A few years ago, while I was at a former church, another minister and I went to visit a non-profit organization that helped needy families and children. It was in kind of a rough part of town. The name of the organization was on a great big sign that hung right over the front doors of their building. The sign said: OPEN DOOR MINISTRIES. As we walked up to the entrance I jokingly said to my friend, "I wonder if the door is open." It took him a minute to get it, but eventually he chuckled. As it turned out, the front door to Open Door Ministries was not open, so we had to find an entrance we could use around back. I appreciated the struggle this organization may have gone through to be open and available in spirit, open and willing to help those in need, even though because of the rough neighborhood they just didn't feel like their door could be physically open.

We're finding ourselves in a similar circumstance these days. Our rough neighborhood is this virus that seems to be advancing more each day. It has caused us to close ourselves off to one another physically. We just simply cannot have open doors to each other the way we would like and in the same way that we are used to.

And yet, in spirit, we must remain open: open for prayer, open to share and receive a message of grace and hope, open to help one another. "Connect" is a word we use a lot around here, and it is a word and concept that has become more and more important in these trying days. We need to find, and we are finding, those ways to connect with God and connect with each other.

Worship online, Facebook Live and other posts, emails to the congregation, phone calls, ZOOM and other kinds of teleconferencing to keep our youth and other small groups together and committees meeting, are just some of the ways we have come up with so far to stay connected. We have also set up a place on our website where you can ask for prayer for yourself or someone you love (click here or under "Our Ministries", click on the button under "Church Care"). The old truth that the church is not a building it is the people is becoming more and more of a reality right before our very eyes.

If you haven't found your way to stay connected to the people of Southport United Methodist Church, make a connection with us right away. Email or phone us at the church (317-784-9508) and let us know how we can help.

Remember, we are all one in Christ Jesus, we are all loved with a love that will never let us go, and we are all connected to a grace and hope that only God can give.

Pastor Duane