We are in an uncertain time filled with worry, stress, and fear. I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed much of the day. How wonderful it is that we follow a God who says, “Come unto me all who are weary” (Matthew 11:28) and “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:25)! I know I need these reminders of God’s grace and providence in the midst of this storm of life.
I write today with an announcement about the plans coming together for reopening our church. At the last Church Council meeting, our Council Chair Brad Fuller, assigned me to form and lead our Healthy Church Team. This team is charged with implementing the Conference’s guidelines for reopening churches. The Bishop appointed a taskforce which put together a plan for all churches to follow and our Healthy Church Team has begun to work through the necessary steps to make that a reality. This is a wonderful gift from our Denomination that comes as a direct result of our connectional nature. I am so thankful for the guidance from our leaders who will help us to do this as safely as possible.
The Healthy Church Team will proceed with their work under the three rules of John Wesley: (1) Do no harm, (2) Do good, and (3) Stay in love with God. These will be our guiding principles as we work through the plan and find our new normal. Your Healthy Church Team is comprised of the following individuals:
- Josh Blakely – Worship Chair
- Patti Wagner – Lay Leader, Nurse
- Jo Smith – Worship Committee
- Mary Jane Cook – Staff/Parish Chair
- Kevin and Kaitlin Callihan – Music Directors
- Gordon Ring – Organist
- MARY ANNE PRUIT
- Rev. Lyndsie Blakely – Minister of Youth
- Rev. Michael Kendall – Senior Pastor
Friends – church is going to look different for a while. The guidelines released by the Conference mandate certain strict steps to be able to safely worship with one another. We need to prepare for this reality now and many of you will have parts to play in this. While I long for the time when we can stand shoulder to shoulder with each other belting out the Hallelujah chorus, that time is long in our future. Distance, face coverings, and creative ways to incorporate music will be our new normal for some time. None of this changes the most important thing in our faith – Jesus Christ is still Lord. Whether we proclaim this from behind a mask or from 6 feet away from each other, this does not change the fact that Jesus was resurrected and reigns on the throne. Our modes of worship may need to shift but the object of our worship remains the same.