When President Biden said recently that the pandemic was over, he was half-right. People are still getting sick and dying from Covid and while we are better prepared with vaccines and treatments than we were in March 2020, there are no guarantees against new variants that may develop.
At the same time, thanks to those vaccines and treatments, the good care with which our worshippers have taken care of ourselves, and the technologies that our church has invested in, we gather regularly, in person or online, for worship, for church meetings, for Christian Education, and even for fellowship. We have made steady, but cautious progress in opening up our Sunday service so that people no longer must sit in alternate pews, and we can resume the fellowship of coffee hour, as well as have in-person meetings. As of this Sunday, mask-wearing in the Sunday service is now “highly recommended” rather than mandatory.
The pandemic is not over, but we have adapted to it in ways in which we can worship “live”, whether in-person or on-line.
In other words, we are at a “new beginning” for our church as we have become what some have called a “hybrid” church and what others could call a “more inclusive” church. What this looks like as we go forward is not totally clear, but I know that we are continuing to work to make certain that everyone, regardless of whether they attend worship here on Sunday morning or not, is included in the fullest extent of our church life as possible.
To accomplish this, the Stewardship Board has titled this year’s stewardship campaign, “Giving for a New Beginning.” We are not under the allusion that we will return to the kind of church we were prior to March 2020. Instead, we are seeking to develop our church so that we can continue to include people of faith, regardless of whether they choose to worship in this building or from further afar.
We will continue to be committed to our community and to the physical space we occupy, but we will seek to be available to worshippers regardless of where they live or spend their Sunday mornings.