A new summer Adult Study class will start on June 21. Details on our Adult Programs page.
Crawford has had a presence at PRIDE for many years. While this year we cannot gather in person to march, sing, and celebrate, we will still gather online with other United Methodist communities for worship and prayer on Sunday, June 14 at 11:00 am. Details coming soon on how you can participate.
This Sunday, June 7th the Crawford community will gather on the church lawn to protest police brutality in our country. You are welcome. Bring your signs, bring your masks, bring your change energy! Rain or shine. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Social distancing rules apply.
Dear Crawford Family and Friends:
During the last ten weeks, as we have navigated a new way of being in response to a global pandemic, we have been caring for one another by staying home, staying safe and staying healthy. This has meant dramatic shifts in how we build, form and nurture community and connections. On-line worship has provided creative experiences with United Methodist communities around the globe and inspiring gifts from our very talented staff and church members. Together we have risen to new challenges. Together we have shared hopes and fears. Together we spread the good news of Love. Together we remind each other that we are never alone.
On Monday, 18 May, Governor Baker announced the reopening of our state in three phases. The first of these include Places of Worship as long as these mandatory, minimum safety standards are kept. When we open the church building, we would be required to wear masks, only limited numbers of people could gather, celebration of Holy Communion would be prevented, and regular disinfecting would be necessary.
The New England Annual Conference sent word at the beginning of May that “we will refrain from meeting in person for worship, retreats, Bible Study, and any other in-person church-related gathering through at least Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020.” They also remind us that “returning to offices and church buildings will be gradual, in phases, and not advisable for those in highest risk groups for some time.”
Our District Superintendent, We Chang, counseled us on the severe restrictions regarding what we need to do in order to maintain safety for in-person worship including social distancing, mask wearing, no singing, etc. Key areas will need to be addressed before reopening like practical procedures and policies, finances, budget adjustments, contingency plans, enhanced cleaning programs, and Sunday morning logistics. We could, in fact, do harm if we do not put practices in place to promote the safety and wellbeing of the congregation, staff, and clergy.
In light of these realities, it does not make sense for us to reopen our church building at this time. Following the “Three General Rules” of The United Methodist Church, which are Do No Harm. Do Good. Stay in Love with God, we are working to ensure that members of the Crawford family continue to be as safe and healthy as possible. With this as our goal, our Sunday worship, Christian Education classes, Fellowship groups, and committee meetings will continue to occur virtually until we have a plan in place for safely regathering.
Here are some reasons why we are moving forward in this way. At Crawford, we sing. We hug. We visit with each other. We love coffee hour and fellowship. No-contact worship and fellowship in the church building doesn’t reflect who we are as Crawford.
As the last few months have shown, we are committed to caring for all people including older adults, children and the immunocompromised who are valuable parts of our society and our family of faith. As a colleague said this week, minimum standards do not maximize the safety of the whole. Through this time we have proven that the church is more than a building. Having experienced this, we will continue to creatively imagine new ways to be church…responsibly.
As one who likes to move quickly and decisively, especially when there is a crisis, at this time, wisdom is in moving carefully, thoughtfully and intentionally. Working with the members of the Trustees and Church Council as well as our Lay Leader and Lay Member to Conference, we will strive to create a safe, comprehensive and responsible plan to re-enter our building. As we are working on this and with on-line worship planned through June, our community has the space to build a plan that honors the whole community.
As we wait together, we can still connect, support, encourage and pray for one another in a variety of ways — in on-line worship on Sundays at 10:00 am on Zoom or streaming on our YouTube Channel, in morning prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 am, in Adult Study on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am or Middle School Youth Group on Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm. We do this also by sending cards, making calls, sharing food, checking in on one another and continuing to give to support God’s mission and ministries shared through our Crawford community.
Friends, we are in this together.
In gratitude and with great hope,
Hope Luckie Pam Reeve Frank Leathers Colin Simson
Minister Church Council Chair Board of Trustees Chair Lay Member to Conference
In response to the Governor’s requirements and following the best available advice from knowledgeable medical professionals, the Trustees have decided to close the church building. We take this action to do our part to reduce the chance of COVID-19 infection among our congregation, staff and visitors.
We know this “stay at home” situation is a challenge for all of us. Some of the things we think of as important or of a minor duration can still lead to spread of the infection. We are all committed to doing whatever we can to find “work-arounds” that will allow us to keep up our electronic connections, prepare and deliver remote-access services, and continue to support each other.
Thank you all for your understanding, patience, and respect for this decision.
The Church Council was to have a retreat on May 2 to discuss the future of our church, what we wanted to be rolling into the future. Covid-19 made sure that didn’t happen. So the heads of the ministry committees (worship, music, youth, missions, membership) met virtually to discuss how we can be Crawford NOW. We kept coming back to the particular challenges of our sisters and brothers of color and the immigrant community in Chelsea, a city hardest hit by the pandemic. Pastor Mirna Rodriguez of the Nueva Vida UMC in Chelsea has 60 families, from 6 Latin American countries, 90% undocumented, over half out of work, sick, afraid. In our discussions with her we learned that she is trying to support her congregation with few resources. I am so grateful that during this crisis Crawford was able to contribute $10,000 to the Benevolence Fund of the Nueva Vida UMC, which will be put to good and important use. We are able to do this because for many years the Crawford congregation has generously donated and carefully stewarded money to be used for our needing neighbors. So. on the first Saturday in May, instead of talking about what the church should be, we WERE the church. Thanks be to God.
A Bible story and a reason to smile: Arlo makes his acting debut in the story of Ezekiel and the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
Please join the Lenten Adult Sunday School class, led by Frank Leathers, as we read and discuss the book He Set His Face to Jerusalem by Bishop Richard Wilke. This study explores Jesus’ decision and commitment to travel to Jerusalem, where he would challenge the religious leadership structure and face the consequences. He heard God’s call to go from the countryside into the center of religious and Roman power, to preach his message. We will use the stories in the Bible to follow his journey, consider the distractions and events along the way, and reflect on Jesus’ determination to follow God’s direction and face his fate. We will also reflect on what it means for us, in our lives today, to hear God’s call and set our faces (and bodies and spirits) to follow God’s will.
March 1 through April 5 (Palm Sunday) Books will be available on Sunday, February 23.
Family Filled Fun– Beach Blanket Bingo! Sunday, March 1 directly after the 10:45 service. Afternoon filled with summertime fun–Dress in summery clothes and join your Crawford friends for beach games, sandwiches, milkshakes and more! It might be cold and dark outside but it’ll be hot and sunny in Gifford Hall! Bring a friend, everyone is welcome!