May 26th Weekly Letter
Dear Friends in Christ,
As we finish these remaining days in May, we’re aware of how fast time is moving among us. How did we get to edge of June already? That’s very hard to believe. The last month seems to have vanished. That’s what’s weird about time. We can experience our days going by so slowly, on an individual basis. Then we can turn around and see that life is zooming by at the speed of light – at the speed of change.
Lots of changes are occurring in our world. We’re trying to sort out what is the best way we can proceed in days of uncertainty. Some of this involves how we figure out the church’s ministry plan.
I was simply aghast when I have been hearing people suggest that churches have been closed and that it’s time for them to re-open. I know what they mean – that we should – in their opinion – come back to worshipping face to face in our church buildings right now. But that’s not how I view being closed/open.
I am astonished by suggestions that we’ve been closed because I’ve been observing our two churches – Owatonna and Dodge Center UMCs – be very open – despite not having face to face worship for 2 ½ months. “Closed” would not be the word I’d use to describe what we’ve been doing. Expanded. Creative. Compassionate. Safety minded. Those words more aptly speak about what we’ve been up to.
Closed!?! No way!!
Having said that, I know that I’m glad that the Council of Stewards for OUMC and the Administrative Council of Dodge Center have both voted to take things slowly in the coming months. We know that there was a strong push to have people gathering face to face again. It’s just not safe for us to do so. We care too much about God’s family – especially those who are most vulnerable – to take such risks.
Patience is a virtue. So is taking great care to count the very real risks of this pandemic. If you are not receiving the support you need from our churches – in ways that we can safely offer it – please speak up. We’re praying for you. We’re calling you on the phone. We’re sending letters and emails. We giving these weekly updates along with our monthly newsletters. In some very rare cases – in groups of about a ½ a dozen people, with everyone wearing masks and no one eating or drinking or shaking hands or hugging – we’re meeting together at safe distances - then wiping down every surface that’s touched.
I don’t have a lot of other updates besides this piece you’re reading – in regard to pastoral transition. Pr. Lisa Vick’s super excited to come to OUMC!! It looks like things are on the path to call Pr. Chad to come to Dodge Center UMC – stay tuned!! I’m have very brief phone calls with my new congregation to try to get lined up to serve them in these planning and preparing days – like I did with you last Fall.
God’s peace be with you. It’s been such a joy to work in these two communities. You’ve been open to the work of the Holy Spirit in your midst. You’ve tried to be closed off to thoughts of fear and despair – even when we’ve had to learn how to relate to 1 another in a changing – even dangerous environment. Thank you so much for the way I’ve been able to work with the two churches as one parish. I loved it!
I know that the Prairie Spirit Parish will be no more. Nonetheless, for these last several years you’ve been able to work in limited ways as sister churches within the UMC system. I’m grateful for all that you’ve taught each other. Now you’re heading in different directions and God plans to bless you anew.
Blessings be upon you! Thanks for the ways you’ve supported Linda, Joyce, and myself. We’ll miss you!
Pr Scott Jakel
CHARGE CONFERENCE INFORMATION
Sandy Emry, the SPPRC chairperson is working with an Elder from the UMC MN Conference to schedule a virtual Charge Conference for the purpose of approving Pr. Lisa Vick's appointment and compensation package. It will be done through the UMC technology platform called Blue Jeans network. It will take place at 5:15 pm on Wednesday June 10th. A Charge conference means the Council of Stewards will be the ones voting on this matter, although others may attend the meeting via telephone or being on the Blue Jeans Network (similar to zoom).
Celebration of Service/Retirement
Please Join Us for a Drive-by Celebration to Thank Pastor Scott, Pastor Linda and Pastor Joyce for their Service Wednesday June 10th from 6:00 – 7:30 Owatonna Methodist Church Parking Lot The three pastors will be standing outside the church. We will drive by and share our messages of thanks for the service/love each one has brought to our church. We will not be getting out of our vehicles! Cards/tokens of appreciation can be sent to the church prior to their departure or to the home address of our guests. Please contact Paula for the specific addresses.