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Letter from Pastor Kim – March 18

Dear Friends of CUMC,

It sure does feel lonely when we are not meeting! I believe I share the sentiments of many of you when I say that we are missing one another greatly. With that said, I think we are not necessarily breaking apart but learning to connect in new ways. I will do the best I can to try to communicate with you through both our website and Facebook page. I also encourage you to communicate with one another as well, especially since Facebook can be interactive with comments posted. If you get a chance, try to bring some of our other members up to speed as well, in terms of how to utilize the Internet.

A few things: First, please adhere to the regulations that have been put in place by our government and our United Methodist denomination. This leads me to an update from our Bishop. The mandate to not gather in our sanctuary has been expanded to April 5. Again, these dates can change, but at least for now, that is the latest directive. We will continue to live stream our service through YouTube (visit our church’s page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBvpSdgU3Zu8qmcfhAZ6oWg). Unfortunately, what this means is that the date for our Easter Cantata has also been postponed for now. I’ve spoken with our music director, Enrique Haneine, and we will still try to showcase this beautiful music at some later point. In addition, all our meetings and small group studies are temporarily postponed until further notice.

Second thing: I will try to write a daily devotional piece that can be read each day as a way of offering the hope of Christ during this difficult time. I am also looking into having either online prayer or Bible studies through a service called Zoom that provides videoconferencing. Stay tuned for more information. Another area I want to remain active in is reaching out to the most vulnerable in our church and community. We can do this by coming up with a group of people who would be willing to touch base with some of our older members — to call them and see if they need anything, such as medicine or groceries. If you are interested in helping, either by calling or by delivering basic needs, please let me know.

Third, our church building: I am really encouraging people not to come to the building, but rather worship from home. I know our congregation, and I think we had close to 20 that came last week. According to the President’s recommendations, we should not be meeting in groups larger than 10 for at least the following two weeks. So please, unless asked to lead parts of our service, do your best to stay home — not just for your sake but especially for those who are most vulnerable.Finally, you can reach out to me if you need anything. In the meantime, keep praying for one another and this situation!

A servant of Christ,

Pastor Kim

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Your rod and your staff, they comfort me! (Psalm 23)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Context is everything. You can be a millionaire who works in New York City, with a summer home in the Hamptons. Your plan is to work from that home with stockpiled food and supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. From this context, you can quote Apostle Paul about praying and having the peace of God. “OR” you can be in Paul’s situation, writing from prison, uncertain what the future holds, and contemplating whether he will live or die… Metaphorically, we too, may feel like we are in prison (quarantined), uncertain what the future will look like, and contemplating mortality within and around our community.

But as followers of Christ, our perspective and hope should be different from that of a society that is gripped by fear and anxiety. And what is that hope? It is that, “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This means that regardless of how this situation plays out, God WILL WORK GOOD in and through us, even when times are bad. Financial losses, a compromised quality of life, sickness, and even death do not get the last word. God will bring hope, healing, and life out of fear, sickness, and even death. Another way of saying this is that no matter what happens, God is in control of my life and God’s plans for me are always good and redemptive! Even though I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I fear no evil. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me! (Psalm 23)

Perhaps the greatest example for me of Christ-like living was my grandmother. Despite growing up as a single mother of four children during the Korean War, she always had a peace and joy that emanated from her being. She would live with our family and I would share a bedroom with her during the summers. I found it intriguing that she turned my closet into a prayer space and would go in there for hours at a time, praying to God. Sometimes her prayers would be quiet, sometimes more urgent. I would hear laughter and at other times weeping. Even though I was young, I remember making the connection that her peace and joy were inseparable from her praying.

There are many practical steps we need to take to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Jesus says be as cunning as serpents but as wise as doves. We need to take smart steps like social distancing and proper hygiene. But as people of faith, we are also called to combat our fears with prayer and trust. We cast all our cares upon Jesus, for He cares for us. In the end, we trust that our lives are always in the palms of our Heavenly Father, who loves us more than we can ever imagine! Friends, may your fears be calmed and may your faith arise. Almighty God is with us and will work all things for good!

Shalom,                                  

Pastor  Kim

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Note From the Pastor

Since our family moved to Jackson Heights and I started serving as lead pastor from July of 2019, I feel extremely blessed and proud to call Community Church my home. Uprooting my family after living eight years on the mission field (Kazakhstan) is not an easy transition, yet the people in this church have been nothing but kind and supportive to our family from the moment we arrived. I truly feel the love of Christ in this tight-knit, multiracial community. This church has also strengthened my faith through their sincere desire to grow in Christ and their passionate expression of faith in worship. While it may sound unusual that I am speaking about how the congregation strengthens me and not the other way around, I share this with you as a testimony to God’s love and presence in our midst. In the ways in which this community has been a blessing to my family, my hope is that you too, will have that same experience. If you are seeking both to grow in your faith and to find a loving community, I extend hospitality on behalf of this church. May the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you!

Sincerely
Pastor Kim

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