Laurel Heights UMC ministry updates

Faith is stepping up to lead or lend a hand when we’re not altogether sure where we’re going or even what all is needed. In the case of our current global health crisis, those uncertainties clearly apply. At Laurel Heights, your lay leadership and church staff have been working diligently to offer guidance, resources, and strategies to ensure that our church continues to be faithful in ministry in the midst of a profoundly disruptive situation.

Our Administrative Council convened three times in the last month in an online format for purposes of information communication, program coordination, personal sharing and prayer.
This past week an ad hoc working group was formed to consider various options for returning to gathered community at some point in the future. The team, led by our lay leader, Katie Myers, will monitor COVID-19 local and national safety guidelines while considering creative opportunities for sharing life together in this interim period and beyond.

Our Finance and Stewardship leaders have been tracking our financial giving patterns in order to identify and relay to the congregation any areas of concern as they emerge. Your contributions through April have remained steady. Thank you, church, for your faithfulness in giving—and especially through this precarious season. We have received a forgivable loan from Frost Bank through the SBA to assist us with staff compensation for a brief period of time (through June 11, 2020).

A communications team continues to develop and assess our various communications tools (such as this newsletter, phone contact, email, and our website) and social media platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.) for effectiveness. They are also exploring creative possibilities for increasing communication within our congregation and beyond. A care matrix in the form of a phone tree is helping us ensure that we maintain and strengthen our connections with one another, particularly among those without internet access. The Board of Trustees is overseeing the completion of a major sanctuary exterior rehabilitation and landscape project. Education Committee and Youth Council will be meeting to discuss spring and summer programming. The Worship Committee met earlier this month to evaluate and plan worship. (Aubrey Reichman, our Communications Coordinator, is producing beautifully crafted worship services each week for online viewing.) The United Methodist Women have organized to create face masks for distribution. The Missions Committee has presented us with monthly areas of emphasis (UMCOR in March, environmental awareness in April), and overseen the continuation of Wednesday evening community dinners, which have been moved to an outdoor setting, for those dealing with food insecurity. Church-Under-the-Bridge also continues to receive our support as well. And on and on . . .

Faith is stepping up to lead or lend a hand when we’re not altogether sure where we’re going or even what all is needed. In this difficult season, such faith has been very much in evidence at Laurel Heights. Thank you, church, for being the body of Christ in an unsettling and uncertain time. I am deeply heartened by your gifts and graces for sharing this journey of trust, and sense God’s Spirit stirring in our midst. I am assured that while God provides for us today, God will also lead us to be and become the church in bold new ways beyond this season. By grace, may we be faithful.

Rev. Paul Escamilla, Senior Pastor