FOCUS: We’re Gonna Have Church

When COVID arrived, many changes took place to hopefully keep Americans safe. Masks were mandated to slow down the number of folks who would be subjected to the virus. Older retirees were told they should stay at home to keep them safe. We were asked to take the vaccine for COVID. Now we are asked to take a booster shot for more antibodies. Many places that we visit have been closed for periods of time. Schools and churches are places that all ages attend and they involve families. Both schools and churches have been closed part of the time and many regulations have been set up for them to reopen.

As an older person, I stayed home for almost a year. I only went to appointments that I had to attend. I stayed home from church. I stayed home from shopping and my children would do my shopping and deliver my items to my door without coming inside. Some of my family did get together for a short time on Christmas. The phone was used for contact with others. I was really blessed with the live streaming of our church services. For those who could not attend church, there were many churches who took advantage of streaming their live services through the internet.

I attend Chapel Hill UMC and I wish to thank the staff who worked hard to make live streaming available while the church was closed. At least we felt we were getting some connection with our church. Pastor Paul did a great service by sharing God’s word with those who watched and those who did attend church when the churches were told they could open their doors once again. Many of the older members stayed at home until recently. Masks are still worn in church and other regulations have been set up to distance those who attend. The absence of church has been one of the most difficult decisions church staff members have had to face. I commend those who found ways to have church services in the parking lot, taped services, and a small staff to plan all the ways to get God’s word out to the public. Thank you goes out to the local tv stations who shared services for those at home.

As the numbers of COVID cases are going down, folks are coming back to their churches. We still wear masks, but we can have church on Sunday. Our church is still streaming the service and many are watching from various locations. Many folks are now vaccinated and feel more comfortable with moving about. We are now in the stage of taking a booster which is to help us from getting the virus. We have folks who were vaccinated and still have gotten the virus but were not as sick as those who have not been vaccinated. Masks do help from spreading the virus to others. The congregation is now singing during church and our choir is singing anthems. This past Sunday, our choir sang a new anthem titled, “We’re Gonna Have Church.” This statement was exciting since the last two years has been a time when many of our churches of various denominations, were told to close their doors because of the pandemic. Masks are still used in church, but folks are singing favorite hymns and the choir is singing special music prior to the sermon.

Last Sunday, our choir sang out in praise to God for being back in the place where we find peace and comfort with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We also had a guest pastor, Rev. Dr. Timothy Allen. His sermon was titled ‘Shotgun’.  If you get the chance to watch this church service on the internet, you will see and feel the joy that filled our church as Rev. Dr. Allen shared the story of the past and present use of the word shotgun in reference to the families who had several children who traveled with them. When it was time to travel, the children would come running out of the house and yelled shotgun, which meant they got to ride in the front seat by the driver on the passenger side. The sermon was based on Mark 10: 35-45 where James and John requested that Jesus fill their requests. Jesus asked them what they were requesting. “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” Jesus told them although they drank from the cup he drank from and were baptized as Jesus was, he could not grant this request. He told them that the places to the right and left of Jesus belonged to those for whom they have been prepared.  Jesus told them whoever wants to be first must first serve others.

We are back in church with many special sermon titles, members who wish to help others, and to enjoy the freedom of laughter and singing with a congregation that is finding their way back to God’s word in God’s house of worship. Words of the anthem tell us; Here is the church here is the steeple. Open the church and see all the people. Come and hear his word. We’re Gonna Have Church. Glory to God!

We invite you to join us on Sundays for Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. and worship at 10:30 a.m. Our service is live streamed on YouTube at chapelhillumchurchbuckhannonwv. There are special programs planned for October, November and December. Special take out dinners are available on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. For more information concerning church programming, contact the church at (304) 472-6904. We will welcome Paster Paul Rebelo back next week. The month of October is a time to celebrate our church pastors. They have had some real challenges these last two years and we thank them for sharing God’s word with all who celebrate Christ’s love for all.

Church brings people together to share their faith, to sing praise, to listen to God’s word and to have fellowship. Church is open for folks to hear God’s messages and to shine His light on those who attend. God wants us to take His light out into the world and make a difference in the lives of others. God wants us to come to church. The anthem “We’re Gonna Have Church” is what we need in this time of confusion, loneliness, sickness and tribulation. The anthem “We’re Gonna Have Church” brings joy into our lives and we can sing to bring joy into the lives of others.

I leave you with these thoughts:  Let our hearts and hands be stretched out in compassion toward others for EVERYONE is walking his or her own difficult path. — F. Uchtdorf

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. — J.M. Barrie


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