April 20, 2020
Greetings and Peace!
I thank and praise God for all y’all every day! I do so miss you and I know from all the messages, postings, and emails…You miss everyone as well!
When the Session and I met in March to take action and suspend onsite worship services, meetings, and outside gatherings we never envisioned weeks of an empty tomb! We knew we wanted to keep everyone safe and make sure we did our part to keep Covid-19 from spreading.
We are blessed that the Session all y’all elected and ordained into service had the foresight to move to the forefront the move to broadcast worship services live and recorded as well as bible studies and other educational events. They not only had the foresight, but they backed up their decisions with the resources and commitment to do so. If you have had the opportunity to worship with us (by all the data, most of you are!) and compare us with the majority of churches we are leading the curve and blazing the way. Jodie and Matt have provided us with professional quality productions and services.
We really have not even missed a step! Session even figured out a way to do communion (even before the denomination had tackled the issue) and we will continue that process for future dates. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter worship services were not the “normal” but I feel they were meaningful and worshipful. No one had to miss anything, and they participated when they wanted, where they wanted, and how they wanted! Heck, I heard that there were some of you worshiping with coffee in hand and your feet were up on an ottoman and some were still in their pajamas!
I think that this “social distancing” or “hunkering down” has enabled us to get back to some basics, realize our loses, and not take for granted the people around us. God has perhaps opened our eyes, minds, hearts, and souls to what is important and allowed us to purge those things that are not.
One of the elements that has come of this is that we realize that Easter is not a day but a season. Oh sure, it is fifty days, but we now realize that every Sunday is Easter Sunday! That the tomb is empty and that he has risen! We realize that Easter was a very lonely and individual event. We realize that Easter was and is for all of humankind to be a celebration but perhaps not a huge celebration; for me the Eastertide has become a time to look forward to a Pentecost celebration worthy of its meaning!
My hope, the Session’s hope, is that we will be gathering sooner than later but we are going to be cautious and smart. We will not let our emotions get in the way of being rational. We will listen to God and allow God to use us to continue to be a guiding light and beacon of hope to the community of believers and the community at large.
We pray you continue to watch, share, and engage in our social media locations. Please continue to focus on our worship services, bible studies, and our various postings (haven’t you enjoyed Tim’s daily concerts?) Please continue to encourage your friends and family to watch on our three different locations; Website (Live), YouTube and Facebook.
I am also encouraged that a good number of you are reaching out to each other to check in on each other. I know that you are writing notes and calling each other as well. THANK YOU!
I want to thank all y’all for continuing your tithing and giving. Many of you have signed up for recurring giving, and even more have moved to a form of electronic giving; bank draft, ACH, and through text to give. You can also give by simply clicking on the donate buttons on Facebook or our Website. Of course, mailing your checks in to the office works as well! Your generosity has enabled us to continue most of our operations especially from a personnel standpoint. WE ARE TRULY BLESSED!
Your generosity, your commitment, your continued participation is appreciated. I also want to thank the staff; Nikki, Tim, Jodie, Johnny, and Luke. They have been creative, faithful, and totally committed to serving you and continuing their ministries that each are called to!
Please stay safe, wash your hands, and keep your distance! We will get through this “Alone…Together”!