Our Pastor

Pastor Jennifer Berry

jennifer.berry@nyac-umc.com

(267) 978-3082 at the Parsonage

Pastor Jenn joined NPUMC on July 1, 2018.
Read her story…

A Message from Our Pastor
August 2020

Hello Beloved Community,

Covid-19 has changed everything. And that’s not all bad. Because of Covid-19, our small group gatherings are global. We have been joined in worship by astonishing numbers of people from an awe-inspiring range of places. We are making new friends, learning new technologies, and finding innovative ways to stay connected. In many cases, we are better connected now than ever. Miracles hide in the most unlikely places.

We shouldn’t be surprised. New ideas and practices always appear in times of strife. When our normal patterns are disrupted, when what was good enough is no longer good at all, that is when the Holy Spirit can make her greatest inbreaking. These are, indeed, those times. I know I have found myself referring to these times as being of ‘biblical proportions.’

What, then, is the role of church, the call of being a Christian, in times such as these?

The pandemic has placed our economics into stark relief, exposing how clearly our systems have favored a few at the expense of the many. Jesus has some things to say when profits are put before the wellbeing of the people. This was the question under Roman rule, too. Pandemic and plague feel much alike – are those who are safe and sheltered at home those whom God sought to rescue out of the bondage of Egypt? If not, why not? And what are we to do about it?

Quarantining has had us home and unable to look away from the murder of George Floyd. Now we are in an overdue reckoning with racism in America and the ways in which history, unexamined becomes a present unlivable and leaves future prospering unattainable. As we realize life in America is very different for people of color than it is for white people, we perhaps gain some sympathy for the Sadducees and Pharisees. After all, the system was working just fine for them, and they couldn’t understand why Jesus and his followers were upset any more than we have heard or appreciated the critiques of our non-white siblings.

We need communities of faith in ways we have not realized for a long time. We need safe places to wrestle with ideas that feel dangerous and confusing. People we trust to point out our growing edges in love. A community that will check in on us to be sure we are well in body and in spirit. And so the community of NPUMC has proven itself to be.

This newsletter represents one of the many ways we are strengthening our connections in a time when they could become weak. I am excited to hear from many different voices, representing many perspectives, skills, and lived experiences. The more we come to know one another not as acquaintances but as siblings in Christ, the better able to support each other through the more difficult terrain of our Christian journey, human shortcomings and realities that seem truly biblical in proportion. Looking forward to sharing with you, here and elsewhere.

Peace IS Justice,
Pastor Jenn