August 1, and now an almost empty sanctuary, at last and again, my fumbling along the rows of oaken pews creating slight echoes inside gathered silences. Here it was, my accustomed place to sit, after a seventeen month long closing of the sanctuary due to the threats and wretched triumphs of Covid spreading and reaching and gaining among the people across the country and world. Death and Fear and ever more Death haunted our days. And now and here—here in this place, now again my place—I sat and waited and closed my eyes, and it all began to seem again like a quiet and very real welcoming.
A Pandemic Poem from Gwen Hart...
It was March of 2020
When Covid made the scene
This won’t last long, I thought to myself,
And we can get back to a normal routine
I’d just retired (in the nick of time)
As things came to a screeching halt
Businesses closing, except essentials
Finger-pointing looking for fault
Having worked in hospitality for so many years
Ensuring everything was just so,
All the sudden I had time on my hands
But there was no place to go!
May 9, 2021 was the Mother’s Day observance at Central. Rev. Carol Devine was the guest preacher and Dave and I tuned in virtually from our family room as we’d done since Covid shuttered the doors of Central. Our dog Toby assumed his position on the back of the love seat and promptly went to sleep. Dave and I took our seats, coffee in hand, as had become our custom. After the opening remarks, hymn singing and scripture reading Raleigh introduced a video presentation. His idea for the presentation was realized in collaboration with Kim Kincaid, Aaron Austin and Sally Horowitz. Raleigh explained that in the video he and Kim would sing the vocals to “Cool of the Day” accompanied by a montage of Sally’s nature photography. Aaron was tasked with syncing the music to the pictures. I wasn’t familiar with the song but knowing how talented all these folks are I knew we were in for a treat. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard and saw.
The New Wineskins Sunday School class began a weekly Zoom class on Sunday, September 6, 2020. We met at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday thereafter. Thanks to the enterprise and hard work of Pat Payne we were able to stay connected each week.
It was March 11, 2020, and I was sitting in a business meeting in the CBC sanctuary, looking forward to choir rehearsal afterwards. I knew that the governor had that afternoon asked churches to strongly consider canceling services because of the rising number of cases of Covid-19, and figured we might have some weeks without church ahead of us. I was glad we at least would be having choir. Wrong. The staff and those present thought it best to go home then, at the conclusion of the business meeting, with an uncertain future ahead.
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Our church has been through many challenges over our 70 plus year history and none of them have been any more challenging that these past 16 months. The necessary management and precautions to fight community spread of the dangerous COVID-19 has called forth all the skill, patience, cooperation and Christ-like encouragement that has guided our church so well through these many past few years. I am truly proud of each of you, our excellent leaders and exceptional staff and the way we have continued to be the church during these challenging times.
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