Hello Church Family,
Even as we step into Phase 1 of re-entering the new normal, this new way of living–of doing literally EVERYTHING in and from our homes, feels brand new and at the same time, like we have been doing this forever. At this time, we have held virtual worship services nine consecutive Sundays, consisting of Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and two Communion Sundays. We have enjoyed uplifting musical pieces, beautiful imagery of nature, and inspiring messages. We have been invited into one another’s homes and surrounding areas through the videos of different aspects of worship. Our hearts have been uplifted as lay readers of all ages have read the scripture to us, as musicians have interacted with their instruments. Instead of being greeted at our welcome table in the church’s atrium, we announce ourselves in the comments section on Facebook and receive a welcome from those already gathered in the room. Our quiet, yet bold faith in prayer and offering gratitude has transformed into a public witness as joys and concerns are shared during the virtual worship service. We even “hear” the occasional “amen” now and again during worship.
As the Body of Christ, our outreach efforts have only increased during this time of great need. When we reach out to those in need as the Body of Christ, we exercise a very important spiritual muscle. It is a muscle which grows stronger with every flex and a muscle which requires rest and self care. Many behaviors provide the necessary treatment needed by us as individuals and as a faith community–whether praying, singing, walking, talking, giving or receiving–each of these practices strengthen us and our neighbor as we move through this liminal time. Our Social Justice Class has been focusing its discussion on different aspects of justice for our earth, for the oppressed and is exploring avenues to increase our impact in these areas. Last week, our Immigrant Welcoming Discussion gathered to decide upon actions we can take to live into our identity as an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation and offer support to immigrants working in the fields and orchards.
In addition to our outreach efforts, a healthy community also engages in “in reach” activities. In addition to our Sunday coffee hour zoom room gatherings, many of our small groups are gathering virtually during the week and engaging with one another. Several groups are meeting on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis to offer support to one another–our Women In Transition (WIT), Prayer Shawl Knitting Group, Bell Choir, Adult Choir, a Mom’s Group, a Men’s Group and our Stephen Ministers. Our Executive Committee and Church Council continue to meet monthly to discuss the business of the church.
It has been said many times that the church is larger than a brick and mortar building. As the Body of Christ, no matter where we gather or do the work of the church, “We Are The Church.” We are a church richly blessed with the resources of time, talents and gifts. It is my hope and prayer that through the support we provide to one another and the service and love we bring to the world, that we will be known as a flexing muscle, as beloved children of God and as Christians. May God be with us as we do the work of the church.
In Great Hope,