Dear friends and members of Milford UMC,
i know the memories of Sunday evening are probably still uppermost in our minds, and I sympathize so much with your feelings of grief and loss. It is certainly going to take us all a while to process what has happened, and to let go of the anxiety, sadness and moments of despair that followed in the wake of the fire.
First of all, I want to you all to know that I am deeply committed to help the congregation move forward into a brand new chapter as a congregation, taking with us the memories of the past, and making new memories as we travel together through life. We all know that life is not an even road. There are ups and downs in all our lives, but what makes us resilient is knowing that we travel together, and share a faith that protects and promises.
The Board of Trustees met last night at the Parsonage. As Trustees they are responsible for the physical condition of the building. DS Everett Bassett was also present. We are working on an inventory of the church, on plans for the Food Pantry to be relocated, and on all the arrangements needed to begin our worship on Sunday mornings, at the Cultural Center, which has generously offered us a temporary home until our church is rebuilt. And yes, our church will be rebuilt, and from the blackness of Sunday night, there will come a day when we all stand in the sunlight and look at a new building with happiness and peace in all our hearts.
The response from the community has been overwhelming. The local fire fighters did an outstanding job of coming to our aid, and their solidarity and expertise was undeniable.
Our thanks also to many people who stepped forward with offers of coffee, water, food and blankets.
I have received over 100 emails from other ministers, other congregations, other denominations, total strangers, people who worshipped at Milford in the past, and concerned friends and family members. I am sure we all can recall kind words spoken, sympathetic hugs and offers to help.
The last 48 hours have truly been the worst of times, and the best of times.
I will be sending out my usual Thursday update with more details. We meet with the insurance adjuster hopefully tomorrow morning. At this moment in time, I ask you to be in prayer for the leadership of the church, and for each of the members. We need to ask God’s help for guidance. We need to ask God’s blessing on our future.
I invite each of you, to come on Sunday morning to the service at the Cultural Center, at our usual time of 10 45am. The same musicians that played for our last glorious service, will be there to play for our first service in a new setting. We will be joined by members of at least two other congregations that want to show their support. DS Everett Bassett will be speaking and I will be preaching on ‘the cross of Christ’ and my experience the morning after the fire, when I returned to the Sanctuary to retrieve our altar cross.
It will be an emotional time for us all, but a time to draw together and to remember that we worship a God who is with us during both the bad times and the good times.
Please encourage as many people as you can to come.
I know there are many unanswered questions and concerns we have at this time, but in the coming weeks our plans will take shape, our leaders will step forward, and we will move forwards, together. As the family of God. Faith in action.
Blessings in abundance,