From the Pastor….

We’re going to be returning to in-person worship in our sanctuary.

Okay, none of us knows at this point precisely when that will happen, but we will be returning. For a while the worship services will not look the same, but we will be together. And your staff and lay leaders are making preparations for that great day.

Some of the preparations are precautions related to the current pandemic. We have secured touchless hand sanitizer stations, touchless thermometers to take everyone’s temperature, and disposable masks for anyone who forgets to bring their own. We’re looking at the best way to ensure physical distance between families. We will make provisions for the limited number of people who must speak while not wearing masks. In short, we will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our members when we are able to return.

However, other things we are doing now will be for the long-term benefit of the congregation, without respect to COVID-19. On August 12, during our regular Midweek Prayer Service Zoom call, Don Nanney will present a proposal to use a small portion of the money we received from the sale of excess land for significant capital improvements. These will include fresh paint and flooring throughout the education building, the installation of doors between the narthex and sanctuary, and the conversion of two classrooms in the children’s wing into an indoor playground. We will also be replacing the windows in the education building that have deteriorated significantly since the building was built.

One of the few advantages to being out of the building is that this will give us an opportunity to have some work done without having to consider working around occupancy. I encourage you to attend the Midweek Prayer Service on August 12 to hear the details of this exciting proposal.

I’m also looking forward to being able to deliver sermons to a “live” congregation again. I will be devoting most of next week to constructing the preaching plan for the Christian Year that begins with Advent on November 29. Obviously, I would be following that plan whether we are back to in-person worship or not, but I’m certainly praying that every one of those sermons is delivered with you sitting in front of me.

We will also be producing an Advent booklet for personal daily devotionals, so I will be making assignments for that as well.

Another exciting possibility has been presented to us by the investment of the funds from the land sale. We will now have the option of devising an outreach plan that will raise the awareness of our congregation in the community, provide resources for ministry beyond our church buildings, and seek to draw others into our family of faith. The Outreach Committee will be doing some vision-casting related to those initiatives.

In my Friday Comments a couple of weeks ago I talked about the importance of living in this present moment. However, it is critical that we look to the future as well. God continues to give us opportunities to make a difference in our community. In this time when we have restrictions on our movements and meetings, let’s pray for a vision as to what that will look like.