Weekly Update

Weekly Update for June 9, 2021









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June 9, 2021

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

Starting Sunday: Fellowship LITE

Reminder on New CDC Guidance

Mask Kindness Reminder

Meet Brenda Ten Cate

2021 Graduates

Annual Conference 2021

Mission U

Study and Fellowship Opportunities

Where Love Lives

Starting this Sunday – Fellowship LITE!

In Morris Hall following worship
 

Things are beginning to feel more and more “normal” at Trinity on Sunday mornings, and this Sunday, June 13, we get to take the next step forward!  Please join us following worship (approximately 11 AM) in Morris Hall for a time of greeting one another, chatting, sharing stories, and just catching up.  It will be such a joy to resume this meaningful weekly time of in-person fellowship!

If you’re wondering why we’re calling it “LITE”, it is because we aren’t yet to a point where we can safely serve refreshments such as coffee and cookies, so please be aware there will be no food or drink provided just yet.  We look forward to the day when that too can resume – but yes, in the meantime, it really CAN be a United Methodist fellowship time even without coffee!  We look forward to seeing you there. 

Reminder: Regarding New CDC Guidance
 
Dear Friends,

Trinity’s Leadership Council has approved a recommendation to more to Phase 2A of our COVID-19 Response Plan.  In light of the decrease in the number of reported cases and the increase in the number of persons who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, we are relaxing some of our safety protocols that have been in place. 

First, let me say thank you for your patience during the time we were not be to gather for in-person worship and for your willingness to follow the protocols that have been in places since we returned to in-person worship.  It was a challenging period of time, and while the masks have been a nuisance and the physical distancing annoying, your compliance enabled us to safely return to in-person worship.
 
Second, for those who have been fully vaccinated (and at least two weeks have passed since your final shot), you will no longer be required to wear mask and we will not require that you sit physically distanced while in worship or meetings.  Please realize that there will be some individuals who choose, or who must, continue to wear masks and/or be physically distanced.  Please respect the decisions that these individuals make and show the love of God as you greet and worship with them.

Third, we are not the Vaccination Police.  You will not be required to show proof of vaccination in order to not wear a mask.  We are operating under the honor system.

We will continue to provide the live-stream and recorded worship services so that if you are not able to be physically present in church, you can still participate in worship.
 
Beginning June 1st, the Church Office will resume regular office hours.  We will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 12 Noon.  We would suggest that you call ahead to make sure that no unforeseen circumstance has caused the office to be closed. 

If you would like to read the other details of our Phase 2A response, you can click here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Pastor Bob

Meet Brenda Ten Cate

Trinity is delighted to welcome our new accompanist, Brenda Ten Cate, to the Trinity staff.  Brenda hails from Minnesota, where she received an associates degree in pre-education from Rochester Community College and a bachelors in music from Concordia College St. Paul.  Her teaching experience includes music academies for children in Rochester, Minnesota and Tucson, Arizona, where she taught piano, clarinet, guitar, and woodwind instruments. 

If you have already gotten to meet and chat with Brenda, you know what an open and kind-hearted person she truly is!  If you haven’t, please take time to introduce yourself before or after worship on Sunday.  We are so blessed she has come to share her talents with us in Sunday worship!

Congratulations Trinity Graduates 2021

Ethan Hunter Akins – Cibola High School

Stephanie Fazz – Masters Degree 
Elementary Education
Grand Canyon University

Jeffrey Morago – Gila Ridge High School

Jillian Morago – Castle Dome Middle School

Alexander Mosqueda – Yuma High School

Andrew Mosqueda – Fourth Avenue Junior High

Jaidyn Munger – Cibola High School

Isabella Olin – Cibola High School

We’re so proud of you all!!

This year, due to continued restrictions placed on in-person gatherings by the COVID-19 pandemic, our Desert Southwest Annual Conference session is scheduled to take place June 11-13, 2021. Rather than being held in person at the Mesa Convention Center, our Annual Conference will again turn to a virtual format. Even if you are not a voting member, you will be able to live-stream the conference to keep up on developments and participate in worship!  Learn more about this year’s conference and live-stream it in June right HERE.

As usual, there are conference-wide giving opportunities in connection with Annual Conference. This year, we are focusing on student hunger.  From Billie K. Fidlin, Director of Outreach & Justice, and Rev. Jamie Booth, ASU Valley Wesley:

“There are students on university campuses across the country who have difficulty securing regular meals during the best of times. In these times of COVID-19, this has become even more of a challenge for many. Students have lost jobs, lost scholarships, have had safe transportation issues. Times are difficult for many in our nation, and some students are facing equally difficult circumstances.

Pre-COVID, the ASU Foodbank was helping about 400 students a semester across seven sites. However, earlier this year, one week saw 200 students signed up for nutrition assistance on the Tempe campus alone. This illustrates the increase in students needing assistance during these most difficult times of pandemic.”

For more information on the conference mission project, including information on how you can contribute, please click HERE.

All are welcome to these virtual Mission u Events!

You can register for all three virtual mission u studies at once for only $50.00

Best deal ever!

If you want to attend only one or two of the studies, each event is $20.

We will also be collecting an offering for missions when you register.

– June 25-26, 2021 – Becoming Peacemakers in a Culture of Violence, Study Leader – Rachel Mosher. 

– July 23-24, 2021 – Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Study Leader – Billie Fidlin with Khalil Rushdan, AZ ACLU

– August 13-14, 2021 – Bearing Witness in the Kin-dom: Living Into the Church’s Moral Witness through Radical Discipleship, Study Leader – Dior DeSormeau

All the studies will begin on a Friday night for a couple of hours of worship and study introduction on zoom. This will be followed by about three hours of study on zoom Saturday morning.

See the links to purchase the study books in the registration link below & see descriptions of each study plus bios of our fabulous study leaders!

Please contact Janette Gann, Dean, for more information
jgann1329@gmail.com
480 980-1329

ALL are welcome! Invite your family & friends!!!!

https://dscumc.org/secure/2021-mission-u-registration/

 
VIRTUAL STUDY AND FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AT TRINITY!!
 

Serendipity Sunday School
Ongoing lessons/conversation via email
Contact the church office to be added to the group!

 
 
Wired Word Bible Study with Pastor Bob
Monday afternoons at 1:00 pm
 
ZOOM LINK:
https://dscumc.zoom.us/j/98645869894?pwd=Vjgvak9YdWlKUlJBQTAwQnFJSzZ1QT09

OR CALL: 877 853 5257
MEETING ID: 986 4586 9894  passcode 3030

 
Koffee With Karen Fellowship
Wednesday mornings at 10:00 am
 
ZOOM LINK:
https://dscumc.zoom.us/j/95302162442?pwd=NjdOc1RwTGI4aGRjdlVwR2pvMVNSUT09

OR CALL: 877 853 5257
MEETING ID: 953 0216 2442  passcode 3030

Thursday Women’s Bible Study

Thursday mornings at 9:30 am
 
ZOOM LINK:
https://dscumc.zoom.us/j/94337635832?pwd=czUvN3RjQVhUMytMMStLckpLWmhOdz09

OR CALL: 877 853 5257
MEETING ID: 943 3763 5832  passcode 3030

NEW TO USING ZOOM?  Please contact the church office for pointers.

 

The church office is now OPEN TO THE PUBLIC on a limited basis.  Mondays through Thursdays, the church office will now be open to the public 9:00 a.m. to noon.  We are also happy to set an appointment if you would like to come in to the office at a different time; please call 928-344-3013 to set up an appointment.

Please submit your
Prayer Requests to
office@TrinityYuma.org
or call 928.344.3013 x303
and leave a message.


Weekly Devotion 1: Words Matter by Pastor Sylvia Harris

Scripture Reading: Genesis 16

         “Words matter.” I have told my children time and time again, “Words matter.” I remember as a child the playground taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Talk about a lie. Words hurt—words scar. Words can tear you down or build you up. But more than that, words without actions turn into hypocrisy that rots the soul.

           Growing up in Western Maryland, I was rooted in The United Methodist Church through strong Evangelical United Brethren family roots. Holiness mixed with justice was something I saw lived out daily by my family. They went on work camps, engaging in direct action to help people hardest hit by everything from systemic poverty to destructive storms. Meanwhile, my grandma exposed me to the writings of strong women, like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, as well as the teachings of various Native American traditions. She had a way of mingling these diverse ways of living in the world with a relationship with Jesus Christ and justice for our neighbors that marked my soul. By her example, my mother taught me to push back on anyone or anything which said I wasn’t able. Whether it was studying engineering or auditioning for the lead in a play, she encouraged me that who I was, was enough. I learned through their words but understood by their lives how to be in the world. 

           Despite their best efforts, it took me time to lean into the truth of who I am. I wore masks and tried out different roles which made sense in the constructs of the world. I filtered myself and only acted from the margins to support those who were marginalized. I believed it was through quiet, subtle means the words of the world would be changed. And then, over time, and probably in another lifetime or two, the world’s actions would catch up to the words. But I started to realize something: without actions, words turn into hypocrisy that rots the soul. And eventually, rotten souls will rot a family, a community, a congregation, and the whole Church. Difference and diversity cannot be just words unless we want to continue to destroy ourselves from the inside out.

            When Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, I remember looking at my three-year-old son and thinking that could be him one day. Then I started thinking, what if he is actually she and I just don’t know it yet? And if that’s the case, what would her life look like? As I looked at my two daughters, a newborn and one-year-old at the time, along with my son, I wondered what their lives would look like if their father were suddenly taken from them? I am not equipped to have conversations about racial injustices and need him, as a black man, to be part of those exchanges. As a white, cisgender, heterosexual woman, the diversity in my family was suddenly so much more than I had previously understood. I want to raise my children like my mom and grandma, but who the world sees when they look at my children is nothing like who they see when they look at me. The lessons and conversations my husband and I must have with them are nothing like the lessons and conversations from my childhood. And the reason for that, 57 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is because difference and diversity have been just words. A law does not change the heart.

           Unfortunately, for most of us, it takes a personal experience like I’ve talked about for the words of change to take root, so we begin to act. We are so busy doing our own thing, living our own lives, we fail to understand the web of life and how we affect others. So many people don’t change their views on the full inclusion of all people in the Church’s life until they know someone denied their full humanity in the body of Christ. I can’t leave who I am (married, white, heterosexual, cisgender female, and mother) outside the Church’s walls any more than anyone else can leave their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, marital or parental status. We identify people with so many different constructs, using our words to make categories of worthiness and unworthiness in the eyes of humanity. But our God sees us in truth and loves us in light.

           The story of the slave-girl in Genesis is one of namelessness by humanity. During her lifetime, society’s constructs left her without a name, only to be referred to by her worldly, social status. At least, that is how the other characters in her story reference her. As Sarai and Abram approach the lack of an heir in their lives, they look to surrogacy. It was not a new concept for the ancient near east. So, these two pillars of the faith took it upon themselves to engage in a normalized practice by using their property, an Egyptian slave-girl, to secure an heir. Never in the account of her life do Abraham or Sarah refer to this girl by name. It is only from the narrator and the angel of the Lord we learn her name: Hagar. 

           We overlook humanity, classifying people by the various statuses and labels we’ve constructed for categorizing purposes. We fail to see one another as people, we fail to hear one another as worthy, we fail to understand one another as children of God. Because we are so busy using our words, we fail to act. We fail to do the work of justice. The justice work I saw as a child was the work of physical labor to restore people’s basic needs. The justice work for today is about actions for equity. We have given words, saying all people are worthy and welcome here; open hearts, open minds, open doors. And yet, we ignore where minds are only open to what is already known, hearts are fearful of something different, and doors are left propped open, ready to slam shut at a moment’s notice. If we want difference and diversity to be more than words, we need to address what keeps us masked as false versions of ourselves. If our Church is going to live authentically in the 21st century, we need to be honest about whether or not we will be a home for all.

           I’ve found myself reflecting on how Sarai and Abram reacted to Hagar taking it upon herself to have agency. Instead of engaging with his now second-wife, Abram tells Sarai, “Your slave-girl is in your power; do with her as you please.” (Genesis 16:6a) Abram effectively demotes Hagar’s status, rejecting her as a wife and returning her to a slave. Instead of realizing Hagar was a woman in her own right, “Sarai dealt harshly with her” (6:6b) While what they had started, assuming Hagar as a wife for Abram (16:3b), they rejected almost immediately. Giving someone equal status in words only fails to ensure they are accepted, respected, and sustained in the fullness of their new place among humanity. The unequal status and animosity it bred against Hagar results in her and her child, Ishmael, being kicked out of the family altogether. Failure to make lasting changes born of words and not embodied in actions makes for a broken human family.

           If we seek to be where love lives and create a fully inclusive church, we need to look to her interactions with the Lord. We can only speculate on the reasons the Lord told her to return to her abusers. Perhaps at that time, the only way to ensure their survival was for Hagar to return to the people she knew to give birth to her son. The exchange between the angel of the Lord and Hagar tells us how the Church needs to act for difference and diversity. First, Hagar is called by name. She is not an issue or a policy concern; she is a person seen and named. Our marginalized siblings have names, and we need to embrace them as named children of God. Secondly, Hagar, oppressed by sexism (abused by Sarai and Abraham for her womb), classism (a slave), and racism (a foreigner from Egypt), gives God a name that lets us know God sees her: El-roi. The God who sees Hagar in her oppressed states sees all those people living lives in the margins. Seeing isn’t just a word; seeing is an action. Difference and diversity are not just words.

           Because of how I was raised, I thought I knew about justice and mercy. I read diverse authors and engaged in active works of compassion for people in poverty. I was encouraged to pursue my dreams with a life balanced in care for others. But it wasn’t until I realized in a personal way how oppression poses a threat to my family that difference and diversity became more than just words. I confess I fail to love like Jesus. I pray we can, as a Church, recognize the truth of our family beyond the ones who share our name. We can pass legislation, enacting equity for all persons in ordination and the life of the Church. But unless we go beyond legalities, we will only be using words for diversity and difference. Much like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only changed the legalities around racial justice, we will only change legalities while encouraging micro-aggressions and unconscious biases. We will be giving false promises to our LGBTQ+ siblings while they experience ongoing abuses and denial of their fullness in Christ.

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