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A Pastoral Letter and an Update on In-Person Gatherings

Originally sent via churchwide mailinglist.

August 23, 2021

Dear Church,

Greetings and peace, friends.

I trust that, despite the many struggles of the world this day, you have experienced a few moments of healing and joy. I know that, while not always easy to remember, we are a resurrection people and we must choose to believe that, even out of our greatest despair and struggle, there is hope.

As we move through these days, we hold in deep prayer earthquake recovery in Haiti, the evacuation in Afghanistan, the ongoing #StopLine3 struggle, those experiencing homelessness, educators, students, parents, healthcare workers, hurting bodies, anxious spirits, and troubled souls.

The world is weary, so if you are feeling the same, you are not alone.

I write to you today on behalf of your session in order to communicate their deep desire to care for your spiritual well-being and physical safety. Because we know that folks are yearning for in-person interaction, over the next few months, we will be planning multiple outdoor, in-person gatherings.

Tentatively on the calendar…

  • Bring Your Own Lunch on September 12, 12:30-2:00.
  • Concert in the Courtyard with Jonathan Bautista: Date TBD
  • Cinema in the Courtyard: Movie and Date TBD

For these events we encourage you to be vaccinated, to mask, to maintain distancing, and to seek consent before any physical interaction with others. From our lunch on the 15th, it is clear that simply sitting around a table chatting is good for the soul. If you are ready, we would love to see you.

This also means is that Session decided to postpone the start of our in-person worship option, originally planned for September 12, 2021.

While we are very close to being technically ready to begin Hybrid Worship, the rising Delta Variant numbers, poll feedback from worship on August 15, and staff capacity were reasons enough to postpone until we are more confident that we will be able to remain in-person for a while.

Session will revisit this decision on a monthly basis.

I know that we all wish for the pandemic to be over and that we can all get back to some kind of “normal,” but we are clearly not quite there as a county, state, country, or world. I choose to believe that we will get to that place, but we are not there yet. As with most things there will be variety of reactions to this latest development, some of you will be relieved while others may disagree. That is okay and understandable as we are all feeling the tensions and tugs of the day.

If you have any questions, affirmations, or encouragements for Session, please feel free to email the office and we’ll pass it along. And if you are on the Facebooks and have a moment to offer some encouragement to others making these decisions, you can do so here.

It’s all that easy, and it’s all that hard.

Bruce, Your Pastor