May 19th Pastoral Message

0519pm

Grace and peace to you from the Triune God. It has been two months since the leadership team of this congregation made the difficult decision to move all of our ministries online and cease all in-person activities. This decision was done out of love and care for our community and our neighbors. Shortly after that decision was made, we witnessed our country and world be ravaged by COVID-19. Slews of emergency orders, federal legislation, school board decisions, summer camp closures, and public health recommendations have turned many of our lives upside down.

It is with this same commitment to loving and caring for our community and neighbors that your leadership team wishes to communicate that we will continue to worship online and virtually at least through the end of the summer, refraining from in-person gatherings.

As I write this letter to you, I can feel tears welling up from within me. I miss you. I miss our gathered community. I miss the laughter and silliness of our children. I miss the smiles exchanged after worship. I miss singing with you all and praising God. I lament the many ways that you are grieving and missing what your lives looked like just a few short months ago. We are called as Christians to make difficult decisions for the sake of the common good. As disciples of Christ, we will experience suffering. And yet, Christ suffers with us.

This decision was made in consultation with church officials, national church bodies, and public health experts. The realities are that what the church does together in worship are some of the most dangerous activities for viral spread: gathering many different households together in a common space for a length of time to speak, sing, and share a meal together. We have seen churches around the country that have reopened in the past few weeks and needed to close again due to their members becoming infected, leading to quick spread and death.

As a church, we are a people gathered around God’s Word and the sacraments. We have been faithful in centering ourselves around God’s Word these past two months, and will continue to do so. I would like to assure you that I am working diligently on a plan to celebrate and share Eucharist with you this summer, as soon as legal provisions allow.

Thank you, dear church. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your financial generosity. Thank you for your engagement. Thank you for your patience. I’d like to invite you to contact me with any questions you may have. I will also carve out some time during our Zoom coffee hour this Sunday (May 24) after worship to answer any questions you may have.

I would like to leave you with the words of Jesus to his disciples in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In the deep, abiding love of Christ,

Pastor Kyle

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