I have a confession: I am addicted to Facebook. There. I said it. I find it to be a fabulous way to see what many of you are up to, and a way to brag about my kids or my church or my town. Facebook isn’t for everyone. It’s addictive and it’s time-wasting and there are predatory people on it. It has contributed greatly to the political divisions in the country, to misinformation about COVID-19 and everything else under the sun, and to disputes between friends who disagree. But there is some good to find within the bad.

I find the strength of Facebook is the community that it can build with others I’ve never met. I’m part of a private group called “UM Clergy Moms.” We are all mothers who are also pastors in UMCs. Our kids are young or old; our ministries are active or retired. There’s a huge mix of voices and experiences. I appreciate this group because it shares ideas, brainstorms solutions to challenges, and just offers a listening ear when we struggle. There are 1,500 members of the group! I know 35 of them and have common friends with hundreds more. I’ve found that the connections have moved from online to in-person as well. I met one when their family passed through Flagstaff and stayed in the church parking lot one night. I met another when we both attended a continuing education event and roomed together. We stayed up late sharing stories and laughing. Others I know through seminary or friends of friends from college or high school. It’s honestly the group I would miss most if Facebook went away.

(As a word of caution: These wise mamas have shared recently the scam of church members receiving an email or a text from someone who claims to be their pastor – by name. The recipient is asked to quickly pick up gift cards and email the codes back to the sender so the cards can be used for someone in need. The scam varies in what is being asked for. In fact, this has happened a few times here at St. Mark’s. I assure you that none of your pastors or staff will ever email or text you asking for gift cards or anything else immediately. We have other means to help people. All gift card requests will come through proper announcements through the Messenger or the bulletin, for places such as TIHAN or Nash Neighbors. If ever you are in doubt, call the church office to ask if it’s legit.)

While there is much to lament about the world of social media, I am not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they used to say. I find hope and connection through the relationships I have forged there. I am quick to hide and report things that are annoying or false. But it’s a tool for me to connect with the wider world.

I wonder how you are connecting with others in the wider world? So often we end up in an insulated bubble, only talking with or listening to those who agree with us. Who are you in relationship with beyond those who share your own ideology?

More importantly, I wonder where you are finding your support system? Who are the ones who listen to you, who hear your pain, who celebrate with you? Clearly, Facebook is not ideal. What do you do to be intentional to have support? There are groups within the church if you are a caregiver or dealing with grief. You can reach out for prayer or for a listening ear. You can join a small group through a book or Bible study. Join a choir and forge relationships there!

Christ modeled sharing life with a small group of disciples and with large groups who challenged and learned from him. How are you doing the same?

See you soon.
Pastor Lynn

(Please note, masks are required during all services as well as inside all St. Mark’s buildings.)

Join us for worship at our new times:

  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
  • 10 a.m. Pre-recorded worship premieres on YouTube and Website

Three ways to access our pre-recorded service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.
  • The YouTube link will also be shared on Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson or use this link.