Words from Pastor Karen

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who pass the night in the shadow of
Shaddai, say: “YHWH, my refuge and my mountain fortress, my God, in whom I trust!”
3 For YHWH says: “I will rescue you from the snare, and shield you from poisoned arrows.
I will cover you with my pinions; under my wings, you will take refuge; my faithfulness will
shield you. You have no need to fear the prowlers of the night or the arrow that flies by
day, the plague that lurks in the shadows or the scourge that stalks at noon.”
Psalm 91:1-6 The Inclusive Bible

It has been a whirlwind of change these last few weeks. When the news of the COVID-19
the virus began to make the rounds in March we made changes to how the campus was
cleaned. I ordered individual communion cups in preparation for April. Staff cleaned
chairs, tables, and counters with a bleach solution. The news became grimmer. Worship
was canceled. Myra and I scrambled to learn how to Livestream the worship service.
(Think of Livestream like live TV back in the ’50s.) A shelter in place order was announced and we called study groups, recovery groups, and building renters to let them
know they were not allowed to meet in the church. I met with Base Camp & food pantry
leaders to discuss how to go forward with feeding those that are hungry. And each day
the news became more and more frightening. I rested in the knowledge of the promises
of Psalm 91.

Verse 4 reads “I will cover you with my pinions; under my wings, you will take refuge.” The
pinions of a bird are the outermost section of the wings. It is under the wings, under the
pinions where the fluffy, soft downy feathers may be found. Here is where YHWH calls us
to rest. In the coming days when the news is frightening, when you grieve from all you
have lost, when it seems there is too little hope, remember that under God’s wings we
find shelter.

Pastor Karen

United Methodist General Conference to be Postponed

Commission on the General Conference

March 18, 2020

Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the General Conference will be postponed and will not occur May 5-15, 2020 as planned.

Out of concerns for the health and safety of all affected amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Committee has been monitoring the situation for some time and had scheduled a teleconference meeting of the full Commission of the General Conference for March 21 to discuss plans for the event. Only the full commission is able to set a new date or decide on an alternate plan. That meeting will go forward as scheduled, although it is not known at this time how quickly they will be able to announce new dates.

“This news is not unexpected based on the current guidance from health officials and we expect to move forward with new plans as quickly as possible,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission.

While the Commission was already considering many requests to postpone the event due to the growing pandemic and processing the complexities which would result from that decision, the announcement by the convention center that those dates will no longer be possible means that the church will not incur significant financial penalties for cancellation of the contract. 

“Our focus in this moment is not solely on the gathering of the General Conference for the work we have been called to do, but is on the individuals, families, churches and communities around the world whose lives are being impacted by this pandemic,” said Simpson.  “We recognize the struggle to deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs which come with the unknown. We are confident that local United Methodist churches will be finding new ways to be in community with their neighbors and meet their evolving needs.”

For more information, visit https://www.umc.org/en/

Important Campus Updates

We have shut down the Wesley campus as the city of Fresno has called for a shelter in place order beginning Thursday, 3/19 through until March 31. 

  • The office will be closed and all group and class meetings suspended. Pastor Karen will be checking for messages. You can also reach Karen for emergencies. Her phone number is in the Instant Church Directory.
  • The Food Pantry will continue to give food bags as long as they are able. They are in need of Ramen noodles and toilet paper.
  • Base Camp has been temporarily canceled but hopes to re-open soon.
  • The Pink Cow is closed at least through April 14.
  • The United Methodist General Conference has been postponed though no new date has been set yet.

Be a MAGI (Ministry Area Giving Investor)

Would you like to give intentionally to a ministry area of Wesley? There are things we need to purchase on a regular basis and our budget could use some help in covering these costs. Here are some ideas of how you can help out:

  • Office supplies: paper, envelopes, printer ink, etc.
  • Hospitality: coffee, cups, etc.
  • Children’s Ministry: Sunday School supplies, books, etc.
  • Any other ministry you can think of that you would like to help.

If you can give an additional monetary gift, write MAGI and the name of the ministry area on the memo line of your check. If you give electronically or have any questions, please speak to Kimberli Parenteau. Your monetary gift can make a big difference in balancing our budget.

Sunday Worship Is Cancelled Until Further Notice

Sunday morning worship is canceled effective immediately and until further notice due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and out of concern for the well-being of all.

We are living in unchartered territory and at an unprecedented pace. It is up to all of us to adopt best practices that will assist in keeping us healthy including social distancing. Our own California state officials are advising communities to suspend public gatherings in light of the COVID-19 virus. Our Wesley community is made up of many those considered to be at high risk, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. And so Pastor Karen and the Lay Leadership of Wesley have made the difficult decision to cancel worship until things are more clear and safe.

Worship will be live-streamed on Sunday on Facebook and the sermon will be posted on Sound Cloud on our website on Monday. You can also “worship” in ways that are meaningful to you – reading, walking, enjoying the out of doors, praying. It is even more essential to check in with your family and friends via phone, text, and email. This may be a good time to reconnect on Facebook. There are no perfect solutions to our being together but we believe that these and other practices will help us get through this crisis.
We will do our best to keep you informed, even as things changing rapidly. At this point:

  • The LGBTQi and Allies Potluck scheduled for March 15 has been canceled.
  • Sunday School classes for children and adults are canceled.
  • Weekday small groups, including Bible study and book studies, are still scheduled.
  • The Pink Cow and the Food Pantry will be open as scheduled.
  • The Tuesday Crew will still meet and work
  • Base Camp will serve carry-out meals through the kitchen window.
  • The Office will be open as usual, Monday through Thursday, 9 am – 3:30 pm

COVID-19 is testing our understanding and commitment to our interdependence as the body of Christ, “when one part suffers, all parts suffer.” The potentially lethal impact on those with underlying health conditions and on age requires all of us to respond. If you are not in one of those categories you may have a false sense of security. But even those not in a high-risk category can inadvertently spread the virus to those who can least afford to contract it. “Therefore it is both a moral and pragmatic imperative to take this outbreak seriously and play our part to protect ourselves and others, particularly those most in harm’s way.” It is a time for responsibility and solidarity but we cannot let the fear go viral . . . Let’s overcome this common threat together.” – from Sojourners at www.sojo.net

Wesley Hikers – March Hike

As Spring approaches, it is a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors and what better way to do it than in good company?

Join the Wesley Hikers as they take on Horseshoe Bend on Saturday, March 21st at 7:30 a.m.

Horseshoe Bend

Save the dates! Here is what the 2020 schedule looks like:

  • April 4: Sierra Foothill Conservancy
  • April 18: San Joaquin River Gorge
  • May 16: Lewis Creek to Corlieu Falls
  • May 30: Yosemite Park – Chilnualna Falls
  • June 13: Sequoia National Park – Redwoods
  • July 22-25: Backpacking Trip

Contact James Shepard or Joellen Hamaguchi for details.