Who or what do you trust? That’s the question for this Sunday in worship. This month we are doing a sermon series called “A Year of…” and I am wondering whether the year ahead can be A Year of Trust.
I think about the moments when my children were small and I stood in the swimming pool and urged them to jump in and shouted: “I will catch you.” I was asking them to trust me. Trust is the “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” My children gathered up all the childhood courage they could muster and they jumped. And I was there and I did catch them.
Our currency says “In God we trust” and we trust that when we hand a dollar bill over the counter, the cashier or the barista or the person at the dry cleaner counter will hand us our groceries or our coffee or our dry cleaning.
“Trust me,” we say to a friend, and then we offer our advice or opinion.
This week at WDMUMC trust is playing out in a curious way. Our church is open most days from 7 am to 8 pm. Our staff comes and goes. Church members and human services groups enter the building all day carrying our various tasks and ministries. During the week, 150 children ages 2-6 attend our preschool.
In the last few years, we have come to question whether we can trust this sort of openness. We have not had any major incidents. We have had minor acts of vandalism, very minor acts. Occasionally during the day, our staff has encountered a person wandering in the building. We take precautions.
If you have visited a public school lately, you know that schools have taken security seriously. In order to enter schools, you typically have to be buzzed in. Corporate offices have taken similar action. A key or a code or a fob is required to enter.
Our church has a Safety and Security Team. For the last year, the team has investigated the security needs of our church. They have called in experts, including our insurance reps and the West Des Moines Police Department, to assess our risks and to offer advice. The experts advised us that our most important asset is our people and the most vulnerable of our people are our children.
In order to protect our preschool children and those in the building in general, at the advice of our Safety and Security Team, WDMUMC is installing an electronic access system. That means there will be times when our doors will be locked and people can only enter by using a code or being buzzed in. The goal is to prevent someone from simply walking in and harming the people in our building. The system is being installed this week. We hope to have it up and running later this month.
Initially, the system will be in use primarily during preschool hours to ensure the safety of the children. During times when lots of people are entering the building, like Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, the system will be shut off and everyone will have full access.
How will this work? What will it mean for you if you come to the church during the day to prepare a meal or meet your covenant group? We will be working through the calendar and determining what sort of access works best for which groups. The system we are using is pretty sophisticated. One group may have a code, others may have personal codes. Others may simply press a button and be buzzed in. We will implement accessibility step by step as the system is activated. Stay tuned and trust that the staff is working through this new system. We want to be a welcoming place. We want people to be able to carry out ministries. I am sorry we have to take this action, but I think it is the right action.
Trust. That was the question this midweek began with. I believe trust, “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” is essential to healthy living. We each need a solid place we can trust. On Sunday, I will preach about trust. You know I will ask us to trust God. The challenge is how we trust God in a world that so often feels threatening.
Reply to this email and share your thoughts about trust if you like.
I am trusting in your good hearts and good intentions,
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines Iowa 50265
Like us on Facebook or visit us at wdmumc.org.
We worship on Sunday mornings at 8:30 in a traditional way and at 11 in a casual way. You are invited. And now—watch our services at 8:30 live streaming.
Bar Church! This Sunday at 1 at Twisted Vine! Meet and be the church in the world.
Annual Meeting and Dinner February 1! We will thank our retiring leaders and consecrate our new leaders and set our course for the year ahead. The meeting begins at 4:45 and supper follows at 6. Childcare is available. Reply to this email if you plan to attend.
Women’s Retreat! February 21. We will be traveling to the Prairie Woods Retreat Center for 24 hours of soul bliss. The retreat starts at 6 pm on Friday and ends at 6 pm on Saturday. Contact Pastor Cindy or Morganne if you would like to go along. The cost is $90 and scholarships are available. Check out Prairie Woods at https://prairiewoods.org/.