Rev. Dr. Joel Mitchell, Pastor
11024 S. Bell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
MORGAN PARK AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCH
ADVANCE April 2021
Rev. Dr. Joel Mitchell, Pastor
11024 S Bell Ave - Chicago IL 60643 P) 773-445-9443
E) MorganParkChurch@Yahoo.Com - www.MorganParkBaptistChurch.org
A Message from Pastor Joel:
Greetings Morgan Park Baptist Church Family!
I pray that this month's edition of the Advance finds you and your families are doing well.
Spring is definitely in the air and although the weather sometimes does not want to adhere to the Spring temperature guidelines, it is still refreshing to see the trees and plants budding which is a sign of new beginnings.
As we mentioned last month we are excited to be moving closer to the day that everyone will be able to resume our normal Sunday rituals of worship and coffee fellowship. In fact, this month we welcomed back to members who were previously not able to join us for Sunday worship due to health and safety concerns regarding the pandemic.
Therefore, it is my prayer that we all receive the vaccination so that we will be able to take advantage of the new CDC guidelines which states:
"Fully vaccinated people can go without masks outdoors when walking, jogging or biking, or dining with friends at outdoor restaurants — a milestone development for tens of millions of pandemic-weary Americans after more than a year of masking up and locking down."
This is exciting and welcomed news. We will continue to use caution as we gather for Sunday worship by practicing safety guidelines which include "Wear Your Masks, Wash Your Hands and Watch Your Distance".
If you would like to know more information on how to obtain the vaccine, I encourage you to reach out to your health care provider or visit the following website to learn where you can receive the vaccine in your neighborhood: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid19-vaccine/home/vaccine-finder.html.
MPBC, I understand that you may have heard people say “we’re all in the same boat” to describe how COVID-19 has transformed our lives. But if we’re being honest, the novel coronavirus has impacted us all in vastly different ways. Some people lost jobs, while careers in healthcare ramped up dramatically. Some houses are buzzing with kids home from school with no activities to attend, while other homes are unbearably quiet and lonely. Some of us are living in extreme fear, and others are unburdened by the threat of health issues. However, no matter where you find yourself today, we want you to know that God loves you, we love you and we are praying for each and every one in our Morgan Park Family.
The following is from an article by Dr. Jamie Aten and Kent Annan, M.Div. in the online magazine, Faith Counts. It contains 20 Bible Verses to assist us all in this time of need and uncertainty. This month, we will start with the first 5. I pray that these verses bring you a sense of peace and comfort.
On behalf of Rev. Dr. Naomi Mitchell and our entire family, thank you for receiving us with such love and hospitality.
We would also like to hear from you and learn if there are any ways that we can support you and your families. Therefore, please feel free to reach out and give me a call at (773) 220-9337 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and Blessings - Pastor Joel
1. GOD SEES US - “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13)
Hagar experienced social distancing and isolation when she fled in desperation to the desert! There she came to know God as the one who truly saw her. In this moment, notice God’s gracious eyes on you.
2. GOD HEARS US - “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2)
When we endure suffering, it can be hard to feel that God is near. And yet from the isolation of the whale’s belly, Jonah cried out to God and God heard. God is listening to you today.
3. GOD IS WITH US - “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Whether you or your loved ones are confined at home, hospitalized, separated by geography, you need not fear, for God is present even in the darkest valleys.
4. GOD IS FOR US - “For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:33) If you’re wrestling with how to think about COVID-19 theologically, you’re not alone. What we know for certain is twofold: God is not the author of suffering and God is a redeemer.
5. GOD KNOWS OUR SUFFERING - “God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” (Exodus 2:25
Whatever you are facing today is not lost on God. God recognizes the very particular ways you are stinging and is concerned for you.
In January, our faithful organist, Jacob Haywood retired. He brought many years of musical joy to MPBC & we wish him many blessing for his well-deserved retirement.
We then welcomed our new pianist, Cameron Jones. Since we have coffee fellowship on hold, we asked him a few questions to get acquainted. (see below).
In February, our dear member, Rev. Millie Myren passed away. Her steadfast presence is dearly missed.
A memorial service is planned for June 27, more details to come.
In March, Naomi Mitchell successfully defended her doctoral thesis. She has earned a DM in Preaching from The Associations of Chicago Theological Schools and is now, Rev. Dr. Naomi A. Mitchell. We wish her many blessings.
Thank you for your patience while we work to get the new version of the Advance organized and sent.
Blessings to you all.
Getting to Know Cameron Jones:
What brings you to Morgan Park Baptist Church?
Millie Myron hired me out of my college to play for MPBC. I was intrigued by the opportunity to play liturgical music because it’s not a field I’m familiar with.
Do you travel far to get to the church?
I live five minutes away from the church so the commute isn’t a hassle at all. I even used to come to MPBC for the Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast!
Do you have any siblings or pets?
I’m the eldest of three children and I live in a zoo with a slew of animals including dogs, birds and reptiles.
At what age did you begin playing piano?
I started studying piano at age 9.
What career to you hope to have?
I already have my dream career, making a living playing music for others.
What is your favorite music to play?
I really like Baroque music; classical music from 1650-1720. Baroque music is not only highly dramatic and expressive, it’s intrinsically improvisatory and allows musicians to play with a lot of freedom.
What do you do in your free time (hobbies)?
One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to enjoy some scotch or some nice coffee with a friend on a summer night.
What's your favorite color?
I love arboreal, lush greens because they remind me of nature and the summertime.
ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS:
· IN PERSON WORSHIP: EVERY SUNDAY @ 11AM
· WORSHIP ONLINE WITH MPBC: EVERY SUNDAY @ 11AM VIA FACEBOOK LIVE OR CALL & LISTEN IN VIA PHONE +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) Meeting ID: 981 6156 4733# Passcode: 566807#
YOU CAN NOW ACCESS THE WEEKLY BULLETIN BY CLICKING THE "BULLETIN" TAB
· WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY: THREE WAYS TO PARTICIPATE… FACEBOOK LIVE ZOOM - MEETING ID: 981 6156 4733 PASSCODE:B6Gz2l CALL & LISTEN IN +1 312 626 6799 US (CHICAGO) MEETING ID: 981 6156 4733# PASSCODE: 566807#
· DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN NOW SUPPORT MPBC ONLINE? Visit www.MorganParkBaptistChurch.org CLICK THE DONATIONS BUTTON AND GIVE AND FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, YOU CAN GIVE ONCE OR CHOOSE REOCCUR.
· PRAYER JOYS AND CONCERNS: PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY JOYS OR CONCERNS SO THEY MAY BE LIFTED UP IN PRAYER AT OUR NEXT SERVICE. CONTACT BRUCE STARK AT 773-233-2713
My Lord God, I have no idea where I’m going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I’m doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always through I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
Fr. Thomas Merton OCSO, 1915 – 1968: An American Trappist Monk, theologian, poet, mystic and social activist.
Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (A Roman Catholic contemplative order)