A Message from Our Pastor
“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Beloved AUMC Ohana,
Grace to you! Normally, this introductory newsletter article would be a standard “aloha, nice to meet you!” type of letter. However, in light of all that has happened in our church, our community, and our world, I wanted to provide a brief update on where AUMC currently stands in regards to the potential reopening of in-person worship services. The Covid-19 Response Team at Aiea UMC has been meeting regularly since early June to plan and prepare for our eventual reopening of in-person Sunday worship.
On July 4th, our team submitted an application for permission to resume in-person services. A week later, we received word from our District Superintendent that this application was approved. However, in light of the recent surge of Covid-19 positives in both Southern California and here in our state, Bishop Grant Hagiya sent a notice to all churches in the Cal-Pac Conference that, effective immediately, churches are to cease in-person gatherings until further notice. While this is disappointing news, we must realize that the decision to extend the moratorium on in-person gatherings is not taken lightly. It is also not a reflection of a lack of faith. On the contrary, I believe that our Bishop has demonstrated courageous leadership and steadfast faith throughout this ordeal.
I know that many of us have been waiting for in-person services to resume. We miss one another. We love one another. We long to share our lives with each other in much the same manner as Paul describes in the Scripture I quote in the beginning of this article. And so what can we do during these unprecedented times?
Brothers and sisters, it will not be easy; in fact, “doing church” in the era of Covid-19 is one of the greater challenges that we have faced in recent memory. So what does “doing church” look like? Granted, it will look different than what we are accustomed to doing. It may also be uncomfortable because we might be stretched outside of our comfort zones. But the mission of our church - to build a worshiping community, to make disciples of Jesus Christ, to cultivate deep relationships with one another in covenantal love - must continue. To that end, I want to propose several ideas to you:
Bulletins/Sermon Manuscripts Mailed Out Weekly - While we continue to improve our use of technology to reach as many as possible, we will utilize a bit of “old school” correspondence in the hopes of getting the proclaimed Word of God out to all of you. Starting in August, we will mail out a copy of the weekly worship bulletin (adapted in both form and order) along with a copy of my sermon manuscript to every household that currently has no access to the online worship service. At the very least we hope that these weekly mailings will keep you connected with the worship rhythms of our church.
Spiritual Wellness Checks - With the enlisted help of several dedicated AUMC members, we have formed a team of volunteers who will make regular calls to our church ohana, focusing on the families and individuals whose presence we have missed online. Be on the lookout for these phone call visitations!
Zoom Training - Perhaps a good number of us have not joined the Zoom meeting because we simply do not know how! I hope to offer a Zoom training that will include both the audio/video option (you need an internet connection along with a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer) as well as the call-in option. Did you know that you can join our Zoom with simply a telephone?
Beloved AUMC Ohana, as a church we are invited to share our lives with one another. The pandemic has compelled us to find new ways to do this. May God grant us courage and endurance to run the race faithfully as we seek to maintain our bonds as a spiritual family rooted in the love of Jesus Christ. Peace be with you!
Grace and Aloha,