January 22, 2021
This Sunday, Jan. 24, we continue our sermon series “Grounded in Love” with a message called “The Greatest is Love,” drawing from the last verses of I Corinthians 13 and also from portions of Psalm 22. The message will focus on greatness and what truly lasts and include a story about woman who changed because of what lasts.
We continue to worship online at umcstmarks.org/live-worship, Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson and YouTube UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley. We’re also exploring drive-in worship so watch for more info on that.
Our Genesis Team, which meets weekly to look at COVID data and discuss plans and ways for reopening our campus, affirmed this past week that the numbers support our campus remaining closed at this time. We’re hopeful, as the availability of vaccines increases and people continue to practice mask-wearing and distancing, that the numbers will decrease soon.
Our staff and leaders are making plans for Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17. Watch for a special mailing in about two weeks that gives you resources and info on plans for Lent. We’re not able to distribute ashes in person this Ash Wednesday but will offer a special recorded service at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and provide you with ways of entering into Lent.
This week, our Covenant Council met and approved a 2021 budget that is reduced from 2020 based on anticipated revenue. We hope to revise the budget upward as 2021 progresses, with the hope that giving will increase as the year goes on, anticipating our return to in-person worship and programs. I want to express my personal gratitude to all of you who gave so generously in 2020 and continue to do so in 2021, even though we’re not yet worshiping in person.
I am grateful that the Inauguration Day events in Washington D.C. were peaceful and pray that we can come together as a nation to work for an end to the pandemic and relief for those suffering because of it, including those whose businesses and jobs have been affected. I pray earnestly each day for our country, its leaders and all of us who are living through this isolating and uncertain time. I pray that vaccines will become readily available. And I pray that issues of injustice that weigh on us can be truly addressed so all God’s people can live well and in peace.
In this Sunday’s message I will ask you to think about who has stood by you during times of uncertainty and trouble and thank them. Maybe you can think about that ahead of time. “See” you in worship!