The Ushers will NOT pass among us.
That was a phrase I often mistyped when scripting an invitation for the offering. I was attempting to say “The ushers will NOW pass among us.” It’s only one letter different, but what a difference one letter makes! Little did I know that one day my mistake would turn into reality. The ushers will NOT pass among us with offering plates -- maybe never again, even when we return.
I cannot count how many people have expressed a fondness for participating in Sunday worship while relaxing at the kitchen table with their morning coffee. And I am deeply grateful for the way people have maintained that spiritual disciple of Sunday worship (or Monday or Tuesday). Our staff is working hard to offer engaging, meaningful weekly worship along with daily meditation, music and fellowship opportunities. But gathering face-to-face is part of the church’s DNA. So while we attempt to embrace the novelty of our on-line events, I very much look forward to the day when we can safely gather in person!
We don’t know when it will be safe again. We’ve already decided that we will not be open for the month of May. We are not sure about the summer months either. It appears the metric for when it is “safe” will ultimately be left up to each individual once the governmental restrictions are fully lifted. Our leaders will determine when the church will open, first for small gatherings. But you will ultimately decide when you feel safe to return in person. Please keep in mind we must balance your tolerance for risk with the safety concerns of our staff.
Because there are so many people at risk in our church community who can join us on-line, we are investing in some new equipment and more energy in maintaining our on-line opportunities for the long haul. So as long as it feels safer to drink coffee at your kitchen table as part of your worship experience, we intend to offer that experience.
If you know someone who has experience or a passion for video production, please let us know. We will need some dedicated help in producing both live worship and an on-line experience (full disclosure: I am the camera man and have not learned the art of being two places at once!)
In the meantime, thank you for all the ways you continue to be the church in this anxious and uncertain time. Through phone calls, ZOOM gatherings, on-line worship, daily music meditations, Facebook check-ins and uncounted acts of kindness and service to each other and the wider community, we are maintaining our sense of being church as best we can. When we do gather again, what a treat it will be! And perhaps we will not take such a gift for granted for years to come.
With Great Hope,
Rev. Nathan Miller