E-blasts to Congregation

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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Friends,

I want to start by saying how much I miss you. This week in particular, the distance that this pandemic has created has hit me in a heavy way. I miss the sacred ritual we pass at the end of worship every week where I get to stand and look at you and tell you it’s good to see you… to shake your hand, hug your neck, or even share a fist or elbow bump when we’re a little under the weather. I miss the pictures that I often receive from children bouncing out of Godly Play eager to share what they have created. I miss the questions you ask me and the comments you add that make me think about new things and the words of encouragement you offer to me and to each other. I miss singing together and praying together. I miss you.

And… I still feel deeply connected to you. In these past few weeks, every Sunday and throughout the week I’ve been so touched by the ways that many of you have reached out in gratitude to me, Pastor Jon, and to so many others in church leadership. Two weeks ago, someone came to the church while the services were being recorded and taped these signs (below) to the door to remind all of us serving that we were loved.

Last Sunday, after the heat in the sanctuary was finally repaired, we arrived to worship and found beautifully wrapped gifts for each of us from the Trustees to thank us for our patience. I often find notes left on my car when I leave worship. Today, my doorbell rang and on my porch I found a freshly baked loaf of bread — hot from the oven.

But even better than that, I see the ways you are remaining connected to each other. I am amazed by the many of you who I know are calling and checking in on each other each week. One of our newer young women offered to call a few people each week just to check in. She shared with me last night how she has built a wonderful new relationship with a family she’s been calling and plans to connect in person when this is over.

Our encouragement team has started sending out more than their usual cards each month. The number of wonderful things that have been dropped on the porches of friends and neighbors in recent weeks is too many to count. Our college students and youth connect each week, and our younger kids look forward to Thursday nights so they can check in with each other on Zoom and just share what’s happening in their lives. (Click HERE for more info on weekly children’s and youth gatherings on Zoom!) We have several adult small groups connecting online every week, too.

Holy Communion this Sunday: Bring What You Have

As we head into another week of worship where we will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, I am reminded that breaking bread together can happen in a lot more ways than we typically imagine. When Jesus told his disciples to remember him whenever they gathered, he was clearly meaning more than just the structured Passover meal that they were sharing.

He wanted the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup to be the kind of everyday reminders that could be practiced in ordinary and extraordinary times, in small gatherings and in large groups. He did this because he knew that doing so would keep bringing us back to the truth of God’s love for us, and would help us see and imagine how we might be living and sharing that love in the world.

It takes a bit more imagination these days to approach the table with our whole selves. We have to imagine that the altar for our communion with God can take place as easily at our kitchen table, coffee table, or desk as it can in a typical worship service. We have to imagine that the ordinary things we have to offer — bread, crackers, juice, water, or even leftover pizza or goldfish crackers — are more than enough to stand in as symbols and signs of a love that is poured out for us and for the world.

So, this Sunday, I’m going to invite you to use some imagination as you prepare to join us for worship and communion.

First, bring what you have. You can certainly have items like bread or crackers or juice or wine or water — whatever works. It may also be that what you have is your sadness or your joy or your frustration or your fear. Just bring what you have.

Second, we invite you to set the table with an item that represents something to you.

It could be:

  • something that you are grateful for…
  • something that gives you hope…
  • or something that signifies what you have to offer.

This might be:

  • a picture of someone you love…
  • a candle to remind you of God’s presence…
  • a gift that someone gave you…
  • or perhaps the mask you have to wear for work everyday as you go out and serve.

Whatever it is, bring something that has significance for you during this season of life that we’re in.

If there’s more than one person at home with you worshipping, I’d encourage each of you to choose something of meaning and bring that to the table.

And when it comes time to share at this table — to remember who we are and who we are called to be — know that we do so together. We are connected. One body. Divided only by concrete space but not by the Spirit.

I hope to “see” you on one of our LiveStreaming services this Sunday on Facebook Live:

  • 9am Traditional Worship
  • 11am Contemporary Worship

Click HERE for details on how to connect with our online worship on Sunday morning.

And I look forward to the chance to break bread together this Sunday, and to share a wonderful conversation I had with my sister in Christ, Elysa Smeltzer. You won’t want to miss it.

April Blaine
Lead Pastor
God loves you no matter what!

 

older e-blasts: pdfs

April 22: New Life

April 8: Holy Week and Easter Worship

April 2: Palm Sunday Communion plus Adult Discipleship classes

March 24: Virus Precautions Updates

March 18: Updates: COVID-19 Precautions

March 11: Coronavirus Precautions