Good Afternoon Wintergarden Family near and far!

It is July. It is hot! I pray everyone is staying well, safe, and cool! 

We gathered for worship this past Sunday in the sanctuary. We were able to practice physical distancing, wear masks, and still gather together. Blue tape was placed over the backs of the chairs to show were people could sit. Our rule was if you live together, you can sit together. Overall, we did pretty well!

Our food pantry continues to serve over 100 families a week. Our volunteers are doing an amazing job of serving our community through the heat. We appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM for all they are doing to continue one avenue of our feeding ministry. If you are able to serve, please contact Patti Neis at 941-889-9373.

Weldon, Michelle, and many new friends have been working together in the community garden and food forest. We are getting ready to order our new fruit trees AND design the food forest for our property.

On July 1, we started our Anti-Racism study. This is a study to help us understanding what is currently happening in our country and what has led to the current unrest. So far we have reviewed 13 different federal policies, with most still on the books, that have caused many disparities for people of color. We also have watched movies and videos, and we will be listening to podcasts and reading articles. Our hope is to learn and understand, so we can figure out how to move forward in a way that is helpful and healthy and life-giving. If you want to join us, please email me at Know I am not an expert in this topic, but willing and eager to learn with you!

Lamont and I are taking some time away for vacation. Hoping the mountain air will be good for our souls. With us going away, here are a few things to know over the next week. 

1. Sacred Space will only be on FACEBOOK LIVE. And it will be live at 8:30am. 8:00am was too early for folks! So we will join together virtually on July 12, and moving forward we will gather in the garden at 8:30am and on FACEBOOK LIVE.
2. Our traditional service will continue inside in the sanctuary at 9:30am. Rev. Todd Reinschmidt will be leading us in worship this Sunday. We are always blessed to have Todd join us on a Sunday!

3. Everyone will be required to wear a mask inside the building. Please bring your own mask or wear a mask provided for you at the doorway.

a. Please enter through the double glass doors and exit through the single glass door by the office. 

b. Blue tape is placed on the chairs you can sit in to honor physical distancing. You can sit next to each other if you live in the same household. 

c. We will not be singing, passing the peace, or passing the offering plate. Offering plates will be at the entrance/exit to the sanctuary. And Heather will be playing instrumentals for us for reflection. 

d. Worship will last around 45 minutes. This will give us time to clean the sanctuary together and have little interaction with passing other groups using the building. 

e. We will not have coffee or food for fellowship. And we are asking for you not to linger in the building. You are encouraged to linger and talk outside of the building.

f. If you do not feel well, please do not come to worship. We want everyone to continue to be well during this period. 

g. If available, we will take everyone’s temperature before entering worship.

h. Also written attendance will be taken.

4. For those who are not able to gather for worship, we want to still find ways to connect with you on a weekly basis. We will re-start our weekly fellowship on Sunday, July 19 at 11:00 am. Weekly Fellowship will go from 11-12 on Sundays. 

5. If there are any emergencies while I am gone, please contact one of the Care Team members in town. Currently, John Murray (239-850-2099) and Barbara Woods (941-661-2763) are in town. If you need anything, please contact them. 

As a reminder, we recognize this is going to be a challenge in many different ways for all of us. Our hope is to worship together in a way that everyone is respectful of everyone else. I know we all have differing thoughts and opinions on what is happening with COVID-19. Our goal is to protect and care for the least of these…and we don’t always know who they might be. 

In all of this, if the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase, we will stop gathering for in person worship until there is a steady decline. As of right now, we will make that decision on a week by week basis. Please stay tuned for these weekly announcements. 

Friends, take care of each other. Call one another. If you are comfortable, grab lunch with someone, make lunch for someone, or order food in. Please continue to connect with one another during this time. 

I look forward to seeing and connecting with you when we get back from our time away. Prayers for you all. And remember, no one is allowed to die and go into the ICU while we are away 🙂 So stay well and healthy!!! Remember, we are praying for you even when we are away. Love 

Please let me know if you have any questions! 

Love to you all, 
Pastor Devon