Bethlehem United Methodist Church
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Mission Statement: To give of ourselves so others may know Jesus Christ.




Dear Bethlehem Friends,

     I read of a young couple who had been on a 25-day wilderness raft trip, totally out of touch. Upon their return, they found themselves in the throes of our current pandemic. They were quoted to say, “The world is going crazy.” It’s a kind of Rip Van Winkle experience, where Rip fell asleep for 20 years out in the forest. Upon awakening, he found he had slept through the American Revolution. Things had really changed. You would have to have been sleeping for weeks under a rock, awakening and emerging a few minutes ago to wonder why everything has changed so much in a matter of weeks. These have been challenging days for our community, our nation, and our world. In many ways, it has only begun. Say what you will, this is proving itself to be an historic moment. Nothing like it has happened in our lifetime. And this history is hard to read.

       From the standpoint of Bethlehem Church, we have committed ourselves to follow guidelines provided by the government because it is the right thing to do in caring for each other, protecting one another and those of our surrounding community. We want to keep one another safe.  

       We have tried to do some creative thinking about our ministry and tried to imagine how to do ministry in these unusual circumstances. We can see this as a problem. Or we can see this as an opportunity. We prefer to see it as opportunity. Your staff has met to think through the possibilities.        

        I am reminded how Fred Rogers, who has been memorialized recently with a film and a number of books, how he said:  When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” We want to be the helpers that people want to see.

       I have contacted the local elementary school principal to offer assistance in any way. Local health care facilities have halted visitation. So, we have begun contacting those folks to assure them of our care for them. Kim Piper has been working at that with great energy. We have been learning about how to post worship and other services on-line through our website and Facebook. Sean Garner and Keith Metzel and their team have been working at that. We believe you will see and hear more of that as we move forward.  Today is our first effort. We hope to get better at it. We hope to do some creative thinking about Holy Thursday and Good Friday services through technology. You will hear more of that as Holy Week approaches.

       As all church activities have been cancelled, you need to know that our Easter Egg fundraiser has also been cancelled. Those with pre-paid orders will have their money returned to them. Common Grounds Coffee House is also closed until further notice. We have kept the church open for prayer and encourage you to drop by during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm on weekdays and Sunday from 9 – 12 am. There will be plenty of room to sit very far apart. Some have indicated that prayer in the sanctuary seems helpful to them. Please… please… regularly visit our website at or make friends with us on Facebook. There are regular and helpful updates that are posted in both sites. By all means. Be in touch by phone. Our office is open and running on bare bones, but we are well able to stay more than 6 feet apart.  
(717) 244-1486.  

Better Disciples, More Disciples, Yours in Christs love,

Pastor Roger