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From Pastor Paul...New Blog and Podcast

March 16, 2020

From Pastor Paul...

Dear Bethlehem brothers and sisters in Christ,

Life as we know it has changed in America, and Traverse City...at least for the time being. Yes, the building is closed, and worship and gatherings at BLC have ceased for now. But as your pastor, I wanted to look beyond the very real warnings and health concerns of the Coronavirus and focus instead on hope, love and togetherness. So I've set up two new front-and-center pieces to our website www.bethlehemtc.org that "went live" late last night - accessible with links found on the first two scrolling banners at the top, or by clicking on the "Our Stories" drop-down menu on the main page.

1. The first is our "Hope Stretches Further" blog. Why the title? Because time and again in the bible and in our lives, nothing is more powerful than Faith, HOPE and Love (**1st Cor. 13:13). And today we can let hope spread faster and further than any virus. I'll be asking some folks online and offline (like you, if you like!) to submit actual blog entries, along with my own, in the days ahead. But ALL of us can take part by simply viewing the blog, writing a comment below an entry, or emailing me a picture to paul.busekist@bethlehemtc.org to share a "picture of hope spreading": it could be of anything or anyone that brings hope to you, my friends. Let's spread it! You can also click here to get there quickly: http://www.bethlehemtc.org/hope-spreads-further

2. The second piece is "Real Church Virtual" - something I'm really pleased to show you, because it addresses a real need and involves some Spirit-led work (many thanks to "Team Slabaugh"!) with powerful moments from last weekend and no doubt the days and weeks ahead. "Real Church Virtual" is our new video Podcast of some key worship components in our church home and sanctuary. We hope to keep the readings, prayers, messages and other worship stuffs going to help us stay connected and keep church alive and real...even if it's "virtual" for now! We will weave elements of the podcast into our "Hope Spreads Further," and you can view the videos in two spots: the new podcast page or the Bethlehem Facebook page (both links below). For now for the podcast will use the Vimeo website for the higher rez video footage (note: it will require the quick password "BLC" to enter), but we may switch to Youtube for viewing in the future:

BLC Podcast page: http://www.bethlehemtc.org/real-church-virtual-bethlehem-podcasts

BLC Facebook video page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/BethlehemTC/videos/?ref=page_internal

or just directly on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pch7ro9PiQo

Finally, as a very practical piece, we are sensitive to the fact that we all face uncertainty right now. Please also remember that our hard working staff and every part of your church family, people and "temple" still needs your emotional, spiritual and financial support. In the days and weeks ahead, we ask that you pray for one another and help this Body of Christ in any way you can to move forward, even from a "distance." You can rest assured that your BLC leaders and staff will do everything we can to make sure the building remains in good use and Bethlehem stays strong. ("For we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!") For the time being, you can still contribute your offerings by mail (we will still receive mail), or please consider signing up for electronic giving by emailing Phil, bookkeeper@bethlehemtc.org. We are also looking into other ways of giving electronically.

Most important, my friends, is our physical health, our loving connection to one another, and our well-being as people of faith in a fragile world. We give thanks to God for all things, and pray for guidance, peace, and strength.


So let's stay connected. Be safe, keep hope spreading, and...

Shalom, do not be afraid. :)

-Pastor Paul

** "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."



Bethlehem Lutheran Church
1050 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686-2799
Phone: 231.947.9880