A Special Pastoral Word

Mark Johnson | April 3, 2022

Happy feet like to dance.  Happy hands applaud.  Happy faces wear happy smiles.  But everything over these past two challenging years has not been particularly happy.  A world-impacting pandemic has outfitted us with lead boots and handcuffs.   Even if we felt like smiling, few might notice while we cooperated, as was necessary, with the simple courtesy of wearing a mask during such a time of trial and testing.

And while the reverberating and contagious threat of this virus is still lurking around, we prayerfully, hopefully,  and perhaps finally are at a moment of turning the corner.  New guidelines from the CDC offer a Green (low), Yellow (medium) and Red (high) rating system of risk for each community.   As of this writing on April 4th, Fayette County, the land of Big Blue Nation is joyously showing off itself as Green.  I couldn’t be happier and more relieved.  My optimism is cautionary, but nevertheless deeply felt in gratitude.   And here at the church, changes are coming.

Masks Optional

The first big change is making the wearing of masks optional starting Easter Sunday, April 17th.  Our new policy follows this voluntary choice while our city ranks in the green or in the yellow.   If we move back into the red, we will again move to a mandatory policy.   And remember in grace,  some will continue to wear masks.  Perhaps they are concerned they might have a cold or are in some way immune-compromised.   After two years of being careful, a little more time will sound reasonable and there’s no judgment for whatever choice is yours.   Fortunately, as a community we have space for these options.

Small Groups and Sunday School

Beginning Sunday May 1st, we will begin opening up meetings prior to the 11 a.m. service including Sunday school.  There will be one class for children, one class for youth and one new class for adults.  Other adult classes are welcome to begin meeting according to their preference.  Coffee and other food items will not be provided, but individuals are welcome to bring their own if they wish.  The full schedule for children and youth will debut this fall.

Church Wide Picnic

After worship on May 22, we are planning a church-wide picnic at a location to be determined.  Our prayer is providing this opportunity as one way to renew our personal contact with one another.   Plan now on gathering in celebration of our hopeful ending to this long sojourn of separation and isolation.

Other Special Worship Occasions

As mentioned above, Easter is April 17th and this year we will gather for worship with a baptismal celebration scheduled for Natalie Clausen.  Natalie and Daniel are new parents of Rosie, this beautiful baby girl a few of you may have seen these past few weeks.  This young family is a symbol of the new life we anticipate each Spring and a fitting reminder of the abundant and everlasting life Christ offers us in the glory of the resurrection.   The following Sunday, April 24th will feature Deacon Ordination for Brad Webb and Mark Thomas with the service ending in the sharing of communion together.  We’ve not been able to share in these mainstays of Sunday morning worship - baptism, ordination and communion - for these past two years. The last two Sundays of April will renew these time honored and sacred practices for our beloved community of faith.

Is it time to start dancing?  No doubt. Testings, treatments and preventions have gone way up and community spread is dropping.   But this dance should resemble more of a waltz than a rumba, keeping our feet under us rather than turning cartwheels.   We are fully aware of the loss we’ve experienced and the pain of separation we’ve endured.  Too many life transitions lacked the normal communal supports we might have taken for granted previously.  Things have changed and some of those changes we’ve not even had time to process.  It will take a while to build up our social muscles and learn new rhythms.   But the dance is long overdue.  And it will be beautiful to behold.

3 months


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