The more things change, the more they stay the same. That saying has meant a great number of things over the years. More often than not, it has been used by exasperated people needing to vent a little bit. However, I use it for a completely different reason. Some things in the world have changed a lot in a short time. Maybe, the world has changed more than we ever thought possible. But, even though many things have changed, some of the most important parts of our lives have stayed the same. As we make the best out of the “safer at home” lifestyle, the basics of life are the same. Our needs for nutrition, exercise, relationships with our circles of family and friends, and our need to stay informed have not changed. This holds true for our church. Historically, this church has been known for three major actions: worship, Christian education, and community service (mission).
We have begun webcasting worship. It seemed the only way to reach as many households as possible with our message of hope. It has been our design to keep the service as similar as possible to the regular worship service that you have experienced in the sanctuary. We felt that it would be comforting, that life may change but God’s presence remains the same. The Session is
currently considering if continuing webcasting is right for our congregation after we can gather in person again. In the meantime we have a service that will continue to look and feel much like a usual worship service. I am thankful to Ernie B,, Mary Z., the chatters, and our
worship team for making so much happen so quickly. And, the service seems to get better every week!
Christian education is a many-layered ministry for the church. It is where we have the opportunity to learn the depth of God’s love for us; we can grow to trust God more and even test the waters of ministry by getting involved with teaching. Our Sunday school leaders are unsung heroes of faith in regular times. Over the past several weeks, they have shined! Many of the teachers have worked to bring regular lessons into the homes of their students. The teachers have been writing cards, sending curriculum, and even taking virtual field trips by video recording lessons in fun locations. I am very pleased to say that we even had a new student enroll in our Sunday school this past month! Take that COVID-19!
Mission (outreach) has been the defining feature of our church for many. For years we have invested in our community and the world with time, energy, and funds. Our major outreach since the last newsletter went out has also changed but stayed the same. We have long helped to provide groceries to people in need. Considering many of our church members meet the at-risk criteria, it is better for many regularly able-bodied people to have their groceries delivered. Your church has risen to meet that need. Curiously enough, we have more people willing to shop for others than those who are wanting items delivered!
Worship, Christian education, community service: These things may have changed but have also stayed the same. And, in many ways, we are reaching out more and further than before. I find that remarkable. It tells me that God is working in our community to heal the world. It has always been a truism that the church has done its best work in times of adversity. The past several weeks have proved this time and again. When we respond to adversity in faith, hope, and love we see God’s work healing the world show through!
The Session will soon consider what our ministry will look like in the next phase. It will be quite some time before we are all able to worship together under one roof. Many, and perhaps all, of the summer fellowship gatherings may be cancelled. The Session has been called and ordained for the task of leading the church. We can trust that God will work through them. As our future becomes more clear, please stay tuned to emails from the office and newsletters for the best information. They are our official means of communication. Facebook is also a good source for late-breaking news.
In closing, know that I have a church directory on my desk. It is my prayer list. I think about each of you; I pray for each of you by name. You are precious to the God that created you. You are precious to the shepherd that journeys with you toward that good God.
Grace and peace,