one giving care to the person who is suffering.
Six Sayings During a Crisis:
- I love you.
- Thank you!
- I’m sorry.
- I need help!
- That’s not good enough.
- No! Stop!
Thank you for your patience and understanding. God bless our partnership in God’s mission and ministry!
Yours in Christ,
Thank you Joe Bradley for your constant hard work to keep the gardens of Central Baptist Church looking so beautiful. We know you put in many long hours, keeping them weed-free and planting such wonderful flowers each season! We are blessed!
Statistical Reports for August 2020
COVID-19 UPDATE OF OPENING CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH SANCTUARY DOORS FROM PASTOR CARLA
Web Page updated September 4, 2020
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