When Carl and I first became parents, I had life pretty well scheduled. My son’s personality was a predictable one – I could read the signs of illness. I could tell when something was wrong by the sound of his cry. I could usually predict when he would finally go to sleep and when he would likely wake up. Life had surprises, but for the most part, it was good.

Then my daughter was born, and all the rules changed. The only thing predictable about her was that she would be unpredictable! My nice, orderly world suddenly got very complicated. The good news is that I was able to find a way to navigate all that chaos by claiming a series of “new normals.” As I got older, I learned that life is actually composed of seasons: navigating chaos, changing & growing, re-ordering.

As I write this newsletter article, we are in “social distancing” but not yet “self-sheltering.” Covid-19 has been birthed among us. “Normal” is now just a setting on your washer and a city in Illinois. The life we once knew will never be “normal” for us again. Our culture and our church have been thrown into a chaos from which we will never totally return. But the good news is that where we will eventually end up is simply a different place.

The newsletter this month reflects these things. There is a lot of information about how to stay connected, how to give, how to navigate the changes in the way we function as “Ames First UMC.” It may also be possible that by the time we publish and mail this newsletter, things will have changed again. Yep – we are living in the moment for sure!

Such is the way of living in a season of chaos – it is an “in the moment” way of life. But I am confident that we will navigate it together, and that we will learn a whole lot of new things. Not only do we have each other, we have a God who will never lose us or let us go. That is one of the unshakable truths of our faith. If you have any concerns or needs, or want to be added to our email list, or want to know how to
become a part of a group in this new, virtual world, call the office. We are all learning as we go, and we will share what we learn.

In the meantime, remember two things:
1. God did not send the Covid-19 virus to punish people. It is simply a reality of being a finite, mortal being on this earth. God’s love for you has not changed one iota, and never will!
2. Hear this promise from Paul’s Letter to the Roman Church, and to us: “We know that ALL things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose.”
(Romans 8:28). Even in the midst of pain and suffering, God is there, working to redeem, to reconcile, to heal. Look for God’s presence and kingdom opportunities to join in God’s work,
especially in light of the chaos and suffering that surrounds us. At the very least, we have the opportunity to lift people into prayer, and to shower even those we do not know with love and caring, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Lastly, please continue to pray for our leadership and staff, as we help situate our church for the next season of changing order and growth.

Continue to give as best you are able, so that we can pay our bills, care for our staff and members, and reach out into the Ames community. We are not sure what things will look like, but we can be assured that God’s got this! We can, and will, work our way through this chaotic season. We know this because, ultimately, the Church belongs to Jesus Christ. And it is our privilege to serve Him through it!

See you “on-line” in worship!
Yours for the Journey,
Pastor Kerrin