Wesley UMC Bakersfield is using technology to stay together while staying safe and what began as a weekly worship service has branched out to include a noon time prayer gathering enjoyed by dozens of folks each day, as well as a children's reading circle on Facebook Tuesday mornings.
Regarding noonday prayers, Wesley pastor Anne Schlesinger shared, "When we began this shelter in place (SIP) protocol, we had no idea how long it would last. I have been amazed that this quiet moment of daily prayer, lasting no more than 30 minutes, cheers people by making them feel connected. As a matter of fact, we can’t even start the process until people have shared hellos and a few laughs or comments as we gather."
Pastor Anne said that she began noonday prayers by using The Upper Room Worshipbook, which she discovered while a part of Academy for Spiritual Formation. Anne combined the midday prayer liturgy with a little bit from the morning prayer. Throughout the past 10 weeks she has varied the scriptures and songs, but the format remains basically the same.
Wesley faith family members begin in unison with a call to prayer, consider a Psalm and then sing together. They continue with another (brief) scripture reading, the prayers of the people, prayers of thanksgiving, prayer requests and then the Lord's Prayer followed by a benediction.
Pastor Anne is also using Facebook live to connect with children. Each Tuesday morning she begins with a large format picture book for the younger children and continues with a chapter from a book she is reading with the older children. The church has also sent out art supplies to children who are missing Sunday school classes.
On the day of this report Wesley was hosting a drive-by Graduation celebration.
We thank Pastor Anne and the entire faith family of Wesley UMC Bakersfield for their faithful witness. During a time when we must separate they continue to find creative ways to connect.