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Showing Boundless, Limitless Love

Dear Friends in Christ, Monday May 11, 2020

This week’s weekly message is on the subject of showing boundless, limitless love while observing physical boundaries and limits (including time) - because of love. We’ll wonder together, in this article and in the days ahead - how can we creatively approach life and ministry in this new age, showing that we care enough to be patient and wise to set limits?

In terms of transition to my new call, I’ve been hesitant to spend too much time connecting with my new congregation in Park Rapids – Riverside UMC – out of a good sense of boundaries. That congregation needs time to say goodbye to their clergy. I need to time to finish my time with you – the people of the soon-to-be-formerly Prairie Spirit Parish.

We have to have good boundaries with Pastors Lisa (whom we know is coming to Owatonna UMC to serve) and Chad (whom we are quietly confident will be coming to serve at the UMC in Dodge Center) as well. (One of the boundaries involving Chad is to not even share his full name until the vote is called for to extend a call to him which will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church in West Concord. If and when that vote occurs in the affirmative and if and when he accepts that call, he will also be appointed as the new pastor at Dodge Center UMC.) We need to allow your new pastors the time to prepare to come to serve you, even as we allow them to wrap things up where they are currently living/serving.

I’ve had two occasions to gather with people, wearing a face mask and observing good social/physical distancing, as part of some important ministry events. I met with a family to sort through some clarity that family members needed to have around boundaries and communication. I have had one confirmation gathering time for a young person – where she was able to do an affirmation of her baptism with less than 9 people present – Amelia Peck – this past Sunday. I’ll do two more of these confirmation gathering times, back-to-back, this coming Sunday. Bronson Freerksen and Deegan O’Neil will each get the chance to affirm their faith and baptisms at their own separate 9 people-or-less gatherings, too.

Both of our congregations are being asked by our UMC bishop to come up with specific safety plans so that we are ready for a partial re-opening of our congregations – without knowing what that actual day of re-opening will be and what those limits and boundaries are needing to be as we open our doors once more. The council leaders will need to discuss these matters in the coming days at their respective meetings next week. We’ll do our best to be both wise and patient.

It’s odd that this limitless-loving God – a God who has boundless love for us in Jesus Christ and seems to ignore many boundaries in the scriptures – is also calling for us to practice wisdom, patience and restraint - out of love for each other.

Are we sick of being home? Yes! Do we wish we could starting having face-to-face worship right now? For some, the answer is “yes”. For many – they’re scared and apprehensive about gathering in a space with others that they don’t know if the others are carrying this virus. It’s appropriate that we show love by showing limits and setting boundaries.

It’s my prayer that our leaders and the members of our two churches will continue to do the kinds of caring acts – observing good boundaries – that have been showing limitless love to others. Birthday parades of people who stay in their cars and form a celebration follow-the-leader display of love to those who are “up in years”. Having a blood drive and making face masks in safe and compassionate ways to contribute help to those in the area and around the world.

I’m keenly aware – as I’m sure Pastors Linda and Joyce are both aware these days – that time is one of those things that also has a limit. We’ll only be with you for a little while longer as your pastors. After the middle of June, we’ll limit our contact with you – a practice of boundary-keeping that will be essential for you to have good pastoral relations with Pastors Chad and Lisa. It’s a practice that will help the three of us, who are leaving the Prairie Spirit Parish, to have the space what we’ll need to do as we grieve our leaving and as we start to serve God in new ways in other vital ventures.

Thanks for reading and considering carefully this call to observing boundaries and limits and taking note of limits of time and relationship-contact, as we proceed through this time of pastoral transition and through this pandemic. Please be in prayer for your council leaders as they come up with a plan in the coming days to set down some boundaries and limits so that God’s limitless, boundless love can be shown when you all gather face-to-face once again. And please know that you are doing great things with your phone calls, cards/letters, emails, and socially/physically distant conversations with each other as you show love with limits on behalf of a God who loved without limits, in Jesus Christ.

~~ Pr. Scott

Our April 30th American Red Cross Blood Drive was a huge success! 55 units were donated---21more than our goal! Donors received a coupon for a pint of Culver’s frozen custard and an emailed $5 coupon from Amazon.

Our next Blood Drive is scheduled for August; however, we need a volunteer to coordinate with the Red Cross. If you think this might be a good place to share your time and talent, call Pastor Linda for a description of how simple the task is.

Reminder: Children of the Day bible study will be on Zoom on Monday, May 18th at 2:00 p.m.

Each of you in the bible study will receive an invite on Zoom.

**As we are receiving offerings/tithes at the church they are being held for bi-weekly deposit. Checks are being deposited every other week at this time. This ensures that we are meeting as little as possible during this time per the stay at home order by Governor Walz. If you have any questions please contact Paula in the office at 507-451-4734 or email at I will be sending out a report in June to let you know where you’re at on offerings/tithes.

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Wednesday’s at 10:00 a.m.

Sunday’s at 12:00 p.m. (NOON)

~Tune in to view Owatonna UMC worship services. You may also view the services online at You may view the pastor’s sermons on facebook by searching for “Owatonna united Methodist church’ or on YouTube by searching “Scott Jakel”

Owatonna United Methodist Church

815 E University Street

Owatonna, MN 55060

Worship: 9:00 a.m.
Sunday School at 10:00 a.m.

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