401 Scammel St.
Marietta, Ohio  45750
Pastor's Update 

Report to the Congregation Council
March 17, 2020

As I sit here writing this report, I do so with the understanding that many are dealing with the anxiety brought upon us by the Coronavirus. The last 2 weeks have had a direct impact not only on our daily lives, but on the difficult decisions and sacrifices we are being forced to make. Because this is new, because we still don’t have many answers, because we feel as if we have no control, we are witnessing the full gamut of reactions. I personally have witnessed both extremes: the generosity of some of the professional athletes in ensuring the “hourly waged employees” at the arenas are taken care of shows the ultimate concern for the neighbor, while the hoarding of groceries, toilet paper, over-the-counter medications and hand sanitizers shows us the ugliness of greed and pre-occupation with the self. I’ve heard people comment that we are witnessing the end of the world, while listened on as others commented that it’s nothing more than the flu and everyone is overreacting. I’ve been both inspired and appalled at our humanity, and my prayer is that most of us will seek the middle ground.
I’m reminded of what Martin Luther said when the plague struck his community. This evening I shared his quote with the Congregation Council as they discussed and made difficult decisions pertaining to the operations of the congregation over the coming days. I realize that whatever decisions are made, they won’t make everyone happy. And we are all entitled to those opinions … we are, after all, individuals, and to expect that we will always agree with each other or do things the same way is unreasonable. However, it’s important that what we DO all agree upon is that these decisions are made with the upmost concern, care, and love for others. We are called to love God and love our neighbor as we love ourselves … and sometimes that means making sacrifices for the other, performed in love for them.
All of this being said, during the past month (pre virus) we had some amazingly good events happen: Shrove Tuesday was a big success … and although the attendance may not be what it’s been in the past, those who attended stayed and enjoyed the food and fellowship for most of the evening. Ash Wednesday service was also very well attended, as we began the season of Lent with the reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Wednesday evening services gather during Lent for Soup followed by worship. This year we are using Holden Evening Prayer as the liturgy, along with a brief devotional. The Monday and Tuesday Bible Study groups concluded the study on Revelation. We plan to continue with the study of the Old Testament book of Joel and the other “shorter” books found at the end of the Old Testament. On the 15th the children of the congregation began going to “Children’s Church” where each week they will learn about Jesus, work on a craft, and learn songs of the faith.
In Christ, with Christ, for Christ!
Pastor Steve Mahaffey