2020 Annual Lay Leader Report
posted on November 02
WOW! What a year! On the one hand, it's been a year rife with a really horrid pandemic - we all can agree, I think, that COVID-19 is our least favorite subject. On the other hand, it's brought me to consider what Jesus might be seeking to show us, to teach us. Appreciation for a home with warmth for Fall and Winter, or a home with cooling for Spring and Summer? Perhaps appreciation for loved ones we've been allowed to care for, or the way they've cared for us?
I've been amazed at how our pastors and laity have come together and found ways to continue to have church services, in spite of not being able to meet in one place as a congregation. Whether it has been via FM broadcasting to a parking lot full of cars, carefully and safely spaced, or via Facebook Live, or Youtube, most have found ways to connect with and to serve their communities, and to proclaim Jesus. I've heard from many pastors that their on-line presence has reached much larger numbers than ever attend the in-person services at their churches. One pastor even spoke of a lady from out of state who had been viewing, sought to join the church, and has since done so!
One of the ways a local church sought to serve beyond its walls is Greenup UMC. Many of you perhaps heard about or read of a horrible fire in a large apartment building in Greenup. Almost immediately, church members made the church available for shelter that morning, and as a resource for clothing, for hygiene items, and whatever was needed at that moment. They sourced several other agencies to begin various forms of aid, and helped connect victims to those sources. They fed them, loved on them and comforted them. Greenup UMC continues to be the source of clothing and hygiene items, as well as other items these folks will need to begin their lives again. Greenup UMC is such an amazing example of being the hands and feet of Jesus!
Hillcrest-Bruce Mission has continued to serve its community right from the beginning of the shut-down. Although initially the Mission had to shut down for most services, food services continued throughout that first frightening two months. All services have since re-opened, with very carefully mandated masks, the taking of temperatures, and social distancing. Thankfully, we've had no instances of illness. And, although giving from a couple of quarters has decreased, giving and grants from other sources has increased. Praise God for His goodness and blessings! It is my privilege and pleasure to serve on the Board of the Mission, and to be a somewhat permanent volunteer. I also teach the weekly Ladies' Bible study. One of my ladies considers the Mission her church, and Bible study as her small group :)
Your Wesley Foundation at Morehead has continued to operate as well, from the porch of its building, and using all the electronic resources available to them. Zoom meetings, Youtube, etc., has served to aid in staying connected with students on campus and those off, as well. They covet your prayers, and your continued financial support, as they work to serve and save students and staff at Morehead State University.
Kentucky East was able earlier this year to sponsor LACE classes via electronic presentations. Although IT can be problematic for some of us "older" dogs, we can indeed learn new tricks! In future, when LACE classes are offered, I would highly encourage participation - it's such a wonderful way to grow the laity.
As Louisville held it's Prayer Walk this Fall, Paintsville First UMC and Mayo UMC held a concurrent Walk in solidarity with Louisville's Walk. I was so very blessed to be in attendance in Paintsville, and to walk with my brothers and sisters, to seek God and the peace and comfort He provides, as well as to show our support for understanding and a way forward in unity, rather than divisiveness and more pain.
Indeed, what a year! For me though, being a "Nellie Forbush (see "South Pacific"), a "Cock-Eyed Optimist", I choose to seek and find the positives. Regardless of what happens with, and how long COVID-19 is with us, we ALL know God is still on the throne, and He is still in control. Rest in that truth, friends. As ever, be blessed, in Jesus' holy name
KY East District Lay Leader