Church in a Time of Pandemic

Our mission has never felt as relevant as today: Connecting in love and service, growing spiritually, transforming ourselves and the world.
In record time, we’ve had to transform ourselves from a brick & mortar, relish-in-person-proximity, love-to-share-food-and-hold-hands kind of congregation into an online, phone-line, keep your physical distance kind of community. None of us know the long-term consequences the pandemic will have on us yet
at the very moment it seems to have connected us more deeply, more intimately, more lovingly than ever.

Within days, over 30 of you stepped forward to volunteer as Caring Circles Leads so all 300 households in our congregation are now connected to a circle of support and none of us will have to face this pandemic on our own. Another seven of you agreed to act as Supply Couriers to make sure needed supplies are acquired and dropped off at people’s homes. Wow! And a few households decided to opt out because they felt supported in other ways. Wonderful.

Most covenant groups and the majority of other group activities and meetings seamlessly migrated to on-line gatherings – thanks to Zoom. Even the choir continues to sing and our 6th Annual Weekend Meditation Retreat was well-attended and well-received despite the digital nature of the meditation hall. And then there is worship which has brought together more people than we’ve ever had in our physical sanctuary, folks from around the country and folks who have not been able to join us in person for years. Thanks to the Zoom meetings after the service many suddenly feel connected in whole new ways.

I have started to receive requests for extra support for congregants who have lost their income or are facing other hardships so I was delighted that the Community Plate Committee earmarked March 29th for the Pastoral Support Fund (PSF). Still I was entirely overwhelmed and close to tears when I heard the totals collected: $2,425 from 46 individuals, all online, with several donors entirely unknown to us. Amazing. And THANK YOU.

Connecting in love and service. That’s what’s showing up left and right, across generations, despite physical distance, and regardless of pre-existing familiarity and friendship. And increasingly it becomes clear that to get through this marathon, to develop the resilience we need as individuals and as a community, we also must care for our spirits, we must take seriously our aspiration to grow spiritually – through regular practice and reflection.

I miss being with you all in person yet there is a closeness that feels palpable and real. Keep those emails, social media postings, and video recordings coming. I love to know how you are doing. I love to see the creativity that keeps you going. I want to hear what inspires you and what brings you to tears.

With Love and Affection,

Michael

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