|Hi Mercy Family,|
We begin this letter with an invitation through the cross of Jesus–toward the pain that our city is experiencing from the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department early this week. As we respond as a church and community of Jesus followers, we first affirm that George Floyd is an image bearer of God. We enter into grief, lament and repentance as this moment invites us to expose racism in ourselves and the systems we participate in.
As we continue to respond, we invite you into the work of Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Mercy was founded with a vision to be a large, multicultural, multiethnic church. It is in times like these that we remind ourselves of that commitment and challenge ourselves to dig in to the holy work of racial justice as spiritual formation and discipleship as individuals, in relationship with others and corporately. Some ways to start are:Pray. Seek the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.Choose empathy.If you are a person of color, have empathy for yourself. Take time to rest and remind yourself of the ways that you reflect the image of God. Release yourself from the responsibility of educating others.If you are white, choose earnest curiosity and compassion, to understand how others feel, about themselves, their life, experiences and history. Choose to be people who go towards the pain. Through the cross. Reach out to people in our community to let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them. If they want to talk, make space for their emotions. And also respect if people need to be alone.Respond. We see there is work to be done and we say yes. We choose to lean into this work. To learn, listen and lament. To use our power and privilege to call for justice and to acknowledge and raise up the voices of others.As we share next steps and invitations in the coming days that we plan to take as a community, we invite you to join us in a posture that sees and affirms the image of God in others, carrying a unique facet of God that we otherwise would not get to see.
Below, I want to update you on Mercy operations, urge you to take part in Summer Small Church–a new opportunity for connection, invite you to join us for Drive Thru Communion this coming Sunday and update you on our COVID Care Fund impact.
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
–The Mercy Staff
|Mercy remains open, online!|
Mercy is open. In fact, we have never closed! Our building is not accessible right now, but that has not stopped us from connecting to God and one another, growing in our faith and impacting our community. We are so grateful for the many ways that you embody Christ as His church–praying for and encouraging one another, delivering meals, sewing masks, donating to the COVID Care Fund and our impact partners, and many other ways.
We continue to seek guidance for churches and faith communities from the Minnesota Governor’s Office and other local leaders as we plan next steps for Mercy. The recently updated Minnesota guidance allows congregations to meet together, in person, up to 25% of occupancy with safe social distancing. Using this formula with the current occupancy of our auditorium, plus the number of people needed to make a Sunday happen, would only allow us to have 40-55 people (adults and kids) in the auditorium for a service.
Given the occupancy limitations and the many protocols needed to put in place to ensure safety for all of us, we are choosing to remain online-only until we can safely have a larger number of our community members gathering at one time.
|Summer Small Church launches June 14|
We’re launching a new way to connect while continuing to responsibly care for one another and those most vulnerable in our community. Summer Small Church gatherings are small, diverse groups of people at Mercy connecting briefly each Sunday throughout the summer from 11-11:30am for Communion and a Question. Summer Small Church will launch online at first, with the option to meet in-person with appropriate social distancing.
Mercy will assign individuals and families to a Summer Small Church with the goal of making space for new relationships and connections as we practice loving and valuing all individuals at Mercy as image bearers of God. Summer Small Church is intended to serve as a Sunday church gathering–it does not replace Growth Group participation. Summer Small Church hosts will facilitate Communion and a Question each week as the corporate Sunday gathering.
SIGN UP at bit.ly/summersmallchurch.
|Drive Thru Communion|
We want to connect with you, offer communion and pray a blessing over you. Join us after the livestream service ends on Sunday, May 31, from 11:15am-12:30pm in the Mercy parking lot for Drive Thru Communion. Enter the Harding Street entrance and follow the signs. The Mercy team will be following safety protocols to ensure your protection. The Mercy building will not be open. Visit mercyvineyard.org/events/ for more information on these and other activities.
|COVID Care Fund Update|
We are so grateful to the many of you who have contributed to our COVID Care Fund to provide financial gifts to support those within and connected to our community who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
To date, we have given gifts totaling $4,500 to individuals or families.
Please continue to say “Yes” to applying on behalf of yourself or others or contributing toward the COVID Care Fund. Visit mercyvineyard.org/covidcarefund.
|Reminder to fill out the All Church Connect Card|
We as a Mercy Staff want to help and encourage you in any way we can. Please keep sharing your prayer requests and thoughts on our new All-Church Connect Card at bit.ly/mercyconnectcard.