The Pastor's Page
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:1-2)
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:18-19)
We heard these words from Jesus the past two Sundays…words Jesus shared with the disciples to offer peace, and assure them that the coming crucifixion would not be the end of their time and ministry together… but would, instead, be a whole new beginning… because God always works to bring life out of death.
My heart has been troubled, and I know your hearts have been troubled too. And there have certainly been times when I have felt isolated and orphaned. It has been ten weeks since we have been able to gather in person as a church family. We were quickly thrown into a state of loss and confusion, wondering how to be a church without a building. We are apart in our homes, grieving the loss of our spiritual home…our sacred ground.
But each week we are reminded that Jesus still comes to be with us and to bring new life. I see signs everywhere that God is very active in our midst right now… using this to move us out of our comfort zones and show us how to do a new thing! Like most churches, we are continuing to worship ‘together while apart’ in the weekly on-line services. And there is evidence that more people than ever are ‘attending’ these virtual services…often people who haven’t stepped inside the church in a while. And we have found that we are able to stay connected to our extended family in wonderful new ways.
A number of folks come together on Monday mornings to see our church friends and share what’s going on in our lives. People have joined us from South Carolina, Florida and New York. If you haven’t tried yet, I hope you’ll click on the link and join us next week.
Starting May 27th, there will be a Zoom bible study for five Wednesdays at 3:00 pm. We will be using a Max Lucado study called “Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World.” We will review a chapter from the book, watch a video and discuss. I will send an invitation to join the study each week.
As we transition to a yellow phase in the State’s reopening plan, we are reviewing the appropriate guidelines, and preparing for a phased approach. While it appears it will still be a while before we gather inside the church, we are preparing to begin holding outdoor services when feasible.
We are planning a Drive-In Worship service on June 7th at 9:30 am. An announcement will be emailed out ahead of time, and the bulletin for the day will be attached so it can be printed out at home or opened on a tablet. Copies will be available to hand out, but bringing your own is preferred. Pre-packaged communion sets will be handed out as you drive in, and a place to drop in your envelopes available. You will be directed to a parking spot, and these will be staggered to maintain safe distancing.
Watch for further information as we get closer to the date. One advantage of this format is it will allow us to sing! It appears it will be a long time before we will sing together inside the building!
Discussions continue, and prayers abound, for the day we can once again open our building and worship together as the body of Christ in one place! We continue to discuss safety precautions which include: opening in phases, sanitizing measures, limiting gathering numbers, creating safe physical distancing, no touch rituals, just to name a few. Together we will discover what our ‘new normal’ will be!
Please continue to keep our church leaders lifted in prayer during this challenging time! We so appreciate your kind notes and words or encouragement! Our council will hold another ZOOM meeting on June 12th to continue to pray and discuss when it is safe to open our church building.
Also remember, that everyone might not be in agreement with the council’s plan to open the church building in the future. We are a diverse community, and each person is affected differently by this time of quarantine. We will have to agree to disagree at times and agree to show mercy and share grace with one another.
We cannot predict what will happen in the future. We know that there are still rocky roads ahead…and we’re not sure exactly where those roads may lead us. But remember Jesus’ words, “He goes to prepare a place for us…so that where he is, we might be also.” Remember that we are never alone, because Jesus is with us always… and so is your Family of Faith!
Your partner on the journey,