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Notes from the Pastor

posted Apr 24, 2020, 7:42 AM by Mary Margaret Barnoff

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

What a month it’s been.  Shelter-in-place orders, online worship, financial and political disruption – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! March and April have been very different, as the normal rhythms of our lives have been disrupted by the threat of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  Some of those differences have been very challenging, as schools and businesses have closed and we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of living and going about our business while maintaining social distancing.  Other changes that the coronavirus has brought about have been good ones, as the changing world has drawn people closer together in new ways.

 

At the time I’m writing this, the stay-at-home order for Pennsylvania has been extended to at least May 8. It’s still possible that the orders could be extended even further, or that after the shutdown orders have been lifted, there might still be a prohibition on large gatherings of people. Although it looks like the measures that have been taken so far have been effective, it will probably be some time after that before we can return completely to normal. While I’m looking forward to the day when we can return to worship and to seeing one another in person, I also won’t cause anyone to risk their health or safety unnecessarily. Once we’re able to safely gather in person, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in person again.

 

While we’ve been in isolation, a couple of things have become clearer. I want to lift up a few of those lessons from this time.

·The church isn’t the building; it’s the people of God. We’ve continued to gather for worship, we’ve continued to pray together and study Scripture together, we’ve continued to serve others and love and serve our neighbors, even when we’ve not been able to gather in our church buildings. That’s not to say that our buildings aren’t important or valuable, of course, but our community and the people in that community are more so.
·Connection with each other is important. One of the harder parts of this isolation has been not being able to see each other in person. Videoconferencing and phone calls have helped to close that gap a little bit, and they’ve served to strengthen and deepen some of those relationships. Once we’re able to gather in person, it’s going to be important to not let those new relationships lapse.
·We are all in this together. Whether it’s been members of the congregations calling each other to stay in touch, people helping with parts of the online worship services, folks sewing face masks for people who need to go outside, people creating and sharing coloring pages with others to brighten their day, or just everyone staying home as much as possible to help minimize the potential spread of the virus, everyone has been working together to help to serve our neighbors. I talk a lot about sharing the love of God in word and deed, and all those things and many more are ways that we’ve all been doing just that.

 

I know that these last few weeks have been hard, and that there are going to be more challenges ahead of us, but with God’s help, we’ve been able to come together as a parish to face those challenges, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to continue to meet them until we’re able to gather in person again.

In Christ,
Pastor
Russ

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