Greetings blessed brothers & sisters of Grace Church!
Three months ago I wrote to you in the May newsletter about my plans to resume the Wednesday evening Bible study in the fall, and the plans are still to re-convene sometime in September -- but there are some changes. First, because of the ongoing epidemic health concerns and to maintain social-distancing protocols, we will be meeting in the church basement fellowship hall where we can "spread out" safely and still be together in one room.
Second, because of potential demand on the fellowship hall space by other groups, we might be compelled to meet some weekday evening other than Wednesday. As with society in general right now, things are fluid and it's a time that demands us to be able to "think on our feet". My plan is to communicate with you by September 1st our exact day and time of the week the Bible study will resume.
And speaking of "thinking on our feet", I want to let you know of a change in my staff status. About six years ago, Pastor Ken asked me to come on staff as a part-time assistant, which I was happy to do. My function has been to conduct the Sunday morning "Joys & Concerns" time of our congregational gatherings, as well as preside services and preach on Sundays when Ken was gone. Also behind the scenes, I aided Ken in doing pastoral hospital and nursing home visits, and taking communion to various shut-in members of Grace. But like so many things of our society in this volatile year, these duties came to a screeching halt suddenly in March. The private matters shared during our "Joys & Concerns" time are not always subjects that any of us would want to remain on a social media network (potentially hovering out there for years) so that portion of the broadcast service was dropped. And as for hospitals and nursing home visits --- because of the epidemic, those places shut their doors to all public visitation. As a result, I have been at home watching the Sunday broadcasts along with you. (The broadcasts by Terry on keyboard, Todd leading worship, and Pastor Ken preaching have been excellent, by the way). Early in May, I suggested that I "go on furlough" as many business endeavors have been compelled to do with some employees, and my salary stopped with that month. As time and situations have progressed, we (me, Ken, SPRC committee) have decided to permanently drop this staffing position. While this can appear to be a negative impact due to the Covid quarantine, we see and are hoping for some new positive directions of local pastoral ministry that have the potential to develop; let's see what the Lord will do!
I have been preaching once a month at a couple area churches for a number of years, but I have been and do remain a member of Grace UM Church. I'm still available to aid Pastor Ken in any way I can, and look forward to resume our ninth year of the adult Bible study class this coming September.
Once again I recall that phrase from the hymn "Be Still My Soul" that says: "Through every change, He faithful will remain." Let's all endeavor to do the same.
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Sheldon is the son of an Evangelical United Brethren minister (the E.U.B's merged with the Methodist's in 1968), and then went into the ministry as a student with the newly formed United Methodist Church in 1970. He pastored for thirty-five years, mainly as a non-denominational minister in Ohio. Sheldon has also been a self-employed general contractor, and a commercial truck driver over the course of years. He is currently "semi-retired", serving as assistant to the pastor at Grace, in addition Sheldon preaches at other area churches.