Jesus shared with us that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-39). As we face an unprecedented situation as a community, country, and world, we are all faithfully discerning what that love looks like.
At this point in time, in order to protect the most vulnerable among our congregation and community, we have made the difficult decision to close the SSUMC campuses for all official church activities. This closure will be in effect starting Friday March 13th, and will last for at least until April 30. We will continue to be in touch with you as we have more information. The closure includes all SSUMC activities—including but not limited to: worship, bible study, food pantries, committee meetings, special events.
Worship, beginning this Sunday, will be online at 10am and information about how to participate can be found here. Likewise small groups are encouraged to use other means of connection—zoom, conference call, email, group text—we are so grateful that there are many means through which we can connect and support one another. If you are struggling—whether with the anxiety of this situation or with any other challenge—we as your pastors and staff remain available to you. Please call or email. And the pastoral emergency line remains the best way to reach us in case of a pastoral care emergency: 301-458-0768.
This is a time to support one another. Check in with one another. If you know of someone who does not regularly use email, call them and share this information with them. Let them know that worship information will be listed on the church voicemail when available. If you know someone who is particularly affected by this crisis, offer signs of love and support.
Even in a season when fear and anxiety are rampant, we maintain our identity as a people of hope. Even as we take the necessary precautions to do no harm, protect the vulnerable and seek to minimize the spread of the virus, we will continue to be the church. In online worship on Sunday, we will welcome two new members to SSUMC. As we welcome them through this online worship experience, we are embodying the truth of the children’s rhyme—the church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is the people. Even separated geographically, we remain connected. Connected through technology, yes, but even more profoundly connected by prayer and the love that we share as family in Christ.
We continue deeply in prayer for all of those who are affected most deeply—the sick, the grieving, the physically vulnerable, the economically vulnerable, health care professionals, emergency responders, community leaders, etc. We serve a God who chose not to remain removed and safe from the challenges, pain, and messiness of human life, but who came and lived among us as one of us. That same God continues with us in the challenges of this moment.
Peace of Christ+
SSUMC Clergy and Staff