I pray you and your family are well. What a week this has been! As a nation, as a state, as a community, and as a church we have taken many unprecedented measures this week in an effort to protect our public’s health. These measures have likely changed the landscape of our work life and our home life, while creating new modes of communication. It is possible to feel isolated and alone or confined and unable to create space. As I have spoken with many of you, I have heard your voices speak of gratitude for time with family and of fear for loss of jobs (yours and others). I have heard your concern for others in our church who are alone and for families, who now must learn how to educate from home. I have also heard your praise of the healthcare workers who forsake of themselves to care for others. Your hearts have been open and your prayers have been evident.
I have cherished our conversations and I will continue to reach out until I have called everyone on our roster. I am averaging about five calls a day. If you need me before I have been able to speak with you, please do not hesitate to call. Also, on Sunday evening, members of our Church Council will be taking on the role of Care Contacts. They will each have about ten names to contact throughout the week and will report back any needs, concerns, praises, or notes to our group. We will work together to ensure our community remains in close contact and communication is heightened during this time of physical distancing.
We have been working very hard to provide worship services that evoke a feeling of being present together in our building, looking out over God’s glorious creation. Gavin has been relied upon quite heavily over the last two weeks to make that happen. I am quite thankful for his late nights and dedication in creating those videos for us all to experience. Terri has also been very helpful in providing music and working with Gavin to create and inspire. Julie is thinking outside the box for ways to bring our choir into your homes on Sunday mornings. Many others are working to maintain settings, create children spaces, and prayer gatherings. This is new to many of us and we are learning as we go.
It has been decided at the level of the Bishop that we will not be back in the Church building until the first weekend in May at the earliest. This means that our Holy Week and Easter Services will be done virtually. This means we will worship in a new way and do our best to be together while remaining physically distant. I would be remiss if I did not add that Sally has worked to have a difficult discussion with P&M Gardens to cancel our flower orders and they have agreed to let us out of our purchase agreement. But, they will bear the brunt of the surplus flowers. If you would support them this spring, I think that would be a wonderful show of our thanks as a church community.
Each day something changes. Every plan needs to be revised. New skills need to be developed and new methodologies explored. But, amidst all of this, there is one true constant, “That God so loved the world that He gave his only Son.” (John 3:16) Let the promise of God’s constant presence warm your hearts and give you comfort. Let the gift of the Holy Spirit hold you and give you peace. Find the brightness of God’s grace in conversation and in deeds. We are not alone in this. You are not alone in this. God’s glory and goodness will prevail, maybe in the most unexpected of ways.