We did not have services on January 3. We are pleased that we were able to have worship again yesterday, January 10.
GOODBYE 2020, WELCOME 2021!
Christmas has come and gone. Praying the Lord brought you some good memories
and blessings this holiday season. That being said, there is much to reflect on
about the year 2020. As is the case, each of us has different memories and
thoughts about the year that has just ended. Clearly this year had elements to
it unlike any other year whether you are a young person or someone who has
already been blessed with many years on this earth. We experienced things this
year unlike any other year. 2020 started like most had in January. We had some
snow off and on last year but if anything, we began the year as a nation in a
pretty good place. Unemployment across all ages and races was at all-time lows.
Most of us were simply dealing with the normal things that we always do. Here
at the Cerro Gordo Church of the Brethren, you were dealing with what to do
after Tim and Betty Sue returned to Pennsylvania. The Cerro Gordo High School
and Jr. High was still getting settled into their new and improved buildings.
We were dealing with our own personal ups and downs, just like always. January
pretty much came and went as usual.
February arrived and during the course of that month there began to be reports
of a potentially dangerous virus that was found in parts of China. It was
something health leaders were keeping an eye on, but the belief still was, or
maybe the hope was, it would not really affect us.
March. At first in February and March flights between the US and China were
stopped, other than Americans being allowed to come home. Then not long after
that flights from Europe to the United States were stopped. The corona virus
was spreading and, in an attempt, to stop it in the America, flights leaving
the United States and returning from many regions of the world were stopped.
happened. States, especially those with large cities in them, started seeing
cases of the corona virus increase, as well as hospitalizations and deaths
attributed to the virus. Nationwide limits were imposed during this time. If
you recall it was called “15 days to stop the spread”. We obviously know now
the 15 days to stop the spread did not. Restrictions were somewhat lifted in
some states while other states began taking restrictions to higher levels.
Illinois has been one of those states that imposed more and more restrictions
during the spring. Those of us with loved
ones in retirement or nursing facilities, as well as hospitals, were not
allowed to see or be with our family members, even for a brief face-to-face
clearly legitimate reason for this. It had become clear the oldest and those
with health issues were and are the most vulnerable. During all of this, in May
a black man died during the course of an arrest that then sparked marches and
vandalism all across this country. That continued off and on through much of
the summer. Some of the other changes that happened to everyday life during
this time was schools quit having students attend across the country for the
remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Movie theatres closed, malls closed,
restaurants closed, sporting events were cancelled. In other words, grocery
stores and gas stations were about the only businesses allows to remain open
during most of the spring. Even doctors and dentists did not see patients for
much of the spring in a lot of the states in America. Finally, by summer some of
the restrictions were eased. In much of the country, in more limited ways, many
businesses were allowed to resume. Health issues of all kinds just did not stop
because of the corona virus. Accidents still happened. Shootings, fires. In fact,
some things have gotten worse because of this virus. Alcoholism, drug abuse,
domestic violence and suicide have all increased during the corona virus, as
well as unemployment. In many ways I hate to remind everyone of all of what
2020 represented, at least all the negative aspects.
touch on a couple more things that were noteworthy, there was an election that
took place in different ways than ever before. We celebrated birthdays,
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Years Day as a nation much
differently as well. Not everything was bad despite many of the negative things
shared. Families found new ways to keep in touch with one another. Our church chose to do services on Facebook
that helped those unable to attend in person to keep up with their congregation.
We saw babies welcomed into this world. There were marriages that took place.
Under challenging circumstances, we as the church and we as a nation continue
We, as God’s
people, need to continue to pray this nightmare and tragedy of coronavirus will
soon end. There have been and there always will be difficult and challenging
times in life. There is a saying that goes something like this. “Tough times do
not last, tough people do.” God is calling us to continue to believe. God sees
everything that has happened in the past and he sees what is going on today.
The curse creation inherited when Adam and Eve ate the fruit they should not
have is still in effect and will be until God says enough is enough. Never
forget God loves you and knows what you are going through. God’s ultimate goal
is for you and me to spend eternity with him. But we first go through the ups
and downs this life provides before that day comes. Many of us have said
goodbye to loved ones this year as they have gone ahead of to be with the Lord.
The verses we read this morning to begin with tells that story. I pray we all
humbly agree with what Paul was saying to the church in Philippi.
this morning, I hope each one of us takes to heart what Paul said in verses 13
and 14. As we leave behind 2020 and begin 2021, I pray we hold fast to these
words and this message. “But one thing I do—Forgetting what is behind and
straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for
which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Year to each of you. God has great things in store for us. Just grab hold and
believe. God loves you! Embrace the moment.
Sundays: Sunday School 9:00; Worship 10: Please social distance and wear masks. We continue carrying our worship on facebook live. We are grateful that it reaches many people in and beyond our congregation.
January 13 New and old board members meet. Executive
Committee 6:15; commissions 7:00; board 7:30
Donation Box: Utilities
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Thank you to all who helped with the candy sales! It was very successful! At last
count, we brought in $1138. A special thanks goes out to Robin Shively for all
his help with the purchase of candy supplies!
Offering envelopes are by the copier if you
would like a box for the year.
It is time for Messenger renewals or
new subscriptions. Messenger is our denominational magazine and helps us
keep up with what is going on across our country and the world in the Church of
the Brethren. Included are also Bible studies and other thoughtful articles. If
you do not currently subscribe and would like to, let Carol know by the end of
January. If you currently subscribe, you need to do nothing to continue. The
cost is $14.50 annually for 10 issues. This goes through the church, so your
subscription money needs to be given to the church.
To keep up on
Church of the Brethren news:
www.brethren.org/news Sign up for
Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link)
Keep in Your Prayers
Carol & Mike
Seidenstricker; Brittany Wright; Sonna Hall; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna
Gentry Thompson; Arnold & Marlene Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline
Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson;
Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert
Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe;
Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus
crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 340,000+
people who have died from COVID-19; all who are ill with the virus; the
unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of the wildfires and
hurricanes; District of IL/WI; nursing home residents
Other Services and their families
Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Several Nigerian EYN (Church of the Brethren Nigeria) church buildings have been burned over the Christmas holidays, 12 people killed, and others
kidnapped. Some of these church buildings had been rebuilt as recently as 3
years ago. Pray for the Nigerian people as they deal with these tragedies.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with
others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.