Who Is the Church?

As I reflect upon this time in our church community and indeed our world, I am reminded of a UCC phrase, “Be The Church.” We see it on banners, coffee mugs, and t-shirts. We hear it in sermons, prayers, and benedictions. I wonder how it might apply to our faith community at this time. What has it meant for us as we have withstood, survived and thrived through many challenges in our 125 year history? As I have heard the stories of our history, it is always clear to me that it is you, the people, who are the glue, the core, of First Congregational Church of Bellevue.  I am writing to you today to offer a glimpse of what it means to be a part of our community at this point in time. We are a community blessed with so many resources of talent, time, and money. We are a community blessed with people who express their love for God and neighbor through their commitments and actions. We are a community to whom other individuals and organizations reach out when they need support of any kind.
And, in this time, as Pastor Lisa continues to recover from her concussion, we are coming together to lessen her load. We are so fortunate that her recovery still allows time for worship design, sermon writing and preaching. At our in-person service last Sunday, we were delighted to hear her sermon via video on the screens in our sanctuary – the same sermon those of you watching at home were seeing.  
Our staff is prioritizing our tasks which support the mission and ministries of FCCB to ensure God’s presence is felt in the community and at the same time, to emphasize the importance of self-care for each member. Since Lisa has trusted me with the care of several additional areas of our faith community during this time, I will be acting as head of staff during her recovery. In addition to pastoral care, I will be supervising a portion of our staff, conducting the in-person Sunday morning worship service, and providing support to our Stewardship and Membership Committees.  
Now, what about Pastor Lisa? Obviously and primarily, Lisa continues to heal. She will be working half time, mostly in the mornings as she continues to bring her vision to the design of our worship services, themes which inspire us, and sermons which motivate us. She continues to be in conversation with our Staff, Executive Committee and Church Council.  
In last week’s ECall, our Moderator Jim Bechtold asked what each of you would be willing to do to support the work of the church. And, as a result, I want to say thank you to those who have stepped up. One of our goals for this year is to live into our vision of becoming a hybrid church. To succeed in reaching this goal, we need help. We need greeters for our virtual worship services, hosts for our virtual coffee hour, lectors to read scripture from your living rooms or from our pulpit.  We even need a volunteer or two to coordinate the volunteer recruitment. These are just a few of our needs.  We are the First Congregational Church of Bellevue, a community which has grown its membership, sustained its work in the community, during a pandemic which has closed the doors, virtual and otherwise, of other faith communities. I invite you to prayerfully consider what commitment you feel called to make to our faith community at this time.  
In Service,

Pastor Patty

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