Greetings Friends of Hope UMC,

This Sunday, October 3rd from 6:00 – 7:30 PM, we will be hosting a church-wide conversation around the idea of LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness, the greater United Methodist Church’s potential split over this matter, and what this means for the future of our congregation. Your presence and input at this event has deep value to God, to our congregation, and to me. I think it essential for our whole church to recognize the wideness of perspective within our own congregation of Christ Followers and to grasp the depth of the dilemma we are facing. 

I understand there are many within our ranks that find this a difficult discussion to have, some that feel we shouldn’t discuss it at all, and some that don’t know why we haven’t been talking about it for years. With this issue having such a major potential impact on our church and on the whole church, I consider it negligent to ignore it any longer, as it would be hurtful to the church if a split or decision or vote were brought before us without first exploring the matter itself. 

To be certain: 
-There will be no vote taken at this meeting, and there will be no moment in which any person will be asked to proclaim where they stand on this matter. 
-The goal is for each person in our church to understand the fullness of the matter at hand, to hear questions from the congregation that may help us all better understand this matter.
-Your attendance does not affirm your standing on either side of this issue.
-While we would greatly prefer your physical presence at this meeting, we understand we have many who are unable to attend but would still like to participate. For you we are offering this meeting on Zoom. Zoom participants will be muted at all times, but are welcome to enter questions in the chat feature. The chat room will be monitored and your questions will be read by the host for the whole group to hear. To join the Zoom meeting click this link –>> HOPE ZOOM MEETING

Again, our primary goal is NOT to debate the issue of sex or sexuality, but to prepare ourselves for the future by understanding the questions and decisions we may soon face. We will discuss the Greater Church’s current and potential options, our Michigan Conference’s standing, the routes that may be offered to Hope UMC in the future, and the essential roles you will have in our church’s future.

I look forward to a grace-filled dialogue. Who better to model how to have difficult conversation, in a holy manner, than a room full of Christ followers!? As always, please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Thanks and Blessings, 
Nate Starkey, Pastor
Covid-19 Update September 2021
Greetings and Blessings to you, friends of Hope UMC,

 A reminder of the changes beginning this Sunday 9/19:

Wear a mask. Beginning immediately, masks are required to be worn by all who enter the building, when meeting in a group of more than 15 people. Please also be aware of people’s personal space and limit contact between yourself and those not of your own household. 

Spread out. Beginning Sunday, September 19th, all worship services will again be held in Reese Hall, that we may continue to gather while keeping sufficient personal distancing.

If you have any symptoms, please stay home, get tested, and follow established protocols. 

Seek medical advice on topics like masking, vaccinations, and how to keep yourself healthy from your personal medical doctor, not the media.
In-Person Worship will begin again in
March 2021
We are excited to announce that we will resume in-person worship this month! Starting March 28 (Palm Sunday), Sunday worship services will be held in Reese Hall at 8:30am and 10:30am. Please note the times as they are slightly different than before. While in the building we will continue to follow the strictest guidelines for stopping the spread of Covid-19 by always
wearing masks over mouth and nose, keeping physical distance, and all the others we’ve come to know and love.
We are excited to be together again, and especially glad to celebrate Easter together, but we do not want to play a part in perpetuating the problem. We will continue to closely monitor our area’s infection rates, and will offer indoor worship unless numbers start to tick upward. Once again, we will need a full slate of volunteers to help with the flow of people and the service (i.e. attendance, hosts, handouts, clean-up, operating the screen, sound, etc.) We are confident in the Congregation of Hope UMC being a shining example of how to do church well in such a time as this!
Though our Sunday ZOOM Worship sessions will end on March 21, we will continue to offer alternative ways for people to connect with God and our church through relevant weekly video messages.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Pastor Nate with any comments, questions, concerns, or ways you can help at 586.229.5767 or
Church Has Left the Building – November 18, 2020

This message is to inform you of our immediate changes with regard to in-person gatherings, and our plan to grow closer to God and to each other while remaining physically distant. There is a lot of information here, and it is all important to the life and future of the church. Please take time to read through it carefully, mark events on your calendars, take notes, save and share this email, and open your heart to where God may be calling you to invite, connect, grow, and serve in new ways. 

Through this time we trust in God’s promises, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28). For this purpose, we offer ourselves as vessels of God’s grace, that the love of Christ may be fully revealed in our community, in our lives, and in our hearts. We appreciate your understanding, flexibility, and willingness to do old things in new ways. May we see and prove the true power of the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and change lives, as we share the good news of Christ Jesus in these new ways:

All in-person gatherings, worship services, small groups, leadership and committee meetings, and bible studies are suspended until further notice. Pastoral meetings, family consultations, times to express prayer concerns, and the like are possible by appointment. Pastor Nate can be reached via phone at (586) 229-5767 or email:

While encouraged to work from home when possible, staff and volunteers may continue to serve in the building. If you must be in the building, you must wear a mask (unless you are alone in your office) and remain physically distant from others who may also be in the building. 
We are blessed to offer a multitude of options for continued worship and praise throughout this season.

Recorded services will continue to be offered by phone and video. We are working to incorporate times of music, prayer, and scripture from a variety of people in the church. If you are a musician, singer, or liturgist, or if you have a prayer, story, or testimony you want to share, please contact pastor Nate. We would like to schedule recording sessions in the church with you, so your clips may be woven into the worship videos.

Church on Zoom! Starting immediately, we will be offering a time of worship and prayer every Sunday at 10am, on Zoom. Weekly Invitations will go out by email to all, so be sure your contact info with the church is up to date.  If you are available to read scripture, play music, or lead prayer (live or recorded) please let Pastor Nate know, and we will work it into the services. 
To join in our time of worship, Sundays at 10am, you may click here   or by calling at (312) 626 6799 
Meeting ID: 943 0875 4765

Advent We will be Gathering for OUTDOOR WORSHIP SERVICES throughout the Christmas Season! We will meet on Sundays (November 29 and December 6, 13, & 20) and on Christmas Eve (Thursday, Dec 24th) at 7pm. We will gather (without getting too close to each other) around the Big Christmas Tree, near the playground. We will sing a familiar Christmas hymn or song together! (with masks on), read scripture, pray, and sing again! Our time together will be relatively brief (20-30 minutes), so come bundled up, bring a chair if you need it, and be ready to celebrate the season in a special way! You may also remain in your parked car and tune in to the service on the radio. 

Indoor worship services are suspended through the remainder of  2020, with hopes of resuming indoors early in 2021, pending a significant case rate decrease of Covid-19. 

Your generosity continues to testify to the blessings in your life and our call to be a blessing to others. We encourage you in your tithing relationship with the God, and in your offerings to the church. Our willingness to part with worldly treasures creates space in our lives to experience the treasures of heaven, and our generosity gives witness to the work God is doing in the world. Donations can be mailed to the church at HOPE UMC 69941 Elkhart Rd, Edwardsburg, MI 49112 or given online at

We are also looking forward to offer some special opportunities to boast on God’s grace in generosity through our Edwardsburg Food Pantry Partnership. (Hint: Stuff-A-Bus!) Stay tuned!

We are keenly aware of how difficult it is for so many to remain at a distance from friends, family, neighbors, and the church. We have seen the emotional and spiritual damage that can take place when such essential parts of life are removed. Our role as the church, to remain connected to one another in God’s Spirit of Love is more important now than ever, and must adapt to the circumstances we face. We are forming a team of people committed to keeping this connection alive and well by reaching out to and checking in on every person within Hope’s reach. We are blessed to have Corey Sheets, Chris Edgerton, and Jim Weingart leading these essential efforts. If you can help with this great act of being the body of Christ by caring for the people of the church, please let us know by contacting the church at 269-663-5321 x 9 or emailing, our by writing Jim W. directly at

“Now, more than ever” seems to be the running line of urgency for all things. But, truly, now, more than ever, we are being called by God to deepen our faith by exploring our understanding of what it means to be followers of Christ, and to applying those understandings to real life. If you are currently connected to a discipleship group, we encourage you to remain connected throughout this season.  If you are a leader of a small group, or feel called to be, you may use the church’s Zoom account to host meetings, or contact Pastor Nate to consider other inventive ways to remain in touch with groups. If you are looking for an opportunity to connect for a time of scripture, discussion, and prayer we invite you, starting this week, to Join in on Thursdays via Zoom,
Thursdays At 10am by clicking or by calling (312) 626 6799 
Meeting ID: 934 5766 7919   Passcode: 933686
Or Thursdays at 7pm, by clicking or call (312) 626 6799
Meeting ID: 995 8268 6836   Passcode: 831906

As always, I am open to your comments, questions, and concerns. Please feel free to reach out. I thank you again for your patience, flexibility, understanding, and willingness to be the church in new ways. 
May God continue to bless us in ways we may never fully understand.
And may the Peace of Christ fill our hearts.
Indoor Worship Update – November 4, 2020

Greetings to you in Christ. I write today to inform you and encourage you to inform others, of our current plan for indoor, in-person worship services. Please share this information with other friends of the church that may not have or use email.


-In-person Worship services for Sunday, November 8th and Sunday, November 15th are cancelled due to illness.

-We hope to re-open on Sunday, November 22nd, pending the wellness of our staff, volunteers, and congregants. Other factors that will play into our decision to re-open include the up-tick rate of positive covid cases in our area and the status of Edwardsburg Schools. If the case rates continue to grow exponentially, and/or the Edwardsburg School District Closes, we will remain closed for congregational worship.

-Other previously scheduled events may continue, with all participants wearing masks and remaining physically distanced. Try to keep groups under 20 people, and use the largest room possible.

-Again, we are hoping to re-start congregational worship on Sunday, November 22nd. To reduce the number of people gathering in one place, at one time, we will no longer be offering a ‘Traditional’ service and a ‘Modern’ Service. Both the 8:00 am and the 10:30 am services will just be ‘Church!’, and both services will be structured the same and share the same music. If you are a musician, liturgist, audio/video support, greeter, host, clean-up, etc., please be ready to either do both services on a Sunday, or reach out to another volunteer to cover your role in the service you are not attending.

-If you have any symptoms of illness, or if you are not comfortable gathering yet, we encourage you to stay home. God loves you, and so do we!


INDOOR WORSHIP SERVICES will begin on Sunday, October 4, 2020
Sundays, 8:00 am and 10:30 am, in Reese Hall (Bldg#2)

Here are a few notes to help us all know what to expect as we enter in to this next season of change. Our protocols are in place to prevent/reduce the potential spread of disease which is significantly more harmful to those who have compromised immune systems. We ask for everyone’s cooperation in following the protocols as a caring act of love toward the most vulnerable folks within our church and community.
-Please allow one of our hosts to lead you to and from your seats, before and after the service. Our volunteers and staff have worked hard to prepare the space, intentionally arranging seat clusters to allow for the most possible people while maintaining distance. Please sit only with those with whom you already live and/or travel. Wear a mask.
-“…a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces”. In this season, we ask that you refrain embracing. Please avoid handshakes, hugs, and hi-fives. Please be conscious of limiting hand–to–surface contact. We will clean all chairs and most common surfaces before, between, and after services, but you efforts in this area help significantly.
-Children are welcome to attend. We ask their adults to stay with their children and try to limit their travel within the building. Also, consider bringing a bag of quiet comforts; coloring books, soft toys, etc.
-This will not feel like ‘normal’ yet, but we will try to incorporate some elements to get close to it. While we will not be participating in corporate/congregational singing, we hope to have musicians sharing familiar melodies to carry us through the more prayerful portions of our worship service. The 8am service will be a traditional style, with mostly piano music. The 10:30am service will have a more modern feel.
-If you are willing and able to help with this effort in any way, we are in need of volunteers to help with seating and dismissing people, as well as folks to help with clean-up between services.
-Like all of life, this is a participate-at-your-own-risk event. We will try to our greatest abilities to provide a clean and safe worship space. If you are uncomfortable or unable to join us physically, we will continue to cast the live service audio to the parking lot on 88.3 fm. You may call and listen to the message at any point in the week at (269) 215-0027. You may also watch the message on video here on our website or on our Facebook page
-If Edwardsburg Schools stop in-person activities, if there is a significant uptick in our area’s case numbers, or if positive cases arise within our congregation, we will go back to online worship services until further notice.
-I am sure there is more. Wear a mask. Smile with your eyes. Love one another well. God’s grace is amazing and yours is essential in doing this well.
Lastly, a huge “THANK YOU!!” to our staff, our leadership team, our volunteers, and to YOU,
for all of your thought, prayer, preparation, and work! Way to go Church!
All my Love, Pastor Nate Starkey
Any questions about events can be directed to either:
The Church Office at 269-663-5321
Pastor Nate at 586-229-5767