July 2020
From the Pastor

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. - Romans 12:12 (NRSV)

Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Ninety-nine plus days ago, many were gathered in the sanctuary at All Saints for worship.  We had just begun our season of Lent.  It was the first Sunday in Lent.  There was word that a virus had hit our nation and our state.  We left worship on that Sunday not knowing fully what lay ahead of us.  Within days, we knew that something called Covid-19 was impacting not only our country but also the world. We knew that it was being taken quite seriously and that we needed to follow suit.  Since that time, everything as we know it has changed, often daily.  We are all learning as we go, figuring out how to be church in ways that we never would have imagined. Ninety-nine days later, we are still working on how to do it.  Six days ago, we gathered once again, both in a way that was familiar to us – on-line and again in-person which felt like a new experience.  I was so excited, but also had a feeling of uncertainty.  Amid the excitement and the uncertainty, the one thing I did know was this – God has been with us every step of the way and will continue to be with us each step of the way. 

It is important to know the leadership of our congregation has been working conscientiously. They questioned what worship would look like when we came together and what precautions that would be needed.  Last Sunday, it finally happened.  But as we came together, we also knew not everyone was ready.  We have many who are at high risk to contract the virus.  Because of this, we have determined the best practices for providing safe space in the sanctuary and meeting the requirements for gathering as outlined by the various health agencies. We will also continue worshipping online.  We recognize this isn’t the ideal scenario for gathering as a faith community, but for now it seems the best way of bringing us all together.  I am thankful for the time and effort so many people have contributed and thankful that I get to work with them in the midst of this. As local, state and national health department guidelines are updated, we will share with you.

On May 31 we celebrated the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church.  We gathered via live stream to celebrate the day.  The idea behind Pentecost has been to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is now present in the people, guiding them as they move the Church forward.  This makes sense since we, the people, make up the church, and we are the church whenever and however we are gathered.  A church is not a building, but rather it is the people.  Together, we are the body of Christ and we are Christ’s bride – the Church.  We’ve been the church throughout the past 99 days; we simply haven’t been all together in one building (YET).  In many ways, we have actually been more active as the church as we’ve been physically apart because we have found new and different ways, and even forgotten ways to be the church together.  Since March  we have found different ways to continue to be the church together and we will continue to move forward in new and hopefully exciting ways in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Perhaps one of the silver linings to come from this pandemic have been the opportunities we have had to hit the pause button and reflect on how we approached life and how we can now approach it differently. I know that I have learned life lessons that I will carry with me long after we are told we can begin to resume life in a way that seems normal.  I am sure you have learned life lessons as well.  Maybe it has been to not take things for granted or maybe that we do not need to be as on the go as we think we do.  Perhaps you have reconnected with friends and family or picked up and learned a new hobby or read that book you have always meant to read.

Whatever it is, please know this — God is and has been in the midst of it and for that we are thankful. I cannot wait until we are all able to be together again, whatever that might look like.  Until then, continue to find God at work in the most unlikely of places.  Do your part to move God’s kingdom forward.  Care for each other as you have been cared for.

Wash your hands.  Don’t touch your face.  Say your prayers.  Know that God loves you and so do I.

Servants together,

+ Pr. Paul +