Communicating through the storm

January 9, 2017

Today The United Methodist Church is stronger because of the wisdom and insight of our clergy! Early Sunday morning, January 8, 2016, I joined thousands of people who watched their local television station, if they had power, to discover the impact of Winter Storm Helena and to note how many of our local churches had cancelled worship services.  Helena did more than simply dump ice and snow on our area, the storm also created havoc and difficult travel throughout the region as well.  Normally such snow storms create an immediate sense of isolation causing us to take stock of our accommodations and to calculate how we can best wait out the storm. Sunday morning brought somewhat of a surprise.  While many churches had cancelled their worship services, many of our clergy used their wisdom and insight to alert their congregational families and friends that worship would be offered “on-line” through FaceBook or some other media outlet.  It was an amazing thing to see how congregations interacted with their faith communities.  Some offered videos and live-streaming of lessons and sermons.  It was a time when congregational leaders and ministers said “stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, here is worship today.”  It did not escape my attention that there was a sense of family worship and house churches opening themselves to all who would share in giving Thanks and Praise to God in the midst of natural although difficult circumstances.  Here is an example of how the church becomes “nimble” as we adapt to the quickly changing environment. While some may not have had power to participate in these on-line services, and recognizing that not everyone has an interest or ability to engage in technology, the church was reminding us that we are grateful for whatever chain of communication was used to affirm, the announcement of God’s kingdom which is always present in our lives.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we can always be affirm the Presence of God, who is Spirit, and those who worship God, do so in Spirit and in truth. Well done! Paul L. Leeland