From the Pastor

April 1, 2020

Sandy Mount Church Family,

Greetings in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It
seems as if it has been such a long time since we were able to gather together as a
body of Christ. I’m feeling a little selfish in wanted to see everyone, yet the first
priority is to keep us all safe, so we are apart for a short time.

I was reminded that the first Easter celebration was with Mary Magdalene in
the garden, weeping at the tomb of Jesus. Even though she was alone, Jesus
appeared to her. The greatest miracle for each of us was first celebrated by a single
person. Perhaps we too are feeling a bit isolated. In our own ways we are also
weeping at the tomb. We don’t realize how much we enjoy being with others until
that is not possible. Yet Jesus meets us where we are.

I have been encouraging folks to practice personal and family worship,
devotions, prayer, and meditation. Perhaps we can use this time to commune with
God – maybe that practice had been set aside in our busyness.

There have been some allowable activities at the church. We held a very
successful blood drive in conjunction with a drive-thru dinner service. Both will
continue as there is a critical shortage of blood and we are able to safely host blood
drives on a monthly basis. The drive-thru dinners will continue this Thursday, and
pick up again weekly after Holy Week (no dinner served 4/9). We provided over
250 dinners our first week – clearly there is a need for help in our community.

I am so grateful to all who continue to financially support Sandy Mount
UMC. You are helping us to remain viable and active even during this time of no
in-person worship services or events. We are able to gather for worship on line, we
are able to feed the hungry in our neighborhood, we are able to provide protective
gear for local assisted living facilities, and we are able to shine the light of Christ
for those who find themselves in a very dark and uncertain time. The song says it
best, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

If you are able to tune in via our website or FaceBook page, we will be
hosting on line services for Palm Sunday 4/5 at 10 AM, Maundy Thursday 4/9 at 7
PM, and Good Friday 4/10 at 7 PM. The Baltimore-Washington Conference will
host an Easter Service and we are all encouraged to tune in. The time for this will
be sent later this week.

As Easter people, I plan for us to enjoy a special celebration on our first
Sunday back to in-person worship. It will be a time to reconnect, to celebrate the
resurrection, and to experience worship together like never before!

God’s peace be with you all.

Your Servant in Christ,
Pastor Kathy

March 26, 2020
Sandy Mount Church Family,

I believe by now we are all feeling the effects of COVID-19. Many have been furloughed, and we are seeing record numbers of folks applying for unemployment. These are indeed hard times for all of us.

As of yesterday, we received communication from our bishop concerning worship services. We will not be able to worship together until May 3, 2020. It may seem like we are so far from one another, and yet we are promised that God is always with us, watching over us, walking with us.

Your worship team will continue to provide worship services in a virtual format. We are posting services on our YouTube channel by way of our website (www.sandymountumc.com, click on ‘sermons and media). We are also hosting services on our Facebook page at 10 AM each Sunday. I encourage you to tune in when you can, knowing that the services will be available to you at any time after they air for the first time.

I also encourage you to engage in family worship. Many of you have your Lenten devotionals and there are resources online through the www.upperroom.org website and others. I hope you can take time each day to spend a few moments in prayer, reading scripture, and in fellowship with your families.

One thing I’ve noticed is that it appears that families are drawing closer together through this time of social distancing. Perhaps we have all gotten just a bit busy, and this is an opportunity for us to reconnect with God, with ourselves, and with our families.

I truly miss seeing all of you every week. I’ve talked with many of you over the phone, but there’s something special about face-to-face communication. We will plan a huge celebration for our first Sunday back. It will be our Easter celebration. It will be our time to reconnect as a church family and truly celebrate everything that makes us the Sandy Mount United Methodist Church community.

I wanted to extend a special note of gratitude to all of you who are checking on your neighbors, staying in touch with our shut ends, and holding those in need in your prayers. We are still a powerfully connected community and this is our time to shine Christ’s light in what can be difficult times. Jesus said “you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Thank you for sharing your light in every way.

We appreciate your continued financial support as well. We are doing all we can to make sure our fixed expenses are met, therefore we greatly appreciate your help. Options include mailed checks, online giving through your financial institution, or PayPal via our church website.

Our hope is to continue with weekly free take-out dinners offered to our church family and the community beginning tonight from 5-7 PM. We are adding another blood drive as the need for blood is critical. Worship continues. I am available for pastoral care and council. And as always, my prayers are with you all.

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Kathy

March 19, 2020

From the Pastor:

I wonder how everyone is doing right now as we sade through the effects of the CORVID-19 pandemic? Perhaps parents are singing that Christmas tune, “and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again!” Experiencing a crisis of this magnitude can easily overwhelm us. We miss seeing everyone on Sunday mornings as we are all in the same realm of self-distancing. Perhaps this storm seems too powerful.

I’m reminded of the scriptures for this week’s sermon that refer to the times when Jesus conquered even the most violent of storms. The literal wind and waves that were threatening the disciples (Mark 4:35-41) were no match for Jesus the Messiah – the son of God. The raging sea that caused our experienced fishermen to panic was simply a carpet for Jesus to walk upon and to call others out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-33.) Our storms, both literal and figurative, are also no match for Jesus the one who rebukes the wind and says to the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’

We at SMUMC continue to work toward providing a sense of Christian community even in the midst of this challenging time. I hope you can join us for our virtual worship service via our FaceBook page at 10 AM Sunday, or on our website anytime after this. We are planning ahead should the CDC guidelines need to be in place for longer periods of time. I encourage you to continue your Lenten practices of devotionals, collecting 40 items to donate to a local charity, sending your donations to SMUMC via electronic or mail-in giving, prayer practices, and worship. The church is still at work encouraging one another and continuing our ministries in creative ways.

Please check in with each other. If you know of someone who needs an errand runner, a meal, or assistance in some way have them contact me. My cell is always available – 240-285-5800. Be safe and know I hold you all in prayer. Look for a grand celebration when we can once again join together for worship!

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Kathy