The Weekly Pastor’s Corner 8/20/20
We are approaching the day when we will worship Jesus together in person—September 13, 2020! By the end of this week, the Regathering Team will have completed the semi-final draft of our plan for Sunday worship services at Gray’s Event Center. The Vestry, staff, and ministry leaders will review the draft next week, and on August 30 we will spend four hours at Gray’s with the plan in hand, making any necessary adjustments. The next day we’ll send the final draft to Bishop John for his approval. Once we have heard back from Bishop John, we will communicate the details to the Immanuel family.
Safety, simplicity, and faithful worship are the primary factors guiding our choices in developing this plan. As we have worked on these details, please know that we have consulted the Diocese and a number of other churches, read articles and recommendations from various sources, communicated with medical professionals, and asked the Lord for wisdom. While the resulting guidelines mean that our weekly services will differ from what we’ve experienced in the past, they also ensure we provide a reasonably safe environment for regathering. Risks due to COVID will remain, of course, so each individual, couple, and family will need to make wise decisions that take into account their unique situations. Remember that the service will be available online via livestream, and recorded for later viewing as well.
Additionally, we will continue to provide opportunities for Holy Eucharist from Reserved Sacrament via Zoom. We held two of these services last week, and all who participated spoke of how significant it was to receive the Body of Christ in this way. We will offer these services again next week; please read below for details.
Finally, plans are coming together for the fall with regard to new initiatives in prayer, service, and outreach, alongside the usual Immanuel ways of loving others – “Back to School Blessing” on September 06, the Women’s and Men’s Bible Studies, the ministries of CCoM, and the Backpacks for Kids, to name a few. And, of course, Melissa and Jordan continue preparing formation opportunities for children and youth.
I share all this with you not only to keep you informed, but to encourage you that in the midst of these long, isolating days of COVID, the Spirit continues shaping, inspiring, and motivating the people of Immanuel. This exhortation from Hebrews is compelling:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10.23-25)
We live this by participating in the online services and in the opportunities shared in the Weekly, and by continuing to pursue each other through all the phone calls, emails, Facebook and Instagram postings, and creative visits that I keep hearing are happening within our community.
Continue responding to Jesus in this way, and be ready to invite others!
Your Pastor in Christ,