Dear Friends in Christ,

As we move into November, many of us have enjoyed the fast signs of fall as our gardens came to an end, leaves began to turn colors, and then the heavy frost hit after several months of growing weather. This has been a strange year in so many ways, and then the mid to late November weather 5-6 weeks early in October.

The COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, is flourishing at record levels in our county, state and around the country and parts of the world. Flu season is upon us giving this time in our lives a double whammy! Whether the concerns have been for the health of family, friends, neighbors, ourselves or the financial impact on our households, we’ve all felt the effects of uncertainty.
Personal challenges have been made by so many of us, while it has been apparent many have struggled with making similar changes for the good of all within our communities.

As you all know, our UCC church experienced a negative impact when in Sanctuary Worship was closed in March. Pastoral visits to home bound, Nursing Home/Rehab and hospitalized members came to a quick halt and have not been able to resume. Due to these and other factors, we have experienced a significant decrease in financial contributions.

Sanctuary worship reopened on June 28th. Since then the numbers of those attending have been 9 or less (not counting Debbie or Pastor Lois). This fall, other than Oct. 18 – Confirmation Sunday, numbers have been 6 or less. While these numbers have dropped, COVID-19 in our county has sky-rocketed, with 986 cases, 5 hospitalizations and 2 deaths for our county.

Video-taping worship added in July, being added to the Facebook Livestream weekly. After processing the tape, it is sent to TCC Cable TV for addition to the Community Channel Broadcast several times a week. It is also posted on our Facebook page so folks, if they would like, can take part in the worship experience by visually being able to read the PowerPoint Screens which contain the full worship service.

Even though the church is not functioning normally, some committees or Boards have met a couple times over these months. Fundraising has begun through the Women’s Group and a group of concerned members have met to look at how we might do our Cookie Walk & Auction. Look for their article in this newsletter. The Board of Ed met and have begun sending some materials out to each child on their roster, along with the creation of a ‘stole with symbolic hands’ for each of the Confirmation gals for Confirmation Sunday. And, the ‘Trustees’ have continued meeting the needs of the properties, and meeting as needed.

With these parts of our Community of Faith coming alive, another part is struggling, and we desperately need further church leadership to step up and lead the surge in how we all can pull together to meet the financial obligations needing to be taken care of, salaries, maintenance, basic utilities, etc. If your income has been negatively impacted by this pandemic it is understandable as you have to balance all your financial responsibilities and we hold you in prayer. Those who have continued giving, a big thank you to you, and please continue. If you haven’t sent in your offerings and can assist by doing so, we ask your help now.
For those who are able, we humbly ask, if you are able please think of the church by sending your gifts to: United Church of Christ, Attn: Financial Secretary, PO Box 490, Osseo, WI  54758-0490

As we continue on this journey together, God keep all well!  AMEN

Peace to all,

Pastor Lois