A Message from Ellen – July 22, 2020
July 22, 2020
There were 214 of you who responded to the church’s survey on worship re-opening. Thank you for making the time to tell us how you feel! Of the 214 who responded, 109 of you said that “it will be a while” before you would be comfortable coming back into an indoor space for worship, even with significant safety measures. 42 people indicated that they were open to the idea, but encouraged the leadership to “wait several weeks.” Many of those said that they would be willing to come back into the building for worship once the virus numbers appear to be decreasing and on a downward trend. 63 of our congregation indicated that they would like to come back to worship and would come at the “first opportunity.”
All of the responses were shared with Session, and, to date, there has not been strong support for making any move in the next week or so. As I am writing this, I received an email saying that today our state documented 1,870 new cases and 56 people died of the virus. But, we also know that people are beginning to settle into routines that include recreation, vacations and just this week I led a funeral with about 100 people in attendance at one of our local funeral homes. I am of the opinion that there is no one answer that will satisfy everyone, and that whatever decision the Session makes, we will continue to provide remote options (livestream, drive-in, etc.) and to encourage anyone who does not feel safe coming to stay home.
Although I did not write the comment, you know me well enough to know that I resonated with the person who wrote in the survey, “slow and steady wins the race.” What has become so clear to me is that before this pandemic many people came to church in order to gain/grow/claim their faith. But now, this has been turned around, and we must claim and grow our faith on our own, so that whether or not we can come together we live and grow as followers of Jesus. I just have to say that Bill Wannamaker’s creative work with our youth, Andrea’s driveway visits, Jodi’s continued gleaning opportunities and her mission newsletter, and Beth’s work to provide a bluegrass gospel and a hymn sing night fill me with gratitude. I am grateful to be a part of this staff. Though we are not gathering in the sanctuary on Sunday’s, FLPC is FAR from closed!!! Our staff are creative and hard-working and our members are compassionate and responsive to the needs that they see all around. I am grateful to be part of Forest Lake Presbyterian Church!
So, as Session continues to grapple with the best and safest ways to gather, please do pray for us all. Make time in your day for prayer and Bible reading. Exercise your generosity muscles both by meeting the needs around us and also by being generous in our judgments of others. And please continue to figure out how to worship. We are planning to return to livestreaming this Sunday, and are working on plans for more drive-in worship services. And, if you need help or just want to talk, call us!
Now the service begins,