Updated: Sep 10
I have several updates to share with you this week, Immanuel Family, and thought it would be clearest to do so bullet style:
· Re-gathering at Gray’s Event Center: The Vestry has reviewed our plans for reopening, and on August 30 a number of us will do a practice set-up and walk-through of the service to work out the remaining kinks. God willing, the final plans will come to you via email and letter the following week.
· Mortgage Application: Chloellen and Bob, our Move Team co-chairs, have established a timeline and task list, preparing us for approaching a bank in early October to request a mortgage. Several of those items on the list are already accomplished, one of which is the Vestry approval of updated Church Bylaws.
· Melissa Byers Shifting to Part-time: Melissa, our Children’s Minister, writes, “Due to COVID 19 and schools being virtual, I have made the decision to reduce my hours to part time. I am still fully committed to the families at Immanuel and am looking forward to continuing to serve Immanuel Kids as we begin to regather together.” Melissa will also continue guiding Backpacks for Kids.
· Back to School Blessing, September 6: Students, educators, administrators, school staff, and parents-who-never-wanted-to-be-but-now-are-teachers-and-tutors — choose something symbolic of the upcoming school year (books? laptops? pencils/pens? Tylenol?), bring it before your screens on Sunday, September 6, and prepare your hearts to receive a blessing for this unique academic year. I have to admit, I’ll feel a bit like a televangelist asking you to hold your items before a screen for a blessing, but we know that wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, he is present to accomplish the work of our Father! And children and youth — be watching your mailbox for a gift from Melissa and Jordan to carry with you into this school year.
· Tilling the Soil — Five Weeks of Prayer: Beginning September 6, I’m inviting you into five weeks of prayer for our neighborhoods and counties. Drawing on themes from Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus – a city and culture with issues similar to our own – we will pray weekly in our homes and through prayerwalking, asking Jesus to intervene in the lives of our neighbors. We’ll share what we’re hearing from the Spirit through several Zoom gatherings, in preparation for inviting people to church (never easier, since it’s online!) and/or to a book study. More on this in the days to come!
Finally, I ask that you continue praying for the family of Thomas Unger. I’ve learned how dear Steve, Lynette and their children are to Immanuel, and I know the grief they feel is shared by this community. Jesus himself wept at the death of the young man Lazarus. We join him in crying with the Unger’s, even as we cling to Jesus who says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” Our hearts are with the Unger family; our hope is in Christ.
Your Pastor in Christ,