“You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Dear church family and friends,
Jesus’ last words right before ascending into heaven took a moment to instruct those of us who follow Him … those of us who believe in Him … that we are to be witnesses of our faith literally
“to the end of the earth.”
In these days of isolation when I sit in my office answering phone calls of people who are struggling with their lives I often think about all of you. I think of the times when we have been together as a church family sharing love and laughs. I have paused to think about past worship services at St. Paul’s and during Holy Week I longed for human companionship; I wanted to hear the echo of “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
Almost every day when I am here in church I look at our front door whose stained glass brings colorful light into the narthex. I look at that door because these weeks of separation have verified to me that God’s church is not about a building nor a weekly happy gathering of friends. God’s church is people of faith going out into the world and taking the light of Jesus Christ to others! God’s call to us is not to sequester our faith once a week in place called church; rather God’s call is to live our faith each and every day as witnesses to God’s truth and love!
You need to be assured just in case you have been wondering … St. Paul’s is busy doing church every day of the week. The leaders and volunteers who have stepped up to do more and the staff members of our church who have not stopped doing their jobs provide the assurance our community needs that there is a church representing Jesus Christ at 74 Church Street in West Deptford. We are feeding hundreds of hungry and needy people each month while bringing God’s peace to many others.
The amazing reality of these times is that we have become a global church. We have families in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Uganda who have joined us regularly for worship and morning devotions. A family at “the shore” had not been to church in 10 years— they found us and now have reconnected with God. Tanya in Kentucky whose home we worked on this past summer on our Red Bird Mission trip is a regular. We have even received offerings from some of those watching online.
I do not know when our doors will open again. On that wonderful day we will rush to worship God and Christ as the remarkable and loving church family known as St. Paul’s. I do not know when I can again feel Megan’s arms around me giving one of her all too tight squeeze hugs that reflect her amazing love for everyone but especially for her dad. I do not know when … because truthfully no one knows but I am very glad that I made the decision to close our doors to gatherings. We all now know how insipid the COVID-19 virus is, and to gather close to one another would only put friends, family and their friends and family at risk of death. I cannot emphasize the absolute need to continue to wear masks and gloves when you are at the store and that we all need to wash our hands (for at least 20 seconds) repeatedly throughout the day.
The people of St. Paul’s are out in the world … we are delivering the message of Jesus Christ to more people than ever before but if you or your family need something, anything, please contact me (856-845-6638). No one should be embarrassed about needing something. If you need a mask we will get you one. If you need food we will provide it. If you have financial needs let’s talk, and if you need someone to talk with because you are worried or afraid or confused, that is one of the things a pastor is for.
There are too many names to thank here but please know I celebrate all who have stepped up in my prayers!
In Proverbs we read, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.” As a church we have been blessed and so we are busy doing good … I hope and pray that you are finding ways to do good for those whom you can help even in these difficult days.