See our BG COVID-19 Navigation tab for updates regarding Worship Opportunities and Sunday School
Blooming Grove United Methodist Church
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

BG COVID-19

 
COVID-19 Updates
 

See below for the most current updates regarding our congregation's response to the Coronavirus and how we can best care for everyone's health and safety.

 

ONGOING FALL WEEKEND WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES (September/October)

Each Sunday - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   Each Sunday's pre-recorded worship video is led by Pastor Kathy King.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

Each Saturday at 5:00 P.M. and each Sunday at 9:00 A.M. - On-Site Drive-Up Worship

Join us "live" each weekend for drive-up worship with the churches of the Prairie Lakes Parish: Blooming Grove UMC, Janesville UMC, and Waterville Evangelical UMC.  We will hold a Saturday evening service at 5:00 P.M. and a Sunday morning service at 9:00 A.M. - rotating services between our three churches.  You are invited to attend at any of the dates/times/locations.  Each Saturday morning we will post the weekend's schedule, as well as printable bulletins and hymn sheets, on our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page and our BGUMC Facebook page.  Please review the bottom of each bulletin for important COVID-19 Drive-Up Worship Guidelines for keeping all attendees, as well as our local communities, safe.  

***Newsflash***   We now have our Prairie Lakes Parish FM radio transmitter up and running!  While in each church parking lot, you can tune your car radio to 88.3 FM and hear the entire service that way as well!  It will be helpful in event of less-than-ideal weather conditions of wind, heat, and cold! 

 

 

7/26/2020 - Sunday - 9:00 A.M. Drive-Up Worship at Blooming Grove UMC Cancelled

Due to the rain (for which our crops are thankful), we are cancelling today's 9:00 A.M. Drive-Up Worship Service at Blooming Grove United Methodist Church.  See our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page and our BGUMC Facebook page for more information.


 

 

7/23/2020 - Announcing Start-Up of Summer On-Site Drive-Up Worship Each Weekend

With excitement, the Prairie Lakes Parish of Blooming Grove UMC, Janesville UMC, and Waterville Evangelical UMC announces a new adventure in community:  on-site Drive-Up worship services beginning July 25th and 26th!  Each weekend, we will hold a Saturday evening service at 6:45 and a Sunday morning service at 9:00 - rotating services between our three churches.  You are invited to attend at any of the dates/times/locations.  

  • Please link to our announcement for full details.  Page one contains our letter of welcome.  Page two contains our worship schedule from July 25th - August 30th as well as important COVID-19 Drive-Up Worship Guidelines for keeping all attendees, as well as our local communities, safe.
  • Each Saturday morning, we will post printable bulletins and hymn sheets for the weekend on our BGUMC Facebook  and  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook  pages.  
  • Note that we will continue to offer our on-line Facebook worship as well, available each Sunday on our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook  page, beginning at 8:00 A.M.

 

 

6/22/2020 - Prairie Lakes Parish COVID-19 Response Plan

Please review both pages - the cover letter and our plan for the Current Phase of "Yellow" 

 

 

Sunday, 6/21/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from her home.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

Wednesday, 6/17/2020:  Email Check-In from Pastor Kathy King

Greetings church family,

Our summer is about to begin—at least our calendar tells us that summer begins on June 20th this year. The heat tells me it’s already here. I pray you are well and comfortable in this new way of life. Many of us are missing our church buildings. We know God’s church is not a building but we each recognize our sanctuaries as a place we gather to feed our hearts with the Word and the fellowship. I miss seeing you there when Kristin and I or Judy and I record the week’s service. I am happy to report that our technology team is working to build a sound system that will enable outdoor worship. It is a process. Nick Zell, Andrew Edwards, Bill Olson, Judy Mahler, Jerry King and I set up a demo system in Janesville and I know the neighbors heard us loud and clear. Our Tech Team also includes Kristin Krell, Gil Christesen, Trevell Danberry, Weston Janke, and Mason Nagel. There will be training for the group as soon as we have the system components in hand. The hope is to begin in late July barring back-ordered components. This system will be paid for from our Dare to Reach grants that each church received from the MN Conference. Please keep this group in your prayers!

 

I am encouraged as I hear stories about those who are reaching out to our shut ins and those without access to online worship and materials. Please continue to call those folks to let them know we are a community of believers who care for one another. I have been blessed by the confirmations that are taking place outdoors—at our youth’s homes or chosen place. What a joy to hear our youth confirm their faith in God’s beautiful creation. We are the church doing the work of the church in spite of not being in the church. 

 

You are in my thoughts and prayers always. Please continue to send your requests for prayer to me and let me know if it’s okay to share your concern with our prayer families. 

 

 

Be blessed in these days, stay safe, and wash you hands!

 

Sunday, 6/14/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from the sanctuary of Janesville UMC.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

Thursday, 6/11/2020:  Prairie Lakes Parish COVID-19 Response Plan - Yellow Phase

Our Prairie Lakes Parish (PLP) Leadership Team, consisting of Pastor Kathy King plus Council Chairs and Pastor Parish Relations Committee (PPRC) members from all three churches, has been hard at work monitoring and reviewing COVID-19 updates from the MN Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (Conference), the Minnesota Department of Health (MN DOH) and the CDC - and studying related implications for faith communities.  

 

Throughout the months of May and June, we've watched as our Conference Office has worked tirelessly to create a "Phased Re-Gathering Plan for Churches".  It provides a framework of guidance/recommendations to help church leaders make healthy and pastoral decisions for how and when their specific MN United Methodist churches can safely gather for worship, celebrations of life, small groups, faith formation, children/youth ministries, etc.  (Read more about this plan on the MN Conference website https://www.minnesotaumc.org/regatheringplan.)  In conjunction with this plan, each United Methodist church in MN has been asked to complete the following:  

1) Prior to gathering together in any manner, create a COVID-19 Response plan based on all of the resources mentioned above, including the Conference "Phased Re-Gathering Plan".  

2) File the plan with their District Superintendent, communicate the plan with their congregation, and post the plan at church.  

 

On June 11th, our PLP Leadership Team finalized our "Prairie Lakes Parish COVID-19 Response Plan" for the current phase - identified as "Yellow" by the Conference.  (See link Prairie Lakes Parish COVID-19 Response Plan.On the same day, we filed our plan with our District Superintendent, received his approval, and communicated the plan with the PLP congregations via email.  Notification will also be provided through individual mailings from Pastor Kathy for those without email, as well as the Facebook pages and/or newsletters of our churches.  

 

We encourage you to read this plan for the Yellow Phase.  We thank you, in advance, for working together with us to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our church and community.  And in the words of the Conference:  "We have come to understand, like never before, that the church is not a building.  It is the expression of God's love made visible through the actions of devoted followers of Jesus.".    

 

Sincerely,

BGUMC members of the PLP Leadership Team:  

   Hjordi Churchill - Council Chair

   Allison Janke, Judy Mahler, Cindy Saufferer - PPRC

   And Pastor Kathy King    

 

 

Thursday, 6/11/2020:  Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

Hello church family,

Your leadership team (Prairie Lakes Parish Leadership Team consisting of Council Chairs and PPRC members of all three churches) has been busy trying to keep up with the changes surrounding these times of pandemic. I attached our Prairie Lakes Parish COVID-19 Response Plan for the Yellow Phase that is required by our United Methodist Conference and the CDC before we can meet in any type of worship gathering. Late last week our governor moved our state to yellow in a phased return to work and worship. Your leadership (Prairie Lakes Parish Leadership Team) made the decision to err on the side of caution and not to move into our buildings to worship at this time. There is much to do before we can gather in our sanctuaries some of which includes getting supplies for sanitizing after a group is in the building. If we were to worship in our buildings at this time, it would be so different including things like:

  • No congregational singing
  • No handshaking or physical touch (hugs)
  • Masks are required
  • Lists of attendees and the location of their seating are required
  • No fellowship time—congregants would be required to exit the building immediately following the service
  • Entry requires answering a list of questions
  • Entry and leaving must be done in a row by row fashion with physical distancing of 6 feet between non-family groups

 

As you can see, worship would be a lot of work. Your leadership team does not want to take the joy from our worship time nor do we want to tire volunteers who would be required to do sanitizing and the various things in-the-building worship would require.

 

We have a great Technology Team (made up of members of each of the three churches in our Prairie Lakes Parish) who are meeting to develop a sound system for drive-in worship times. Your leadership team (Prairie Lakes Parish Leadership Team) will joyously let you know when we have the things in place to make drive-in worship possible. Our schedule will continue to be online services each first Sunday to facilitate Holy Communion through as we have been sharing in our virtual world. The second, third, and fourth Sundays will feature an online service and a drive-in service for one of our three congregations. 

 

Your leadership team (Prairie Lakes Parish Leadership Team) will continue to monitor CDC and United Methodist Conference guidelines and suggestions and always make decisions based on the safety of our congregations. 

 

Thank you for your faithful support of the churches you love!

 

 

 

Sunday, 6/7/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from the sanctuary of Blooming Grove UMC.  Pastor Kathy will offer Holy Communion during this time - and invites you to prepare your own version of the communion elements to have with you for blessing during our virtual worship.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

 

Sunday, 5/31/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from the sanctuary of Waterville EUMC.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

 

Sunday, 5/24/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from the sanctuary of Janesville UMC, including music from Kristen Ziemke.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 5/19/2020:  Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

Hi Church Family,

I pray you are well and discovering a new normal for yourselves and your families. I hear so many references to “getting back to normal”. I don’t believe we will ever return to ways of life exactly like our pre-Coronavirus days. Certainly, our churches will never return to our old ways of being. We still don’t know when it will be safe to gather in worship. As your Pastor, I will listen to and follow the recommendations of our Annual Conference and our Bishop who are making decisions based on information from the CDC and IDC centers while following our United Methodist principle of doing no harm. 

 

And, it’s so difficult to stay apart from one another as each church family has a unique group of people who love and care for each other. I am thankful that we live in a time when we can connect through technology. That leaves many out though since each church family has members who do not have computers or network connectivity. One way we can support those members is through phone calls. I have tried to call many members but could use help. If you have some free moments, call those you know do not have a computer—especially our shut ins. Every few weeks, I create packages with our sermons and emails and mail them to members without computers. If you know of someone, please send me an email. It’s always good to confirm that I am reaching all who would like to stay connected. 

 

Each of our churches received the Dare to  Reach Grant to help with the costs of technology. The grant targeted congregations under 200 people and was created to help with online streaming equipment and subscriptions. Our Parish is in the process of forming a technology team comprised of members from each church. Team members have been contacted and agreed to help in this process. That team will investigate what equipment would best help our Parish reach members and visitors in our virtual world. Moving forward, the PLP will continue to stream a worship service—even after we can return to worship in our church buildings. 

 

I hope you can join your church family for the Reconnecting online meetings coming up. You do not need a computer to participate. There is a phone in number if you want to participate. If you know of anyone I missed on the invite, please let me know? 

Waterville: May 21 @ 7:00; Blooming Grove: May 26 @ 7:00; and Janesville: May 28 @ 7:00. The dial-in number is 408.419.1715 and the ID number is 998.419.4942  These numbers are the same for all meetings.

 

Please continue to pray for our healthcare workers, our essential workers, and those who are furloughed or lost jobs. Also remember to pray for:  Our military veterans and those currently serving. Let us especially remember those who gave their lives for this country we love.  Those who have lost loved ones in this time when friends and family cannot gather to be a support.   Those dealing with illness and those diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

We know God answers prayer and we have the joys of our recent graduates and persons who are receiving good medical reports.

 

Be well! Pray often. Know that Jerry and I miss you and wash your hands!

 

Psalm 68: 3-4a  But let the righteous be glad and celebrate before God. Let them rejoice with gladness! Sing to God! Sing praises to his name!

 

 

 

Sunday, 5/17/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

Come together at 8:00 A.M. as a "watch group" to join in morning worship through our  Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.   This Sunday's pre-recorded video is led by Pastor Kathy King. from the sanctuary of Blooming Grove UMC, including music from Judy Mahler.  The video will then be available for viewing throughout the week and will also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page. 

 

 

 

Sunday, 5/10/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

This Sunday's pre-recorded video was created specifically for this morning's worship - led by Pastor Kathy King from the sanctuary of Janesville UMC, including music from Kristen Ziemke.  The video is scheduled for viewing at or after 8:00 A.M. through our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.  The service recording will then also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page.  

 

 

 

Sunday, 5/3/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

This Sunday's pre-recorded video was created specifically for this morning's worship - led by Pastor Kathy King from the sanctuary of Janesville UMC, including music from Kristen Ziemke.  The video is scheduled for viewing at or after 8:00 A.M. through our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.  The service recording will then also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page.  Pastor Kathy will offer Holy Communion during this time - and invites you to prepare your own version of the communion elements to have with you for blessing during our virtual worship.   

 

 

 

Tuesday, 4/28/2020:  Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

Good morning Church!

 

I pray you are well and tolerating the changes that continue to evolve in our lives. Each day seems to bring news—good or bad—that we may not want to hear. I continue to pray that each one of us finds the good things in our days—even in the midst of the bad. Yesterday, I had a bit of bad…I went to the doctor for a shoulder that has been getting increasingly painful. After X-rays and a bit of a scolding for waiting so long, my doctor gave me a shot of cortisone. It was a bit of bad! Glad it’s over. But, when I was walking out of the visit, I heard my name….”Kathy!”. There was my daughter-in-law who had brought our new grandson in for a well-baby check. He gained 1 pound last week—good news for a little guy. Suddenly the good snuffed out every bit of bad!

 

Yesterday’s devotion from the Disciplines Book of Devotions for 2020 talked about the British novelist Dame Margaret Drabble’s book “The Gates of Ivory” and her story recounting a friend and peer (author Stephen Cox) who was living in a “Good Time” in England but chose to go to Cambodia where life was a “Bad Time.” How did the author’s of this devotion know how appropriate their daily offerings are in this time we are living in? I have to admit that I’m not so sure I’d be one who would leave my comfortable life to journey to a place of devastation! Guess I need to ponder that for a time? Drabble’s book was paralleled with the times the Christians were living in just after the death of Jesus. Good things were happening. People were coming to belief in Jesus but the authorities of that time were not having it! The new Christians faced hostility and persecution. The devotion goes on to talk about today’s marginalized people who still today live in a “Bad Time” in spite of those who think otherwise. The devotion ends with these words “We too live between the Times. In every time and place, Good Time and Bad Time coexist.” Like my day yesterday, may your Good Times snuff out the Bad Times. You and I know that Christ is the Light that we use to make that happen!

 

Please continue to pray for others.  There are so many to keep in our prayers—healthcare workers; those living with mental illnesses; those who have contracted this virus that has changed our lives; those who are dealing with illnesses and treatments made even more difficult in these times; those who continue to go to work to ensure you and I can be comfortable and have what we need in this time; those living alone—for who this is an especially lonely time. 

 

Our bi-weekly Bible Studies began last week. The initial times together were food for my soul. If you’d like to be fed in such a way, call, text or email.   I’m happy to add you to the online or telephone call invitation. 

 

Thank you to those in the Blooming Grove congregation who were a part of the all church meeting on Sunday. A big thank you to Pastor Sharon Nelson who presided over our time together. It is heart-warming to know how important it is to you to have a church available to everyone! 

 

Thank you to those of you who reach out to Jerry and I with your cards and prayers. One of my Confirmation Students made my day yesterday with a card that extended well-wishes and a thank you for the online services. Talk about “Good Time!” 

 

Be well family! I miss you so very much.

 

Pastor Kathy Contact Information:

  • Email:  kking5@hickorytech.net
  • Phone: 507-382-2483 (if texting, please include your name)

 

 

 

Sunday, 4/26/2020 - 8:00 A.M. and on - Facebook Worship with Pastor Kathy King

As we continue to worship in our virtual world, we are trying things to improve your experience, and have learned that pre-recording the service will provide a smoother and non-interrupted viewing - as compared to live-streaming.  This Sunday's worship service is a pre-recorded video - created specifically for this morning's worship - by Pastor Kathy King.  The video is scheduled for viewing at or after 8:00 A.M. through our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.  The service recording will then also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page.  
 

 

 

Saturday, 4/25/2020 - 10:00 A.M. - Virtual Gathering with our Children with Pastor Kathy King

Pastor Kathy will host a virtual gathering with the children/youth of our parish and our extended families across the country.  If your child would like to participate, send Pastor Kathy an email or text so that she can email a coloring sheet/project before the gathering.  The Bible Story for this gathering will revolve around this project.  

 

Pastor Kathy Contact Information:

  • Email:  kking5@hickorytech.net
  • Phone: 507-382-2483
 
 
 
Tuesday, 4/21/2020 - 9:30 A.M. & Saturday, 4/25/2020 - 1:30 P.M. - Virtual Bible Study with Pastor Kathy King

We will be starting a virtual Bible study class this week for anyone interested - those of you both near and far.  The study will be available at two times during each two-week time period—a morning time and a Saturday early afternoon time for those who are essential workers but would like to participate. Our study will be based on “Disciplines, A Book of Daily Devotions 2020” from the Upper Room, which is available from Amazon if you would like a copy. You do not have to purchase a copy to participate.  Please contact Pastor Kathy by email or text or phone call if you would like to be involved so she can include you on the BlueJeans platform virtual meeting invitation. If you have video capability, great. If you do not, you can call in and still participate!   

 

Pastor Kathy Contact Information:

  • Email:  kking5@hickorytech.net
  • Phone: 507-382-2483 (if texting, please include your name)

 

 

 

 Sunday, 4/19/2020 - 10:00 A.M. - "Facebook Live" Worship with Pastor Kathy King

We invite you, your family, and friends to join us for "Facebook Live" Sunday morning worship through our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.  The service recording will then also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page.  We look forward to sharing this time, and the good news of this Easter Season, with you!
 

 

 

Wednesday, 4/8/2020:  Weekly Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

Good morning Church!

 

We are an Easter people and God blesses us with our church family who we are missing very much! As we move through this time of sheltering in our homes, we are still Easter people—a connected and working body of faith—called to good works in spite of our sheltering. So what does that mean for us these days?

 

We will be starting a virtual Bible study class for those of you who are interested. The study will be available at two times during each two-week time period—a morning time and a Saturday early afternoon time for those who are essential workers but would like to participate. Our first will start on April 21st at 9:30 a.m. The Saturday study will begin at 1:30 on April 25th. Our study will be based on “Disciplines, A Book of Daily Devotions 2020” from the Upper Room which is available from Amazon if you would like a copy. You do not have to purchase a copy to participate but you do need to send me an email or text if you will participate so I can include you on the BlueJeans meeting invitation. If you have video capability, great. If you do not, you can call in and still participate!   If you’re getting my emails, you have my email address. My phone number is 507-382-2483 for your text or phone call. If you are texting, please include your name.  If I don’t have you as a contact, I won’t know who you are without your name.

 

I will also set up another time to meet with our children. I’d like to send a coloring sheet/project before we meet so we can have a Bible story during our time together. If you’re child would like to participate, please send me a text or email so I send the page/project ahead of time. We will meet April 25that 10:00 a.m. 

 

I will be setting up BlueJeans’ meetings—separate for each church's congregation—just to say hello to one another, wave, smile, hear family updates, be together in a way we can—and pray. Dependent on the length of our sheltering in place, we will have one each month until we can be together in our church homes. They will be on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  I will send an email to those of you on my email lists. If you see I’ve missed someone, please let me know and forward the information so we can get as many involved as want to be involved. We will begin April 29th with Waterville Evangelical UMC. May 6th, Blooming Grove UMC. May 13th, Janesville UMC. 

 

I want to thank each of you who have been so kind with your comments during this season of uncertainty for your pastor. I am learning new things as we move forward. The church is changing. We will keep an online presence going forward—even when we can again gather to worship.

  • Our online “totals” as they can be reported for worship as set by the MN Conference were:  Average Holy Week worship attendance (this number is reported for each church) was 72—103 for Easter Sunrise, 67 for Holy Thursday, 58 for Good Friday (total of numbers divided by 3).
  • Our “reach” was 650 for Easter, 640 for Maundy Thursday, and 406 for Good Friday.
  • The total number of minutes people watched a part of the services was 4,323! People are hearing the Word through our Parish presence. God is good!

As always, we pray.  Please pray for these new requests within our congregations from last week, and as always—those on the front line working during this time. Our prayers and our hearts are with you!

 

I leave you with this Bible verse from today’s Discipline’s devotion: “You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” Acts 2:28. May each of us know the ways of life that lead to the gladness that comes from the presence of our Lord and Risen Savior! 

 

Be well, stay safe, and wash your hands!

 
 
 
Holy Week and Easter - "Facebook Live" Worship with Pastor Kathy King
We invite you, your family, and friends to join us for "Facebook Live" Holy Week and Easter services through our Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.  Each service recording will then also be posted on our BGUMC Facebook page.  
  • Maundy Thursday - April 9th - 7:00 P.M.   This will be a service of Tenebrae and a remembrance of the Last Supper.  Our Bishop, Bruce Ough, has granted permission for pastors to do online communion, which consists of clergy offering the words of consecration remotely, and people using elements in their home to take communion.  
  • Good Friday - April 10th - 7:00 P.M.
  • Easter Sunday - April 12th - 7:00 A.M.  This will be our Easter Sunrise Service!  
  
 
Tuesday, 4/7/2020:  Weekly Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

Good morning dear ones!

 

We are in the midst of what the government health officials told us would be the most heartbreaking of this COVID-19 outbreak yet there are so many signs of promise in this time. The spring bulbs are exploding with green—a sign of life after the cold of winter. Our grandson, Milo, will be born either Saturday or Monday! (We’ll know more after the Thursday weekly doctor’s visit). Seeing your smiles in our virtual meetings. What would you see as a sign of promise in this time?

 

I received an email this morning telling me the words of our UM Hymnal 707 “Hymn of Promise” were so appropriate for this time. Indeed! If you don’t have access to a hymnal at this time, I share those words with you here:

 

Hymn of Promise UMH 707 (Natalie Sleeth, 1986)

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;

in cocoons, a hidden promise:  butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be, 

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;

there's a dawn in every darkness bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;

in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

 

This is Holy Week. The week we Christians are called to remember the heartbreaking, soul-wrenching, humiliating, lonely journey of our Lord to the cross. For his friends, it was a time of darkness and fear. For Christ, it was a time of focus and determination that led him to exactly where God designed death to meet its end and humanity to receive the promise of eternal life. 

 

Several years ago, I experienced the Rock Opera Jesus Christ Superstar. For this baby boomer, it was amazing—the story of this week, played out through the giftedness of Andrew Lloyd Weber. As the end of the play drew near, the stage grew dark with one light highlighting the agony of Christ—hanging on the cross, dying an excruciatingly terrible death. It caused me to wonder, how is it possible that Christ didn’t shout out “ENOUGH!”? Jesus Christ, the miracle performer. Jesus Christ, the one who restored sight, healed lepers, brought people back to life! Jesus Christ who lived the example of complete trust in our God. Jesus Christ—who in the midst of our darkness—provides the example of trusting in the One who is our God! This week gives us the opportunity to live as Christians—to follow the example. In the midst of this COVID-19 darkness; in the midst of disappointment that Easter gatherings are canceled; in the places we shelter, trust that God is here! We can trust in the One who is the Creator of mercy and grace!

 

I hope you can join me for our Holy Week Facebook Live streams. Holy Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Good Friday at 7:00 p.m., and Easter Sunrise at 7:00 a.m. All will stream from our Prairie Lakes Parish of the United Methodist Church Facebook site. As always, the service recordings will be posted to that site as well as the three individual church sites. I had originally said I would post from the patio but it sounds like the temps will be in the low 30’s. I’ll probably post from our three-season room. It will be a little warmer there! 

 

Our prayer list includes the following:  

  • People with health concerns
  • Those dealing with mental illness
  • Incarcerated men, women, and their families who will not be allowed to visit
  • Nursing homes and care facilities and their residents who cannot have visitors
  • Our Healthcare workers, and in particular - those with connections to our congregations
  • Those grieving the loss of loved ones 
  • Our families expecting babies
  • Persons in the military
  • Our first responders
  • People working in service industries, like truckers, grocery stores, and pharmacies
  • School employees and administration working to provide education in a virtual world, meals to students, childcare for essential workers, and so much more! 

 

May it be a week of reflection for each of us that leads to the certain celebration of Easter morning. Our big dinners may be postponed or canceled BUT the Resurrection celebration cannot!

 

Your Pastor misses you! Be safe. Tell your faith story to someone. Stay home and wash your hands!

 

 

 
Sunday, 4/5/2020 - 10:00 A.M. - "Facebook Live" Palm Sunday Worship with Pastor Kathy King
Link to our BGUMC Facebook page below for our celebration of Palm Sunday and Holy Communion, led by Pastor Kathy King.  Our Bishop, Bruce Ough, has granted permission for pastors to now do online communion, which consists of clergy offering the words of consecration remotely, and people using elements in their home to take communion.
 
 
 
Wednesday, 4/1/2020:  Mid-Week Lenten Message from Pastor Kathy King

Link to our BGUMC Facebook page below for Pastor Kathy King's mid-week Lenten message for our Prairie Lakes Parish.  

BGUMC Facebook

 
 
 
Tuesday, 3/31/2020:  Prairie Lakes Parish & BGUMC Response to COVID-19 - Message #3

 

 Dear Blooming Grove UMC Family -

Based on a 3/24/2020 update from our United Methodist Bishop, Bruce Ough, we will now continue gathering “virtually” for worship and meetings through at least May 10th.  We invite you to read his full announcement, as well as his words of hope and encouragement, in the two links below, both found on www.minnesotaumc.org.:

 

In the midst of the changes driven by the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to think of you and offer a number of ways to stay connected as a church family.  Weekly updates will be provided through the following sources:

  • Direct email communication with the congregation – or phone call for local persons without email
  • BGUMC Website – “COVID-19” Navigation Tab - http://www.bloominggroveumc.org
  • BGUMC Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Blooming-Grove-United-Methodist-Church-102762953095215/
  • Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page (new) – https://www.facebook.com/Prairie-Lakes-Parish-of-the-United-Methodist-Church-105151027807869/?modal=admin_todo_tour .  This page was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic and our new world of social distancing.  We hope that it will be a helpful way in which to remain connected with one another.  It will house posts that involve all three churches of the parish, including such things as messages from Pastor Kathy, Wednesday Lenten reflections, live-streamed Sunday morning worship services, and live-streamed Holy Week services.  Each of our three churches will continue to support their own individual Facebook pages as well - sharing news, events, and stories specific to their individual congregations. Our BGUMC page will also re-post messages from Pastor Kathy and live-streamed worship services (after they take place).

 

You may also feel free to contact Pastor King directly:

  • Email:  kking5@hickorytech.net
  • Phone: 507-382-2483

 

Please see the information below about opportunities to “be together” in the weeks ahead.   Feel free to share this with your family, friends, and neighbors.  Blessings of good health and safety to you all.

--Pastor Kathy King and Judy Mahler (PPRC liaison for BGUMC)

 

We invite you to join together in community through the Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page (see link above)

  • Regular Sunday Morning Worship:  Live Streamed at 10:00 A.M. 
  • Mid-Week Lenten Reflections:  Posted each Wednesday
  • Palm Sunday Worship:  Live Streamed at 10:00 A.M.
  • Maundy Thursday Service, April 9th:  Live Streamed at 7:00 P.M.
  • Good Friday Service, April 10th:  Live Streamed at 7:00 P.M.
  • Easter Sunrise Service, April 12th:  Live Streamed at 7:00 A.M. from Pastor Kathy’s patio!
 
 
Tuesday, 3/31/2020:  Weekly Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King 

 

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior!

As I listened to the news yesterday, one announcer said, this coming Palm Sunday! In the midst of the busyness, I had spaced off that April 4th is 2020’s Palm Sunday. I know with all of my reading that this is our last Wednesday “Lenten Service” but to hear someone speak the reminder is somewhat reassuring! In the middle of everything, Jesus will again ride triumphant into town and remind all of us that He comes in the name of the Lord and He is—indeed—blessed!

 

I can’t tell you all how much I miss seeing you and connecting with you. Perhaps this is God’s way of reminding us how much our faith families need one another and rely on one another? Tomorrow evening’s message from Adam Hamilton’s The Walk series is titled “Share”. I look forward to sharing that message😉  

 

Parents with young children—even those children who don’t consider themselves to be young children—watch your emails for a meeting invite on Saturday morning at 9:30. If you have video capability—great! If not, please phone in and put it on speaker so your young one can interact with the group. I need to see those faces or at least—hear their voices. It will be a time for them to update me about their lives. Parents with Confirmation youth, I heard from the majority that Saturday at 1 works best for us to meet. Please, reassure your young person that we won’t be talking homework here. It will be our time to check in and hear one another in these times of being secluded from our group. Also parents, these worship opportunities are a good time for your confirmation student to get their sermon notes in. I’ll accept their notes from any video posted on our church Facebook sites. If you are attending other church worship services, I’m glad you’re experiencing those but I would rather your sermon notes come from our videos. It is my way of understanding what your age-group likes and doesn’t like from UM liturgy. And I know, your favorite part of the sermon is the end but—please, find a topic in the message other than the end? 

 

We continue to pray as a community. I continue to receive updates from all of you—thank you! Please pray for the following:

  • People with health concerns
  • Our Healthcare workers - and in particular - those with connections to our congregations  
  • Persons grieving the loss of loved ones
  • Our families expecting new babies
  • Persons in the military  
  • School employees and administration  
  • Our first responders  
  • People working in service industries like truckers, grocery stores, and pharmacies.

Yesterday’s devotional from The Upper Room Disciplines, asked that we read Psalm 118: 1-2. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” From the devotional are these words, “To be steadfast means to be firm in belief or in place. A tall order, to be sure, but certainly one that describes the relationship God offers us. God will always be; God will not desert us or fall short” (pg. 118). Let us be steadfast in our God. These are days when we really need to be reminded that God’s love endures forever, no matter what! 

 

Know your Pastor misses you—each one. Be well, stay safe, and wash your hands!

  

 
 
Sunday, 3/29/2020:  Announcement
New Facebook Page for the Prairie Lakes Parish
We invite you to like a new Facebook page for the Prairie Lakes Parish - found at Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook   

The Prairie Lakes Parish is our three-point charge here in South Central MN consisting of Blooming Grove UMC, Janesville UMC, and Waterville EUMC - all served by Pastor Kathy King. Our parish Facebook page was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic and our new world of social distancing.  We hope that it will be a helpful way in which to remain connected with one another.  It will house posts that involve all three churches of the parish, including such things as messages from Pastor Kathy, Wednesday Lenten reflections, and live-streamed Sunday morning worship services. 

Each of our three churches will continue to support their own individual Facebook pages as well - sharing news, events, and stories specific to their individual congregations. Here at our BGUMC page, we will also re-post messages and live-streamed worship services as posted by Pastor Kathy on the Prairie Lakes Parish Facebook page.
 
 
 
Sunday, 3/29/2020 - 10:00 A.M. - "Facebook Live" Morning Worship with Pastor Kathy King
Link to our BGUMC Facebook page below for our second "Facebook Live" Prairie Lakes Parish worship.  
 
 
 
Wednesday, 3/25/2020:  Mid-Week Lenten Message from Pastor Kathy King

Link to our BGUMC Facebook page below for Pastor Kathy King's mid-week Lenten message for our Prairie Lakes Parish.  

BGUMC Facebook

 
 
 
Tuesday, 3/24/2020:  Announcement 
MN UMC Bishop to Extend Suspension of In-Person Worship and Meetings
After much consultation, prayer, processing of data, and seeking to comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and our three state governments (MN, SD, ND), Bishop Ough is extending his earlier request and now asks that all our congregations suspend in-person worship until at least May 10th, in compliance with the CDC's eight-week ban on gatherings of 50 people or more and the closure of schools and many public places in the Dakotas-Minnesota Area.  He will continue to monitor new data and directives, or relaxed restrictions, and update or modify his request as appropriate.  He also urges the postponement or cancellation of all non-essential, in-person small group meetings or gatherings in our church buildings during this timeframe.  We invite you to read the Bishop's full announcement, as well as his words of hope and encouragement in the two links below, both found on www.minnesotaumc.org
   
 
 
 
Tuesday, 3/24/2020:  Weekly Email Check-in from Pastor Kathy King
 
Hello faith family!

 

I will limit my emails to you to once a week to reduce filling your mailboxes. Please know your Pastor misses you and prays you are well.  This week’s continued prayer list includes a few additions. Please take time to lift these people in prayer. Prayer focus:

  • Healthcare workers 
  • Those working in the essential fields. 
  • Persons with health concerns
  • Our expectant mothers and their families
  • Persons in the military
  • School employees and administration working to provide meals to students
  • Our first responders - firemen and women - and police officers
  • People working in service industries like truckers, grocery store workers, and persons working in pharmacies.
  • Families facing the uncertainty of unemployment or unpaid furlough

We hear each day of the increasing number of coronavirus victims. I pray you are practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible.  We will continue to offer Sunday morning worship and midweek Lenten reflections through the facebook pages of the three churches in our Prairie Lakes Parish.

 

Metrics are read by checking our posted videos on Facebook and counting how many watched the video for a certain length of time. On Sunday, we had over 600 “hits” with 159 watching the video for the required length of time. If we consider splitting it three ways, that’s 53 for each church in the Prairie Lakes Parish!


This week’s Lenten focus is “Give” from Adam Hamilton’s series “The Walk”.

 

Thank you for your continued support of your church. Our mailing addresses are: 

  • Blooming Grove UMC:  PO Box 171, Medford, MN   55049-0171.
  • Janesville UMC, 401 N. West Street, Janesville, MN 56048
  • For those who do not have access to online giving in Waterville, the WEUMC address is: 319 East Main Street, Waterville, MN 56096

My prayers include each of you. Be well and stay safe!

 
  
 
Sunday, 3/22/2020 - 10:00 A.M.:  "Facebook Live" Morning Worship with Pastor Kathy King
Link to our BGUMC Facebook page below for our first ever "Facebook Live" Prairie Lakes Parish worship - led by Pastor Kathy King - speaking from the Janesville UMC Sanctuary. 
 
 
 
Saturday, 3/21/2020:  A Video of Calm
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want ...  He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."  Psalm 23.  (Click on Link for a moment of March 21st quiet waters from Kaplan's Woods in Owatonna.)
 
 
 
Friday, 3/20/2020:  Weekly Email Check-In from Pastor Kathy King

 

Faith family,

 

This morning’s devotional from The Upper Room Disciplines, encouraged me to read John 9: 1-25. It is the story of the blind man whose sight was restored after Jesus’ saliva and dust were applied to his eyes. From this Scripture, our infamous hymn, “Amazing Grace” was born and within the lyrics are the words, “I once was blind, but now I see; was lost but now am found.” As a part of our worship time this morning, Jerry and I listened to Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone”. I hope you are taking moments to be in personal worship. 

 

Our Lenten series “The Walk” (Adam Hamilton) told us that worship can be (and should be) both corporate and personal. Remember the fist on one hand and the open handed fingers of the other and how they can encourage us to hold one another close and to pray at least five times a day (waking, breakfast, lunch, and dinner and bedtime). Let us hold one another close in prayer during these times, especially those working in the medical field and those requiring medical care.


Please, if you are having an especially difficult day, reach out to me. Text, Messenger, telephone—I will hold you up in my prayers. 

 

I admit, I am reaching out of my comfort zone in posting videos. This Sunday, I will begin to offer messages through Facebook Live. I know this leaves out many who do not have access or choose not to use Facebook but it is a way to be with those who do. I will begin at 10:00 a.m. from our JUMC sanctuary.   You can find us at the link to Janesville's Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/umcdisciples/?hc_location=ufi.  Next Sunday, I will do the same from the Waterville sanctuary; the next—Blooming Grove. Each will be from that congregation’s Facebook link. So, if you “do” Facebook, be sure to “Like” your sister congregation’s Facebook pages. And, pray. Your Pastor is somewhat technology literate but there are so many things dependent on the Internet. 


I leave you with this prayer for your day: Come to us Lord Jesus, and restore our sight. Reveal to us who you are. Grant us open hearts to reach out in your love in ways that you would have us connect. Give the doctors helping Darla and Del wisdom and compassion. Hold those who work in health care in the safety of your grace as they courageously give their time and care to so many. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 3/17/2020:  Prairie Lakes Parish & BGUMC Response to COVID-19 - Message #2

 

Church family of the Prairie Lakes Parish,

 

Our Lenten services and worship services are canceled through the end of March to comply with the CDC and the recommendations of our Minnesota United Methodist Bishop (Bruce Ough). This places a real burden on our church financial teams who rely on our weekly giving to support our staff, our buildings, and our United Methodist connection-based giving. Waterville EUMC has online giving on their website. For now, Blooming Grove UMC and Janesville UMC members and friends can mail offerings to the church addresses listed below. Mail will be monitored. We would like to consider online giving access for BGUMC and JUMC soon. 

  • Blooming Grove UMC:  Post Office Box 171, Medford MN 55049-0171
  • Janesville UMC:  401 N. West Street, Janesville, MN 56048
  • For those who do not have access to online giving for Waterville EUMC: 319 East Main Street, Waterville, MN 56096

I am discovering ways to use technology to share online videos of messages with you. I posted a short clip to the Waterville Evangelical UMC Facebook page for my initial attempt. I will be doing more. Each week I will be in one of our three buildings to create my weekly reflections. I say buildings because for now, we are the church in our homes. If you have comments, please call, email, or text me. I may not have the know-how or the energy to do everything but I promise to consider all of your requests.

 

I know we have people who do not have a computer or access to video messages. Let’s work to make a list of those people.  We can reach out to them via telephone to let them know we are thinking of them and available to help in ways we can. Send me an email with the names on your heart.

 

I’ve had prayer requests for specific groups on the front lines, as well as others, including the following:    

  • Healthcare workers
  • Persons with health concerns 
  • Incarcerated men, women, and their families who will not be allowed to visit
  • Nursing homes and care facilities on lockdown
  • Persons in the military
  • School employees and administration working to provide meals to students
  • Our first responders - firemen and women and police officers
  • Persons working in service industries such as grocery stores and pharmacies 

 Know that your church leaders are working to determine the best way to be the church in these days. We are called to be disciples. Period. There were no conditions listed. Jesus sent his disciples out telling them not to worry about clothing or places to stay. Matthew 25-27: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

 

An update will be posted on our church Facebook pages today regarding worship and meetings. I am always available by phone, text, or email. 

 

Please be safe.

 

 

Sunday, 3/15/2020:  Weekly Email Check-In from Pastor Kathy King

Hello loved ones,

As I looked out my window this morning, I felt the warmth of the sun that God blesses all with in this part of Minnesota today. I admit, it feels like I’m playing hooky today! I should be in the pulpit baptizing Lillian Budahan—we were so excited to welcome new members in Waterville this morning. But, our world is living through a time of pandemic. Most of us are feeling a lot of anxiety. Some of us are doubting the media and thinking the fear is blowing things out of proportion. Some of us are being cautious because we live with or regularly are with family members who live with health issues. However you feel today, I hope you can rely on our Creator for strength in this time. 

 

Our God is an amazing God. Our God is a good and faithful God who gifts some with incredible intelligence and compassion. Those amazing people are working around the clock to create tests, vaccines, and treatments that will combat the coronavirus and return our lives to our normal. For now, God is using our medical community to help us understand the seriousness of the times we are living in. If you are wondering why?, so am I. But we are called to faithfulness in all times. 

 

Our Lenten service last Wednesday called us to “the importance of listening and paying attention”. I share with you Adam Hamilton’s use of 2 Timothy 3: 14-17 for this week’s focus on Study but I use The Message version:  "But don't let it faze you.  Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers-why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother's milk!  There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another - showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way.  Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us."

 

As we live through the days to come, let us stick with what we have learned and what we believe.  Let us trust the integrity and love of Christ - our most important Teacher.  Let these days be days that begin with a Scripture reading and prayer.  Pray for your family, pray for your brothers and sisters in the church, n our community of fatih, and in our larger communities - pray for our world!

 

I am available to you always!  My phone number is 507-382-2483.  My email is kking5@hickorytech.net .  I text.  If you are home with a computer check in on church websites or Facebook posts.  I you need something but are unable to go out, let me know.  I will work with others to see that you get what you need.  These times call for us to play "May-day" games (sit it on the step, ring the doorbell, and leave) but we can still help and rely on one another.  Each week we will hav updates regarding events and services.  If this becomes a lengthy time of being apart, I will teach this "old dog" to do Facebook live messages.  

 

If you know of church members who do not have social media or computers, call them so we can keep everyone updated.  And know, your Pastor is praying for each one of you.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Saturday, 3/14/2020:  Prairie Lakes Parish & BGUMC Response to COVID-19 - Message #1

 

Dear Friends, 

Churches and other groups that hold public gatherings have been talking, praying, and seeking guidance on how best to love our God and our neighbors during the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  These are difficult days that require difficult decisions.   

 

Yesterday, we received updated information from several sources regarding strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Based on this information, and after prayer and discussion with leaders in all three churches of the Prairie Lakes Parish, we have made the following decisions for our three-point charge:    

·       We will evaluate group gatherings on a day-by-day and event-by-event basis.  Our Prairie Lakes Parish team will talk weekly and keep our community updated via Facebook, church websites, email, and calling trees.

·       This weekend’s confirmation event has been cancelled.  

·       This Sunday, March 15th, there will be no morning worship or Sunday School.  

·       On Tuesday, we will re-evaluate the situation and communicate a decision regarding the Wednesday, March 18th Lenten Service, to be hosted by BGUMC. 

·       The Celebration of Confirmation will be postponed until the fall.

·       If a pastoral need arises, please contact Pastor Kathy directly.  Also, if you need assistance with such things as grocery shopping, etc., let Pastor Kathy know and we will match you with someone who might be able to fill that need.  

 

Our decisions were made based on the information and advice released on March 13th from the National Center for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church https://www.minnesotaumc.org/covid-19-preparedness .  These decisions have not been made lightly.  Our main concern is for the health and safety of our families, co-workers, and others with whom we have contact, and especially those most vulnerable among us with underlying health issues.  Please note that a number of other United Methodist Churches in Minnesota are making these same decisions - some canceling all public events, including Sunday Worship, until further notice.  

 

I can’t tell you how it saddens me that we are living in the time of a pandemic, BUT we have a faithful God who cares for us, who has given us minds to think, and wisdom to follow the recommendations of those who are working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  Let us pray for those who are ill, for the medical teams caring for the infected, for those working to contain the virus, and for those policy-makers who are determining response protocols.  

 

Even though we may not be able to gather for in-person worship, prayer, study or fellowship, we can continue those practices from wherever we find ourselves.  We are a community and we are here for one another.  Check in on one another.  Pray for one another.  And continue to serve one another and the world around us.  I trust we will be back together soon.

 

Please contact me, or a member of your PPRC, if you have questions or concerns.

 

In Christ - Pastor Kathy King              

Cell:  507-382-2483      

Email:  kking5@hickorytech.net