Pastor’s Note July & August 2020
Summer is upon us and it is hot! Yet, we did not hold back from our celebrating this past weekend. It was the 4th of July and a great day to celebrate Freedom & Independence! Both were achieved at a high price! As I study the scriptures each week, I am reminded that the cost of such liberties has always come at a high cost and many souls have given their all for the greater good of humankind. In our present time, naivety, innocence, and inexperience has left many of us believing that the price was paid and now we are all set! Unfortunately, the battles continue as we remain vigilant to the needs of others, committing to make real sacrifices when necessary for the greater good. With new and old conflicts to deal with, many are continuing to need to put their very lives on the line for the rights of others. The Pandemic named Covid-19, fear, ignorance and unrestrained bigotry and racism, are threatening the principles by which we live. These are difficult times and our need to be clear about our relationship with God has never been more crucial!
Fortunately, we are a blessed congregation as we are a strong community; a fellowship willing to support common goals within our joint ministry! Thankfully, we have come together during these tough times! The funding to upgrade our ministry, On-Line, while supporting our local needs has broadened our outreach ministry. Through the continued support of our New-Beginnings Ministry Team, we are exploring new avenues to care for the growing needs of others, during these turbulent and changing times. This past Sunday we blessed needed food supplies, which we are donating to a food pantry in our local community. We are committed to growing this outreach as we ask for food donations the first week of each month into the future. We pray our efforts to partner with a local parish will fill the needs of many hungry families and individuals locally.
As the weeks following bring more heat, storms, and unexpected challenges we each need to stay mindful of the importance our commitment to following the teachings of Jesus truly is! Jesus taught the fundamentals of offering an extravagant welcome to everyone. He taught that the marginalized, the downtrodden and the hungry need to be cared for with love, kindness, and a helping hand. He also led the way in breaking down the walls of fear and bigotry. He was outspoken in his fight for justice issues. The ‘ideal of fighting for the rights and needs of others’ did not spring forth from our efforts in the modern world. Speaking out for the civil rights of our neighbors became an integral part of the teachings and ministry of Jesus Christ! It is my prayer that the ministry of the Riviera United Church of Christ, will continue to pursue the teachings of Jesus into the future.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Tim Woodard