October 19, 2020
Dear Siblings in Christ,
There are times when the brokenness of the world confronts us so clearly that it seems to be all we can see. 2020 has been such a season. Just think of all that has happened in the past ten months:
- we have seen and felt the pain caused by an out-of-control pandemic as COVID-19 has torn families apart, ended jobs, and forced children to adapt to virtual school and separation from their friends;
- we have seen graphic examples of police brutality against people of color and the death of black children of God at the hands of vigilantes acting under the banner of “law and order”;
- we have witnessed continued attacks on the rights of LGBTQ+ people, with just the most recent example being a statement from two Supreme Court justices that may threaten the right to same-sex marriage;
The list could go on. With all that confronts us before our very eyes, it is hard to see through the fog of pain, grief, anger, doubt, and uncertainty. What does our future look like?
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we see by faith what the future looks like:
[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:4-5, CEB)
That is the future we see. It is the future we hope for. It is the future that we pray for. And, as disciples of Jesus Christ, it is the future that we bear witness to in how we live. As the church, we are called to acknowledge the pain of the present day, work to heal it, and especially to look beyond it to the future that God has promised. We have work to do as the Body of Christ, and that work will continue past the election, past the end of COVID, past the dismantling of racist and oppressive structures in our nation.
I want to invite you to join us as we continue in ministry that points to that future by supporting Silver Spring UMC financially in 2021. We don’t give to the church to “make the budget”, or because we feel we are just expected to. We give to support the church and its ministry because that ministry is a witness against the present darkness that a day of light, hope, and joy is coming. This task is bigger than any one of us, and so throughout history the church has gathered its resources to do more together than we could ever do apart.
If you have caught a vision of that day, if you have seen the future that God has promised, please take a moment to fill out a pledge card if you received one in the mail, or email your estimated weekly, monthly, or yearly giving information for 2021 (please include your contact information) to email@example.com. You can be a partner in ministry as we look toward the future and live into that future in 2021.
- We are looking forward to being able to worship together in person, with music ministry, while continuing to maintain our virtual ministry presence that shares the Good News beyond our regular community.
- We are working with our feeding ministry partners to get those ministries reopened and running so that we can feed the hungry in Silver Spring.
- We are looking for ways to be good stewards of our physical spaces while also innovating our ministries to extend beyond the walls of our buildings.
Each of these hopes for our future, and others that we don’t have space to name here, requires a commitment of resources: worship and ministry spaces will need more frequent cleaning; video equipment will need to be purchased to facilitate streaming; utility bills will rise as we resume more in-person ministry in our spaces. We hope that you will prayerfully consider making a pledge for the coming year to support our shared ministry. We also understand that in these uncertain times, life situations and financial plans may change; and if that happens, we hope that you will contact the church office and let us know.
May God bless Silver Spring UMC as we look toward — and live into — God’s promised future!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Alex Tracy