Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Over the last three weeks, we have offered a survey asking about your thoughts on reopening the church building. We have made the survey available online, and we sent a postal mailing to parishioners who we know have limited internet access. The response has been very strong, with nearly 200 responses so far. The Vestry has been meeting regularly with the Dean and Wardens to discuss our Phase II plans for safely reopening the church on a limited basis, and for establishing new ways to connect, like outdoor worship opportunities. Your responses have been informing our discussions, and have helped us to understand the needs and desires of our diverse congregation.
Not surprisingly, the responses are quite varied. Some are very eager to gather as soon as possible in the church building, while many others indicate a preference to move slowly and carefully. Over the coming weeks, we will be finalizing the first draft of the Phase II Plan, which will then be reviewed by the Bishop. Depending on his feedback, we may make additional changes to our plan before rolling out the plan more widely.
At this point, I can’t speculate on exactly what the final plan will include, but I can say that we’ll likely have some form of outdoor worship in the mix, and we will definitely continue with the online offerings we have been broadcasting over Facebook Live and YouTube. Almost every response indicated that you have been participating in many (or all) Sunday services online. Our online presence has a broad reach, across our congregation, our diocese and across the world. There are many people who have watched our services online, who have never been in the building. This broadening of our reach is most definitely a good thing, and something we don’t want to lose as we move forward.
As we continue to plan, your continued financial contributions are very important. So far this year, pledges and one-time gifts have been coming in steadily. We thank you so much for taking the extra time to mail in or make payments online. Your faithful attendance online, your financial contributions, and your presence at various small groups and other online gatherings is keeping our community alive and vibrant. As we wait and plan for the gradual return to ‘normal’, I appreciate so much the faithful patience you have all shown.
Zac Van Note, Senior Warden