Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.26.21)

One of the many people who make Parkway special is Kristy Engel, a nurse practitioner and missionary. Through the years she has been invaluable in the planning of mission trips and in seeking to ensure that wherever we go, we “help without hurting.” But in the past year, through her work dealing with epidemics around the world, she has been a tremendous asset in determining the best practices for our church in the face of the pandemic.

Many of you have probably already seen a Facebook post from this week (I, of course, had to have it shown to me by someone else). ICYMI, however, I’ve asked her to be a guest columnist for this Friday Comments. Here is what she wrote:

A lot of things have been different over the last year…

Many things we have stopped to keep each other safe…

And in the midst of exercising our flexibility with these changes, my wonderful home church, Parkway Baptist Church in Duluth, GA, has continued to meet outside so that we maintain community, even when we can’t do it in the way we are most comfortable. 

Our parking lot has become our sanctuary and is a good reminder to all of us that “church” is not a building. 

And although I realize not everyone can do church outside most of the year, I am thankful that we have only had to cancel outdoor services TWICE due to heavy rain. Cold, light sprinkles, wind and even a dusting of snow on the ground have not kept us from gathering. 

I know that many have pushed for indoor services but I’ve come to realize how much I enjoy sitting outside and experiencing nature as I listen to scripture. I think we should continue to meet outside, regularly, even if, eventually, it is deemed safe to go indoors. 

Being outside reminds me that it’s not about the building but the people. 

Being outside reminds me that in some places around the world, this is the norm.

Being outside renews my understanding of God’s love for each of us, including nature.

Being outside flexes my muscles of adaptation that may become weak when I do the same thing every week in a comfortable seat, with a comfortable temperature and sometimes an anonymity of presence.

You can choose to see the changes we are forced to make as a nuisance but I choose to find the joy in this community, wherever it may meet!