We keep hearing on the news that plans are being made for a slow re-opening of our city and state in the next couple of months. We do not yet know what those plans might entail nor do we yet have a timeline, but that doesn't mean the church is not preparing. Quite the contrary, in fact. In the upcoming weeks, our Director of Operations and Church Life, Jolene Wade, in collaboration with our elder chair of Facilities, Buck Buchanan, are working on a plan for the facility and how we might redesign our church for a temporary "new normal."
The staff, in consultation with the elders, are also making decisions about worship, summer programs, and other group gatherings. Once we have more details, we will let you know.
That being said, as disappointing as it may be, it is not likely that we will be able to return to our large group church gatherings for quite some time. Even if the orders of shelter-in-place are lifted this month, we expect there to still be restrictions on group size and population. As we toy with different ideas (i.e. multiple gatherings of small groups on Sunday morning, hybrid models of in-person/online), please rest assured that no one will be left behind. We continue to work hard to re:imagine all of our ministries at the church and, where possible, cancellation continues to be a word stricken from our vocabulary.
Friends, there will come a time when we will gather again face-to-face in worship of our Lord. There will come a time when we will again sing songs and chuckle at our off-beat clapping. There will come a time when we will chat around tables and break bread together. And there will come a time when we will hear again the laughter of children and youth being together in community. This may happen slowly, but there will come a time. So until that time comes, let us continue to be patient and seek the Lord's guidance on who we are becoming through this shared experience.