Rev. Mark Jardine
We live in challenging times. All the talk of a "new normal" only seems to heighten our fears and concerns, driving us even harder to reach for our "old normal" in life. These are heart wrenching times for all of us as we continue to engage as the church with our broken world. I am grateful for you, and proud of the way you are being the church through the generosity of your time, talent, and resources.
While our building has been closed, our congregation's discipleship continues to develop. We miss the familiar Sunday routine, our small groups and teams, and yet it has made us realize the truth: the church has never been a building. The church, this church, has never been closed and continues God's work every single day.
Many of us know the song, "We Are the Church." It's even sung from time to time in our worship services, though most of us learned it as children. Take a minute and really think about these words:
"I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus, all around the world!
Yes, we're the church together!
The church is not a building;
the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;
the church is a people."
We are the church, and while we cannot gather - we have scattered. You are on the front lines serving the needs of God's hurting people. Many of you are part of Care Teams, calling and connecting with those who do not have access to digital communication. Several among you have made masks for Epworth Villa, the Children's Hospital, the staff, and anyone who needed one. Mobile Meals has continued to serve the homebound, masked, gloved and delivering restaurant dinners. The effort by several of our favorite teachers to figure out Zoom and provide Sunday schools and small groups with online learning and fellowship is more than impressive. And even today, we got another photo (above) showing our United Methodist Women taking donations to Pivot, a group that helps young people with housing, basic needs, education and job assistance.
Project Transformation starts this week in an adapted form. Because of your generosity in our book drive our PT kids will continue to improve their reading with new books every week and school supplies and activities. And because we are sending these packets home, we will be engaging the entire family, not only the children. Without your support we would not have been able to purchase the equipment we needed to enhance our online presence. Subscriptions, online apps, switchers, cables, mics, cameras, headphones ... all because you are the church.
Finally, thank you for taking the time to complete the online survey about reopening for worship. We received 163 responses and are reviewing them as we move toward a reopening announcement. Next week we will share the survey results and begin outlining our reopen plan.
Like the song says, the church is not a "resting place," it's a "people." You. Me. All of us. It is because of your faithfulness in all these matters we can confidently continue to be the church, moving forward with trust that God will lead us where He has called us to be.