West Morris Weekly Archives

December - November - October

December 23, 2020

Worship with West Morris Church this Christmas!
We have THREE unique services you're invited to be part of including an online Family Candlelight Service, an in-person Scripture, Songs & S'Mores around the bonfire at West Park, and an online Candlelight Communion Vigil....

Continue reading the December 23 West Morris Weekly here: https://mailchi.mp/76802a39e9d3/merry-christmas-west-morris-weekly-dec-23

December 17, 2020

Tonight if you look into the heavens, you will see the "Bethlehem Star" - a pairing of Jupiter and Saturn in the skies, forming a visible "mega star". We don't know whether THIS pairing in the skies is what the Magi followed so many years ago following Jesus' birth. But we do know the One we celebrate - the One who moved into the neighborhood - the One whose presence and peace is promised to us - IS the light of the world...

Continue reading the December 17 West Morris Weekly here: https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=281e929170fada1d5d4b8a0ca&id=79304fa4be

December 10, 2020 

But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.... (Phil 4:6)

The needs among us are great and overwhelming at times. But we have a God who is greater that those overwhelming needs. Our God is the Prince of Peace, the Almighty One, and the Great Comforter. And we have a church family who prays for and loves one another....

Continue reading here: https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=281e929170fada1d5d4b8a0ca&id=f9cd9bd90b

December 9, 2020

It is the season of Advent. A season filled with waiting and anticipation. A dark season that feels, at times, like it will never end. And yet, as we light our Advent wreaths each week, the light shines ever brighter. We wait for Emmanuel, the One who is with us, Jesus, the light of the world! Let us remain hopeful and experience God's gift of joy - even in the midst of the darkness!...

Continue reading here: https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=281e929170fada1d5d4b8a0ca&id=c6595df7c6

December 4, 2020

Click here to read the West Morris Neighbor Newsletter

December 2, 2020

Click here to read

 
 

October 29, 2020

 

Good evening West Morris Family,

We worship a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our circumstances, however, especially during this pandemic, do not remain the same.

Yesterday in the West Morris Weekly email, I shared that we would be worshiping together in-person in our building on Sunday, November 1st. However, as the numbers of new COVID cases, positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths in Indiana continue to rise, toppling previous daily highs, the board and I have reconsidered the wisdom in gathering for worship inside. While we long to gather with you in person face-to-face, to sing together, to celebrate communion together, to pray together, and to listen to God's Word together, we also want to be wise and loving to the vulnerable and least of these among us. 

Therefore we have changed our plans for worship this weekend. But take heart - all is not lost! I am very excited to share our new plans with you. Starting this Sunday, West Morris Church will have two worship gatherings each weekend.

We will have an online worship service at 9:30 AM. That service can be accessed in the West Morris FMC facebook group, on our West Morris Church channel on YouTube, on our website, and through our toll-free call-in number (844-756-1591) for anyone with a landline or cell phone.

We will have a second service at 10:30 AM. This Sunday that second service will be a Drive-Thru Communion & Prayer Event anytime between 10:30 and 11:30 AM under the canopy off West Morris and Tremont Streets. We invite you to drive up to the canopy to receive communion and to be prayed over by our pastors. We look forward to greeting, talking, and sharing with each of you in this special one-on-one gathering. (When you come to the drive-thru event, we ask that you please stay in your vehicle, and wear a mask when interacting with the pastors.)

I've attached a poster detailing this weekend's two separate gatherings. You can also download one here to print or share, or learn more on our website. We look forward to seeing you at our 9:30 online service and our 10:30 drive-thru event!

May the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever comfort you in the midst of these constantly changing and shifting days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out via cell/text/email!

Blessings,
Pastor Kristen

 

 

 

 

October 28, 2020

Dear Church Family,

This afternoon's Scripture reading brought me to Deut 26:16-19 where God reminds his people that they are his treasured possession and are to be a holy people to God. How will that happen? God reminds them to obey his decrees and laws and to "carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut 26:16b). This phrase struck me anew today.

God calls for us to obey not just in action, but in our hearts, our thoughts, our desires, our delights, our longings, and our commitments. God cares about more than just what we do - he cares about who we are. Character matters. Character matters to God and should matter to God's people. Character matters because it influences actions. The two cannot be separated. May we be a people to walk in obedience and listen to God in these days. May God's truths be evidenced in and through us as we shine his light in a dark world - a light of holiness, character, and truth!

Growing in character and holiness is a work of the Spirit in our lives, but we must respond as willing participants in that livelong journey. As the Church - the people of God who are called and sent out - we serve, love, minister, encourage, forgive, pray for, and teach one another. Here are important ways to be the Church this week - 

PRAY

  • Jan Leak - recovering from a successful shoulder replacement surgery today

  • John Miller - continuing to recover from his foot amputation; had to return to the hospital clinic today due to a lack of proper healing

  • Margaret Miller - resting and recovering at home after surgery

  • Geri (Lawless) Cullum - recovering from the draining of a large cyst; may require surgery if it doesn't fully heal

  • Karli, Veronica & Mary Long - looking for stable, long-term housing which is very challenging to find in Indianapolis right now; the church is blessed to be able to provide them temporary, safe shelter in the interim

  • Wally & Mary Murray - Wally continues to reside at the Cumberland Trace rehab facility; Mary has extremely limited visiting hours when she can be with Wally due to COVID

  • Shannon Watson - continued health problems that need prayer

  • COVID+ Individuals - while recovery might be short and simple for some people, that certainly isn't the case for all; pray for those who are still recovering 6+ months post-diagnosis, as well as families who have lost loved ones, families who have experienced significant disruption due to COVID/sheltering-in-place, and front-line essential workers who continue to serve in high-stress environments with little rest

  • Prayer request? Submit it online or call/text/email Pastor Kristen (317-464-7360).


SERVE

  • Sunday, Nov 1 - worship with us online or in-person in the building at 10:30 AM (ET) as we have a special All Saint's Day Pre-Election service of prayer and communion. In Scripture, Paul talks about God equipping everyone for works of service to build up the body of Christ. That's why we gather as the body of Christ - to build up and be built up! Learn more here.

  • Serve Tangibly - we need you to be part of our in-person gathering in the building on Sunday. Serve in a variety of ways. Sign-up here. (Please remember, our ability to meet in-person is dependent upon having enough people to help serve, clean, prepare, and greet! Anyone can do this, so thanks for doing your part!)

  • Looking Ahead - we will also be gathering in-person (and online!) in the building on Nov 15 and 29th. On Nov 8 and 22nd, we will gather only online.

  • Advent - help us put together Advent Gift Baskets for our church family as help focus on preparing our hearts for the birth of our Savior. We could use your ideas and/or your manpower to put together and deliver the baskets. Interested? Call/text/email Pastor Kristen (317-464-7360).

 

SHARE

  • Talk about Jesus - Jesus told his disciples (that's us!) to go and make disciples. As you do that, could you benefit from learning and practicing some important "tools" for having spiritual conversations with others about God? If so, you're invited to join our Discipleship Class on Monday nights on Zoom. We started last week (watch last week's video here) but there's still time to be part of the class (register here)!

  • Steward - Learn to "virus proof" your finances and financial documents with a Free Methodist Foundation Webinar. Watch here.

  • Give - Thank you for your continued faithfulness and generosity. You can give God's tithes and offerings online, through the mail (2302 W. Morris St., Indy 46221) or in-person (on Sunday or put it in the locked mailbox by Door #1).


Remember to turn back your clocks on Saturday night, and we look forward to seeing many of you in-person on Sunday. Want to learn more about what's going on and how to get connected? Check out our website at westmorrisfm.org or call/text/email Pastor Kristen (317-464-7360)!

Praying for you,
Pastor Kristen

October 21, 2020

 

Dear West Morris Family,

Have you ever thought about all the ways God used Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, in planting and growing the Church? His impact was unparalleled. In 1 Cor 9, Paul shares his missional strategy, and I think it provides helpful guidelines for us today as we consider the best ways to engage the places we live, work and play:

"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings" (1 Cor 9:19-23).

What does it look like to "become all things to all people" so that we "might save some"? It's an interesting consideration and discussion for sure! Here are a few ways you can do that in the week ahead:


WORSHIP

  • Join us for in-person worship at our church building (2302 W Morris St, Indy) on Sunday, Nov 1 at 10:30 AM. We look forward to gathering in-person, but need your hands-on help. Sign-up to serve here. Not able or ready to worship with us in-person on Nov 1? We will also be broadcasting our service to Facebook Live in the West Morris FMC group (and posting the video to YouTube, our website and the toll-free call-in line after the service).


GROW

  • Learn the Art of Spiritual Conversations on Monday nights from 7-8:15 PM on Zoom. This 8-week discipleship class (aka Sunday School!) begins Oct 26 and runs through Dec 14. Learn more & register for this hands-on class at https://www.westmorrisfm.org/spiritual-conversations.


SERVE

  • West Morris is hiring a part-time temp office worker for 12-15 hrs/wk. Pay will be $10/hr and the position will be at least through the end of the year. Help with the clothing ministry, food pantry, communication, ministry planning, website design, and more. Interested? Contact Pastor Kristen via email/text/cell (317-464-7360).

  • Sign-up to serve at our in-person worship gatherings at the church building. Many hands make light work - thank you for serving Jesus and his church in this way!


GATHER

  • Your Church Board met tonight and decided to move forward with the following schedule for worship in November:

Nov 1 - In-Person Worship indoors at Church Building and Online Streamed Worship on Facebook Live
Nov 8 - Online Worship on Facebook Live only
Nov 15 - In-Person Worship indoors at Church Building and Online Streamed Worship on Facebook Live
Nov 22 - Online Worship on Facebook Live only
Nov 29 - In-Person Worship indoors at Church Building and Online Streamed Worship on Facebook Live

 

Our ability to meet in-person hinges on having enough people willing to serve each week (sign-up here for the Nov 1st service!), everyone's willingness to abide by guidelines and rules (required masks, social distancing, no congregating inside before/after the service, etc), and is subject to potentially changing requirements of the city/county/state.

We had a wonderful time with people ready to serve and follow the guidelines on Sunday, Oct 4 and look forward to gathering safely in future weeks together!

 

Want to know the best way to find out what's happening? Or to submit a prayer request? Or contact Pastor Kristen? Or to give online? Or watch worship videos? Or learn more about something mentioned in the West Morris Weekly emails? Our website is the go-to source to answer your questions and get connected. Check out https://www.westmorrisfm.org/.

God bless you as you faithfully gather as the Church this weekend in and around Indianapolis. Aren't sure where to go? Why not come out to the Marble farm? John and I would love to host you on Sunday night at 6:30 PM for dinner and 7:30 PM for worship!

Pastor Kristen

October 14, 2020

 

Dear Church Family,

Today's narrative lectionary reading (Deut 1:34-40; 2:1-8) is the tragic and sobering tale of Israel's sojourn in the desert. These 40 long years came as a direct result of Israel's disobedience and distrust of God. Even though an entire generation never entered the Promised Land that God desired to give them, God never abandoned his people. We read, "The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything" (Deut 2:7). 

God continues to call us - individually and communally - into the promises of his Kingdom. My prayer is that we would always respond with obedience and trust, always knowing God will be with us. Responding to God's call and Jesus' command to make disciples, here are some important things for you to know:

DISCIPLES GROW

  • Discipleship Class - Learn & practice how to have Spiritual Conversations with anyone, anywhere about God. In this 8-week spiritual formation/discipleship class, we will work through 9 different "arts" of spiritual conversations including praying, noticing, welcoming, facilitating and and sharing. Missing Sunday School or Bible Study? This is a great option. Monday Nights from 7-8:15 PM on Zoom, from Oct 26-Dec 14. Learn more & register at https://www.westmorrisfm.org/spiritual-conversations. (See attachment #1 below)

  • Beauty for Ashes Support Group - Join the support group for survivors of trauma meeting Monday nights at West Morris Church at 6:30 PM. (See attachment #2 below)

  • Free Financial Webinar - Join the Free Methodist Foundation's free online webinar, "Virus Proofing your Estate and Financial Plan" on Sunday, October 18 at 6 PM. Register today!


DISCIPLES PRAY

  • Joanne Butler (known as Jo-Jo) passed away last week at her residence. Please pray for daughter Angela and the rest of the family. We will indeed miss Joanne's positive and encouraging presence at West Morris.

  • Encourage Wally Murray with a note. Due to COVID, his visitors are very limited - even from his wife Mary. But you can send a card to Wally at Cumberland Trace, Room #712, 1925 Reeves Rd, Plainfield IN 46168

  • Pray for Pat Strange who is IU Methodist for Bell's Palsy, and John Miller and Margaret Miller who both continue to heal and recover from surgeries.

  • Pray also for Michelle Bailey's mom Theresa (who lives in Trinidad) who was having chest pains, and for Aman and Nebil's mom who was in a car accident today.


DISCIPLES WORSHIP

  • Sunday, Oct 18 we begin a new series called, "Imagine a Kingdom". We will explore Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of God in Matthew 13. Join us online at 10:30 AM (ET) on Zoom or Facebook Live.

  • Sunday, Oct 25 we will again gather in micro-churches around the city and online. Would you step out in faith and host one? You could invite family and/or friends over. A worship guide will provided to you. If you aren't hosting one, be sure to find one to join. Get more information here.

  • Sunday, Nov 1 we will worship together in-person (and online). We are planning a special election prayer and communion service as we head into election week. (And don't forget to vote!)

  • Advent is coming! The first Sunday of Advent is November 29 which will be here before we know it. Want to be part of the planning team for making our Advent 2020 extra special (albeit unique?!)? We'd love to have your creativity and input. Email Pastor Kristen.


Blessings to you for the remainder of the week. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday. Be sure to register for the Spiritual Conversations Discipleship Class - it's open to anyone and everyone!

Pastor Kristen

P.S. That free washer/dryer pair is still available to anyone who needs it. Who might you know that would be blessed by this?! Email Pastor Kristen.

Attachment #1 - Spiritual Conversations Discipleship Class poster

Attachment #2 - Beauty for Ashes Support Group Flyer

 

October 9, 2020

 

Dear Church Family,

 

Due to developing health concerns and out of an abundance of caution, Saturday's Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off has been cancelled. We look forward to rescheduling it for a later date.

 

Pastor Kristen

 

 

 

October 9, 2020

Dear Church Family,

Today's Scripture reading from the Lectionary includes the familiar lines of Psalm 23. David declares God's goodness as a Shepherd, his presence in the time of trials and difficulty, his provision as a Banquet Preparer & Inviter, and his love which never leaves us. We also know Jesus as the One who declared, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11-18). Just this morning I re-read Psalm 23 in the VOICE Translation and was blessed by its phrasing - I'd encourage you to read it today, and when you find yourself in a challenging, dark place needing reminding of God's goodness and love!

As another week draws to a close, here are some important things you need to know:


COMMUNITY - NOTE: This event has been cancelled!

  • Join us tomorrow (Sat., Oct 10) from 6-9 PM at Pastor Kristen & John Marble's farm for the Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off. The address is 8230 Hayworth Rd in Indianapolis and is just 4.5 miles from 465. We will have food, games, and opportunity to spend time together - inside and outside. We'll have chili, s'mores around the campfire, and even a chance to milk the goat if you wish! (See Attachment #1 for details)

  • We still need some pots of chili for our cook-off competition. Or, bring a side dish or dessert to share.

  • Need directions to the farm? Take the Kentucky Ave/Exit 8 off 465 and head south on Kentucky (towards Mooresville). Take a left onto High School Rd and continue onto Mooresville Rd. Take a sharp left onto Hayworth Rd (immediately after West Newton Elementary School). The farm is on the right approximately 1 mile after turning onto Hayworth.


LEARN & GROW

  • Financial Webinar - Join the Free Methodist Foundation free webinar on Sunday, October 18 at 6 PM on Facebook Live. Learn how to "virus proof" your documents and how to keep your financial planning up to date. Register online at facebook.com/fmffinancialservices/ (click on events tab and look for the Wabash Conference event) or email Tim Burkhart. (For more info, see Attachment #2)

  • Beauty for Ashes Group - join Pastors Dee Franklin and Geri Cullum for a weekly support group for survivors of trauma. The group meetings Monday nights at 6:30 PM at the church. For sign-up & information please contact: Geri Cullum 317.605.1519 or Delores Franklin: 317.702.4864.

  • Daily Scripture Reading - Starting January 2021, we will be following the Narrative Lectionary with our daily Scripture readings and Sunday preaching. This is a different reading plan than the Revised Common Lectionary I've referenced throughout this year. Check out the Narrative Lectionary daily readings here. Or continue reading daily passages from the Revised Common Lectionary here.


PRAY

  • Continue to pray for Margaret Miller and John Miller, both of whom are in the hospital with on-going recovery and complications from their respective surgeries. 

  • Pray too for Garth Banks, Wally and Mary Murray, and Ken Platt.

  • Hear these prayers of Thanksgiving - Our family would like to thank all of you at West Morris for the many acts of support and love shown to us after Marge's passing. We so appreciate the many cards, meals, visits and prayers during this time. It meant so much to us to see so many people brave the Covid threat to pay their respects at the funeral home. We are of course missing her deeply as many of you are also, but we know that she finished the race very well and is now enjoying the eternal rest and joy of being with the Lord that she served here so faithfully. KEN , CHERYL and FAMILY


WORSHIP

  • This week we will be worshiping ONLINE in Zoom and broadcast to Facebook Live at 10:30 AM on Sunday. 

  • Thanks to everyone who helped last week so we could worship together in the building. Special thanks go to John M and Kerri D who have been working tirelessly to coordinate with contractors to get our building cleaned, painted, updated and more. Thanks to the many volunteers who cleaned, prepped, ushered, greeted, and cleaned again. And thanks to our Board and Pastor Brett who developed an extensive COVID Action Plan so we could meet safely in person.


May the One who is faithful and good and the One who "makes me whole again steer [us] off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name" (Ps 23:3). See you in worship on Sunday!

Pastor Kristen

P.S. Need a washer/dryer? Know someone who does? We've had an older working electric washer/dryer set offered to us to give away to anyone who needs it. Interested? Please email or call/text Pastor Kristen (317-464-7360) to make arrangements for delivery.

Attachment #1 - Fall Festival Flyer (NOTE: This event has been cancelled!)

Attachment #2 - FMF Financial Webinar

October 2, 2020

Good morning West Morris Family!

Fall has arrived and the leaves are starting to change. Romans 1:20 declares, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature."  This time of great beauty might be a great way to start a conversation with someone far from God this week, asking them what in nature they've observed that makes them wonder about the presence of a loving God.

There are a lot of details in this email about things you need to know - so thanks for reading!

WORSHIP
Worship Indoors this Sunday - Because of cold & rainy weather on Sunday, we will be moving our planned parking lot service inside the sanctuary. We look forward to worshiping with those of you who can come. Here are some important details for Sunday:

  1. Please stay home if you are sick, have been around others who are sick, are in high risk categories, or are uncomfortable with gathering indoors with others. We will broadcast the service on Facebook Live and welcome you to join in from there.

  2. Masks will be REQUIRED to be worn correctly (over nose & mouth) by ALL at ALL TiMES. Pastor Kristen will preach in a mask and the worship team will sing in masks. Masks will be provided to those who do not have them.

  3. Only the main entrance and canopy doors will be open on Sunday. They will be opened 15 minutes prior to the service. At the close of the service, you will be escorted outside by our ushers. Please enjoy your conversations and socializing outside before and after the service.

  4. Ushers will show you to your seat. Please follow signs and directions for entering and exiting the building and worship space.

  5. Please sit together with your family group only. Thank you for maintaining the chair-spacing in the worship space.

  6. Please maintain proper social distancing from all others; waves, elbow and fist bumps are great ways to greet one another.

  7. The bathrooms by the sanctuary will be open for use. Please limit the bathrooms to one person at a time. After using the bathroom, please wipe down all surfaces with the provided disinfecting wipes.

  8. Ushers will stand at the back of the worship space at the close of the surface to collect your tithes and offering.

  9. We will gather for worship only on Sunday. Nursery, breakfast, coffee service, Sunday School, children's church and van service will not be open. (Although Sunday School classes are highly encouraged to gather online, in people's homes, or elsewhere!) The remainder of the building besides the worship space/foyer/bathrooms will be closed.

  10. Thank you for your grace in following the guidelines! We look forward to gathering in a clean, safe environment for worship and appreciate your cooperation.


PRAY


GROW

  • Book Club - if you are interested in reading the book, I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown, here's your second opportunity! Books are already available to start a book club in mid-October that will meet weekly. Contact Rachel Mohlman at 317-677-2828 or rmohlman@gmail.com. The group will choose the meeting time and format.

  • Women's Retreat - there's still time to make plans to attend the Wabash Women's Retreat at the Wabash Campground. Check out the attached flyer for more info.

  • Beauty to Ashes Group - join the Beauty to Ashes Recovery Group for men and women meeting Monday nights at 6:30 PM. Everyone welcome. Contact Pastor Delores Franklin (317.702.4864) or Geri Cullum (317.605.1519) for more info.

  • Free Methodist Foundation Webinar - the Free Methodist Foundation is offering a free webinar for Wabash on Sunday, October 18 at 6 PM on Facebook. Register here and check out the attachment for more info.


HAVE FUN

  • Wanted: Chili Cooks! Make a pot of chili for our Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, October 10th at the Marble Farm (8230 Hayworth Rd, Indy) from 6-9 PM. A Chili Chef Winner will be selected and prizes will be awarded! 

  • Fall Festival - Come eat some great chili and have fun at the Fall Festival and Chili Cook Off on Saturday, Oct 10 from 6-9 PM at the Marble Farm Everyone's invited - bring a friend. See the flyer for more info.


That's a lot this week! Thanks for reading through it as we WORSHIP, PRAY, GROW and HAVE FUN together! I look forward to seeing some of you in person on Sunday. We still need a few volunteers - sign up here.

Attachment #1 - Women's Retreat

Attachment #2 - Free Methodist Foundation Webinar 

Attachment #3 - Fall Festival & Chili Cook-Off 

November 20, 2020 (Click here to download a PDF of this letter which was emailed to West Morris families)

 

Dear West Morris Church Family,

I greet you in the powerful name of Jesus on this beautiful sunny Friday morning. These past 10 months of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been a difficult, challenging season - but God is still good! I have so missed gathering in-person with you over these months, and long to sit with you over coffee to pray and share together. Coupled with the health pandemic, our country is experiencing economic hardships, political division, racial tensions, and mental health crises. Social distancing, quarantining and stay-at-home orders have resulted in isolation, disconnection and cancellation of so many special activities like graduations, weddings, and reunions. Just this morning, one of our high school daughters was sent home from high school with a 14-day quarantine order, after being in close contact with someone who tested positive. We’ve since had to cancel Thanksgiving dinner, telling our two college daughters and my in-laws who were driving from Montana to not come. I’m sure similar situations have been occurring in your homes as well.

Through all of these difficulties, Jesus has nonetheless been present and guiding his Church. His love and faithfulness have not wavered. His invitation to be his disciple still stands, and his command to make disciples persists. While our church building has been closed, the Church remains alive and active. The Church is the people of God on mission with God - and so we continue to pray, worship, serve, love, grow, and care for one another. The Church looks and operates differently now, but we trust Jesus’ words to Peter, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [or a pandemic!] will not overcome it” (Mt 16:18).

I imagine many of you, like me, are weary of our new normal. We are longing for God to do something new that doesn’t involve limited social gatherings - particularly in regards to in-person worship. Some of you may be wondering why we aren’t worshiping in-person, when we will again, and by what criteria the church leadership board is making decisions. Because communicating with everyone can be challenging in our transitioning print-to-digital culture, I wanted to send this letter in addition to the emails, videos, facebook posts and website updates.

West Morris Church will remain online only for Sunday morning worship through the end of 2020, at least. Since March when we closed the building, your elected church leadership board has weighed several criteria in making these difficult decisions. These criteria include:

  • Data-driven criteria. In order to meet in person, we require that for three consecutive weeks, in both Marion County and Indiana, data must demonstrate decreases in new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

  • Local Schools. We consider what our local schools are doing. IPS, for example, was online only through the end of September, and has again transitioned to online only through the middle of January.

  • Loving Sacrifice. We are committed to tangibly love one another by laying down our preferences for the sake of protecting others - particularly those in vulnerable populations. We never want to be the source of others getting sick.

  • Guidelines from Governor Holcomb, Mayor Hogsett, and Drs. Box and Caine.

  • Guidelines and recommendations of the FMC Bishops and Wabash Superintendent.

  • Prayer and careful discernment.

If you have been monitoring our local COVID situation, you are aware we have far surpassed the daily highs of new cases that we saw in the spring. We currently are seeing between 5000-8500 new cases every day, with daily deaths ranging between 40-80. Hospitalizations are on the rise, the positivity rate exceeds 10% and Indiana is reporting community spread and exponential growth. All Marion County schools for students K-12 have to be online only through January 15, 2021. Even locally among churches that have restarted in-person worship, COVID outbreaks are not uncommon. Comunidad Cristiana recently returned to online only after a widespread outbreak impacted more than 25% of the entire church. Washington FMC had to recently shut down after an outbreak of 20 individuals. In a recent briefing, Dr. Box indicated that Indiana sees a spike every week in COVID cases due to church gatherings.

Considering all of these details, and with much wrestling and prayer, your church leadership board has intentionally desired to err on the side of caution, wisdom, and love for one another, and to therefore remain online. These decisions have not come easily, as we all long to gather together in-person. We recognize that some of  you might have discomfort or difficulty in engaging and worshiping in this new era. Some of you may not know what’s available, or how to access it. I’d like to briefly share how you can engage and stay connected, and how you can seek assistance should you need it. First, here’s how to worship and stay connected with us:

Sunday Morning Worship

  • 9:30 Online Service - the service is available to join by calling toll-free 844-756-1591 with any phone. The call-in number is available any time, day or night to listen to the latest service. The service is also broadcast online (and available anytime afterwards) in four different locations: 

    • Website: westmorrisfm.org

    • YouTube: West Morris Church channel

    • Facebook Page: West Morris Church

    • Facebook Group: West Morris FMC

  • 10:30 In-Depth Service - this interactive service offers opportunities for sharing, dialoguing, interacting, praying and discussing together on Zoom which can be joined from any computer or smartphone. You can also call into Zoom with any phone by dialing 312-626-6799 and entering 323-968-7750 when prompted for a meeting ID.

Monday Morning Coffee with the Pastor - Drop-in conversation and prayer on Zoom with Pastor Kristen between 10-11 AM. Connect with your computer or smartphone, or call in following the directions above.

Wednesday In-Person Prayer Meeting - Worship and pray in-person in our sanctuary on Wednesdays from 11AM-12PM. Door #8 will be open.

 

As we approach Advent and Christmas, we encourage you to join with your church family online. Anyone with a phone can participate in each of our worship services! In the next week, you will be receiving an Advent-in-a-Box kit that will help connect us together as we expectantly wait for Jesus’ birth! These kits have materials to make your own Advent wreath that we will light together each Sunday during our Sunday 9:30 AM service. They also have a daily Advent devotional to keep our minds focused on the Lord, and special weekly gifts to open and enjoy together.

On Christmas Eve, we will also be having two services. A traditional Christmas Eve service will be broadcast online (website, YouTube, Facebook), and available to call into using our toll-free call-in line. And, an evening Christmas Eve bonfire service will be held at West Park where we’ll enjoy scripture, songs and s’mores together!

We recognize that technology may be a challenge for some of you, and that makes our current circumstance extra frustrating, and potentially isolating. Thankfully, we have individuals among our church family that enjoy technology, and would gladly provide you some free and friendly tech assistance and training! Want to learn how to use Zoom? Can’t find the church website? Need help navigating facebook? Call the church office (317-632-8311) and we’ll make arrangements to have someone come out right away to help you.

Finally, we want to stay in touch with you. Our website (westmorrisfm.org) is a great resource for church updates, links to Zoom, Facebook and YouTube, online giving, and a place to submit prayer requests. In addition, each week I send out a “West Morris Weekly” email that gives updates, announcements, and a devotional thought.  If you’re not receiving those weekly updates, please let us know. We can update or add your email address or send you a printed version each week in the mail. Call the church office (317-632-8311) to let us know your preference! 

My prayers are with you and yours - particularly as we enter in this holiday season of Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas. Please know I always welcome your phone calls, text messages, emails, and socially-distanced visits! I appreciate, love and continually pray for each of you. May God continue to shine upon you and yours, and his Church.

In Christ's Love,

Pastor Kristen

November 18, 2020

Dear West Morris Family,

As we come upon Thanksgiving - a holiday that will look for different for many of us this year - we still have much for which to be thankful. This week's West Morris Weekly offers several ways for you to SERVE, numerous opportunities to CONNECT & WORSHIP, and exciting news about STAFF.

SERVE - "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat..." (Mt 25:35a)


CONNECT - "Let us not neglect meeting together..." (Heb 10:25a)

  • Connecting and meeting together in this COVID season must look different, but we're still doing it, and often in new, creative ways! (Did you participate in our communion service last Sunday, led by leaders from 5 different continents? Check it out here.)

  • Coffee with the Pastor - Mondays at 10 AM on Zoom (or phone in...see below)

  • Discipleship Classes - Mondays at 7 PM on Zoom (or phone in...see below)

  • In-Person Prayer in our Sanctuary - Wednesdays at 11 AM

  • TWO different Sunday worship services at 9:30 and 10:30 AM

  • COMING SOON! Swing by the church office next week (T, W & F from 9-12) to pick up your family's Advent-in-a-Box kits designed to help us all celebrate Advent separate, yet together! Help is also needed to help deliver Advent kits to families. Contact Pastor Kristen to help.


WM SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE
Sunday, Nov 22

  • 10:30 AM In-Depth Worship - Zoom (or phone in...see below)


Monday, Nov 23

  • 10-11 AM Coffee with the Pastor - Zoom (or phone in...see below)

  • 7 PM Discipleship Class on "Spiritual Conversations" - Zoom (or phone in...see below)


Tuesday, Nov 24

  • 9AM-12PM - Pick-up your Advent-in-a-Box kit from Church Office (door #1)

  • 9AM-12PM - Thanksgiving Food Boxes distribution from Church Office (door #1)


Wednesday, Nov 25

  • 9AM-12PM - Pick-up your Advent-in-a-Box kit from Church Office (door #1)

  • 9AM-12PM - Thanksgiving Food Boxes distribution from Church Office (door #1)

  • 11AM-12PM Drop-in Prayer - West Morris Church Sanctuary (door #8)


Thursday, Nov 26 - Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, Nov 27

  • 9AM-12PM - Pick-up your Advent-in-a-Box kit from Church Office (door #1)
     

Saturday, Nov 28

  • ALL DAY - Advent-in-a-Box kit delivery


Sunday, Nov 29 - First Sunday of Advent

  • 10:30 AM In-Depth Worship - Zoom (or phone in...see below)


STAFF ANNOUNCEMENT

  • West Morris Church is excited to announce that Sarah Schumske will begin January 1, 2021 as our full-time Next Gen Pastor!

  • Sarah currently lives in New York, and comes from a family who has served the Free Methodist Church for decades. Her grandfather is Bishop Snyder. Her father, Christopher Schumske, currently pastors a church in New York. Her sister, Kayleigh, pastors a church in Pennsylvania (which is the church whose youth group served WM two summers ago!).

  • Sarah will be moving into the parsonage around the first of the year. Please be in prayer for her transition, move and ministry. And watch for forthcoming details to start getting to know her!


May God bless you and give you peace,

Pastor Kristen
westmorrispastor@gmail.com
317-464-7360 

P.S. Here are Phone-In Instructions!

  • Join Worship - Call toll-free 844-756-1591 with any phone. Worship services can be accessed anytime on any day, even when we aren't live!

  • Join any Zoom Gathering - Call 312-626-6799 with any phone. Enter 323-968-7750 when prompted for a Meeting ID.

 

November 11, 2020

 

Dear Church Family,

Today we honor friends and family - including many of you - who are veterans. Thank you for your sacrifices, dedication and service on behalf of our country. We are grateful to you and your family for, as JFK once challenged us, "To ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!"

Here are some important things for you to know this week. Be sure to notice weekly coffee with the pastor, opportunities to servenew church office hours, and a new weekly in-person prayer time happening in our worship space.

CONNECT

  • Coffee with the Pastor - Join Pastor Kristen each Monday morning from 10-11 AM on Zoom for coffee, conversation and connection! BYOC (bring your own coffee) for these drop-in virtual visits - I look forward to connecting, praying, catching up, and being together. (No computer? Call in with your phone! Dial 312-626-6799 and enter 323 968 7750 when prompted for a meeting ID)

  • Stay up-to-date at all times in one easy place by visiting our website at westmorrisfm.org.

  • The church office is now open Tuesday through Friday from 9 AM-12 NOON. Stop by or call and visit with Kevin Watson who is working in the office. You'll be blessed and prayed for!

  • Join with brothers & sisters in Christ from our church and others each Monday for our discipleship classLearn more & sign-up here.

SERVE

  • West Morris Church is loving & serving our neighbors this season through the gift of Thanksgiving Food Boxes. Want to help? You can give financially online or mail your offering to the church (designate it for Thanksgiving benevolence) or help shop, pack, deliver & contact families. Contact Kerri Drummond (317-626-6606) or Rachel Mohlman (317-677-2828) to serve!

  • Coming Soon! Advent-in-a-Box for every West Morris household with devotionals, activities, and a DIY Advent Wreath as we anticipate and wait through the season of Advent. Watch for details about how you can pick up your own box from the church building. And you're needed to help deliver Advent Boxes as well. Contact Pastor Kristen (317-464-7360) to serve!

  • Serve one another through prayer. Thank you for your continued prayers for John Miller who is home from the hospital and healing well; Margaret Miller who will soon "graduate" from therapy and whose doctor pronounced her free from cancer; Jan Leak who has upgraded from a shoulder immobilizer to sling because of good healing; Geri Cullum who continues to heal from an infected cyst; and Bev Fugett's mom who is having surgery this week. Pray too for our teachers and students, Comunidad's congregation members who have COVID, our medical personnel, and those facing loneliness, anxiety and despair.

  • Need prayer? Call the office or submit your prayer request online.


WORSHIP

  • 9:30 AM SUNDAYS - Worship online with us at 9:30 AM every Sunday. You can join us via FacebookYouTube, our website, and our toll-free call-in number (no internet/computer required - dial 844-756-1591).

  • 10:30 AM SUNDAYS - Worship with us in-depth as we interact, share, engage scripture, and pray together on Zoom. Join with your smart phone or computer, or call in with any phone. (To call in, dial 312-626-6799 and enter 323 968 7750 when prompted for a meeting ID.)

  • 11 AM - 12 PM WEDNESDAYS - Stop by the church building between 11am-12pm every Wednesday to pray in our worship space. Light a candle, worship & pray in this drop-in, informal prayer gathering led by Kevin Watson. Door #8 (main entrance doors by our Little Free Pantry) will be open.

  • Blue Christmas - watch for details about this year's Blue Christmas worship service in December. We will be coordinating with other Wabash pastors to lead a Wabash-Wide Blue Christmas service this year!


Be blessed this week. If there's any way I can serve and bless you, please let me know.

Love, Pastor Kristen
westmorrispastor@gmail.com
317-464-7360 call/text

P.S. Thanks for reading this week's "West Morris Weekly". Are these weekly newsletters helpful? How might they be improved? Let me know!

November 4, 2020

Dear Church Family,

The sun is shining and the temperatures are uncharacteristically warm for this time of year. I hope you take time to get outside, enjoy God's beautiful creation, and step away from the constant barrage of election news to re-center and re-focus on the Lord.

Today we find ourselves in a time of forced waiting - waiting for all votes to be counted, waiting for results, waiting for announcements. To be honest, waiting is hard. I much prefer "immediately knowing". But as Christ-followers, we are a waiting people. We await the Kingdom. We await Jesus' return. In Advent, we rehearse and recall the waiting of a people for their Messiah. In Lent, we lament and repent for our sinfulness and desire to be independent as we wait for a time of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection. We are a waiting people. It isn't easy, but as I have often told my children - just because something is hard, doesn't make it bad!

As I wait, I also grieve and lament where our country finds itself today - divided and hurting, too often filled with anger and suspicion instead of joy and peace. And so as we wait, we come alongside those who are hurting. Yes, Jesus is Lord and on his throne, but he is also the one who reminds us, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me." Yes, Jesus is King, but he is also the one who emptied himself, became a poor, vulnerable baby, moved into the neighborhood, suffered, and died out of his love for us. And that's where he invites us to be as well.

This week, let us particularly offer hope, joy, peace and love. Let us come alongside those who are hurting with compassion. Let us patiently wait.

Here are some important things for you to know this week --

SUNDAY WORSHIP - 2 Gatherings, 1 Church

  • 9:30 AM - Online worship service of praise, prayer, and scripture. Join us on our websiteYouTube, or Facebook. Know someone who doesn't have internet access? They can join the service by calling toll-free 844-756-1591 to listen in from a landline or cell phone.

  • 10:30 AM - In-Depth worship. Join us to interact, engage, share, pray and go deeper in Scripture together at 10:30 AM on zoom. Click here to access zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3239687750). Don't have zoom? Call in with your landline or cell phone. Dial 312-626-6799 and enter 323 968 7750 when prompted for a Meeting ID.

  • Click here to download an information page about our "2 Gatherings - 1 Church" worship times to print and share.

 

GROW

  • It's not too late to join our Monday night discipleship class! Learn more here.

  • Faithfulness in giving God's tithes and offerings is an opportunity, and window, into our growth and discipleship. Give online here or mail your check to the building at 2302 West Morris St, Indianapolis 46221.

PRAY

  • John Miller received a skin graft late last week. Pray for continued healing.

  • Margaret Miller is feeling better. Pray for her continued patience and rest as she recovers and heals.

  • Jan Leak's surgery went well. She is home and recovering. Pray for encouragement in the long recovery process and awkwardness of wearing a shoulder immobilizer and only having one good arm to use.

  • Garth Banks continues to recover well. He is busy with regular therapy appointments, resting and we're blessed to have him engaged in worship and discipleship gatherings again!

  • Theresa, Michelle Bailey's mom, is recovering well. Continue to pray for Michelle's family.

  • Our divided and hurting nation.

  • On-going COVID challenges in our state and nation. As winter comes, we are entering potentially even darker days with this pandemic which is both frustrating and devastating as we all are pandemic-fatigued and approaching holidays that normally involve family and church gatherings.

  • West Morris Church. Churches across the US are experiencing major disruptions and shifts in attendance, membership and giving. This includes West Morris as well, particularly as we endeavor to respond to these unprecedented times with wisdom, love and grace. As we begin budgeting for 2021, pray for clarity and God's guidance.

  • Pastor Kristen. I would certainly appreciate your prayers personally. These past 7 months have been a time like none other in ministry - filled with incredible stress, ridiculously long hours, challenges, hard and unpopular decisions, frustrating ministry moments, unknowns, failures and struggles -- all without the joys of being able to gather together in-person with you in worship. Added to that, most of you know of my health challenges with getting COVID in March, and struggling for months with it - even as late as into October. Like most clergy in America, I am weary, exhausted, and stressed, and both need and appreciate your prayers. 


As we head into winter months recognizing that COVID will continue to challenge and thwart our plans and desires for in-person gatherings and some semblance of "normalcy," allow me to share a couple requests from my heart -  

  • Pray for and give grace to your church leadership team. We are trying our best in unprecedented times and circumstances that feel like they're lose-lose (ie., no matter what we decide, it will be wrong).

  • Together, let's care for each other well. The Church is a body of believers who look after one another, love, serve, forgive, and give grace to one another. 

  • Get involved. Engage in worship. Participate in discipleship classes. Respond to opportunities to serve the community. We have wonderful opportunities to be the Church in these days, but can't do it without you. 

 

God bless you. Please know that I always welcome your calls, your text messages and your emails. You can call or text me at 317-464-7360 and email me at westmorrispastor@gmail.com.

Be encouraged by the goodness and grace of our Lord! Blessings,
Pastor Kristen

 

 

 

 

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West Morris Free Methodist

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