Important Announcement 

To all of our Members, Guests, and Friends of UMCNL,

3/18/2020 and until further notice:
 
Grace to you and peace.
 
In the midst of unprecedented times, UMCNL remains committed to the care of our incredible church family.  When I read a message from our Bishop suggesting that all in-person worship be suspended, there were two things that immediately went through my mind:  
 
First, I agree.  It only makes sense given all that we are called to do in order to love our neighbors well and to assist in eliminating the risk of continued spread of COVID-19.  It is here in Will County, and just like the multitude of other organizations and institutions, we need to do our part to contribute to the solution.
 
Second, it breaks my heart.  I believe that the church is the thing that people need most right now.  In the midst of fears and anxieties, we need to be reminded that God still loves you (and there’s nothing you can do about it!).  We are and always will be in the hands of loving God that will bring us through.  
 
Here at UMCNL, we will be following the recommendations of our Bishop to suspend in-person worship (see her message Here).  Many of you may have already heard this, but I always prefer to prayerfully consider solutions before hitting a forward button.  I am much more interested in discovering possibilities and seeking quality wisdom instead of contributing to the problem of increasing anxiety.  So if it appears that I am slow to respond, that is the reason.
 
While some of this may change over the next period of time, here is what we are doing:

Worship

 
While we will suspend in-person worship, we will have a team that will meet on Sunday morning to record an abbreviated service that may be viewed on Facebook and YouTube (see links below).  You can select the “Subscribe” button and click the little bell to receive an email when we upload new content. 
 

Spiritual Care

 
Your pastors are still here for you.  We may not be in the office as much, but we are thumbing through the directory, praying for you and your family by name.  
 
 
 
Always feel free to contact us.  Do not hesitate to call or text us.  You can always email us too, but our response times may be a little slower. Keep in mind that we also tend to triage responses with things of most importance getting immediate attention.
 
In case you need our contact info:
Pastor Wesley:  (630) 708-2470; wesley@umcnl.com
 
Pastor Matthew:  (224) 307-4638; matthew@umcnl.com
 
If you are interested in a more “personal” contact, we are happy to set up a way to “see” each other online.  If you are so bold and daring, we can meet you by appointment at your home or at church – we’ll even hold the door for you.
 

Stay connected to God and one another

It is a great time to exercise some Spiritual Disciplines.  Prayer, Scripture Reading, Silence, Fasting, Solitude… 
 
Take time to be a blessing.  There are many who are vulnerable to the spread of this disease.  Be kind and love others.  Here are a few ways to engage:
– Check in with each other with a phone call or note
– Ask if there is an important errand that you can run for someone.
– Grab a directory and pray for every family by name
– Take a walk around your neighborhood and pray for the families in the homes of those who live near you.  
 
Let me know what you are doing – it’s a great time to share stories of blessing others!

Stewardship and Giving

 
Let’s be candid.  Giving during the winter months is always down.  But with the new challenge of living in a Coronavirus world, we need to maintain wise fiscal responsibility.  If you can, please consider joining me in increasing giving to UMCNL.  I will be increasing my offering because I believe with every ounce of my being that the Church is the Light of the World.  
 
 
Now more than ever, we need to hang together and demonstrate strength and unity in order to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ.  Please prayerfully consider the ways in which you can make a difference.  As always, you can give online through our website (www.umcnl.com) and we are also going to be checking the mailbox regularly too. 

Meetings

 
No, we will not be holding any in-person meetings, and we will not be holding meetings via email.  We do, however, have access to Zoom – a wonderful resource that allows us to connect via phone and web-conference.  Teams / Studies / groups of UMCNL that need to meet during this time can easily utilize this resource.  Contact Pastor Wesley for more information about this.  
 

Additional Information

 
Conversation with the Pastors!  If there is a question that is on your heart that you have always wondered and are interested in continuing the conversation, Pastor Matthew and I will be periodically responding.  You can submit anonymous questions HERE.  
 
Your pastors are in touch regularly and are connected to district leadership each week during this time.  We will continue to keep in touch as we learn / hear more.
 
 

 

 

As usual, there is much that is not covered here, so please be in touch if there is anything that we can do to serve you well.  
 
Finally, please know that our staff truly loves you.  We sincerely care about you and desire nothing but the best for our church.  We look forward to the time when we emerge from this strange time to experience the JOY that is to come when we worship together again.
 
“Be glad in the Lord always!  Again I say, be glad!  Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people.  The Lord is near.  Don’t be anxious about anything; rather bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.  Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7, CEB.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Wesley