We have been sorely challenged … Yet in every way that matters most, we have been more unified in purpose, more held together by our faith than I have ever seen before … You have been willing to try new things in order to be together in new ways … You, Church, are the embodiment of our Easter faith. You are persevering hope in the midst of deep despair. You are balm of comfort and compassion in this time of great sorrow.” —Rev. Shari Prestemon
Rev. Prestemon spoke those words in her video to the people of the Minnesota Conference UCC on Easter morning. View the full video on Facebook.
Every day, we’re seeing the amazing resiliency and creativity of our churches throughout the state. We asked how and what you’re doing in these challenging and uncertain times and will be sharing your stories and ideas. Here are a few responses:
Resiliency & Creativity
Robbinsdale Parkway UCC held a car parade in its parking lot before returning home to celebrate Easter via Facebook Live and had this to report: “We are still the church. We just left the building.”
Pastor Frank Picard of St. James United Church of Christ in Barnesville shared this: “A clergy friend of mine always said that God takes whatever bad is happening and always brings some good. Our church is small; we worship about 80 on Sundays but our online worship has a growing audience. We have had a consistent 150-160 views. Our Deacon chair has started a Sunday morning coffee group online prior to worship and a parishioner has started a Bible study using Zoom. The efforts our people are taking to maintain and strengthen community are a joy to watch. I speak of wilderness time a lot and I see this as wilderness time. Time in the wilderness always bring unimagined blessings.”
Anoka United Church of Christ gathered for coffee hour via Zoom, their collective response was this: “It was so good to be together. We are grateful to be watching out for each other and having ways to connect safely.”
Zion UCC in Le Sueur is carrying on its ministry through a regular radio broadcast shared with St. Paul’s UCC in Henderson, according to Rev. Kent Meyer. Zion also hosted a joint Good Friday service on YouTube with First Lutheran Church in Le Sueur. Pastor Deb from St. Paul’s is coordinating a mask making group of 35 volunteers who have made more than 500 masks for local medical personnel, and both pastors are helping with the local food shelf, which distributed six tons of food in recent weeks.
Deepening Our Connections & Strengthening Our Congregations
The Conference continues to host clergy and chaplain calls weekly to provide support and guidance. We are also updating our Resources section of the website daily, so be sure to check regularly. Just yesterday we posted a helpful webinar on stewardship, co-hosted with the Wisconsin Conference.