This is a season when the church has had to embrace the creativity of God! Our staff has been working hard. For those of you who may be listening on the radio - we are recording worship from each of our homes. Rick Haar and Tina edit the videos, and Tina continues to work on the bulletin from her home computer. Neal Holliday updates the website from his home as well. Stephenie splits her time between her home office and the church office, collecting the mail from the post office twice per week. Craig and the Christian Education team are crafting our first ever Virtual VBS. And Pat and Kyle are doing what they can to keep the building in wonderful shape, preparing it for the time when we can gather safely again.
Through the final weeks of the school year, Rachel and the MDO teachers continued to update families with enriching activities for their students. A few teachers even used Zoom to reach out to their students.
Our choir has been recording each of their separate parts from their homes as well. Bill has been directing through Zoom. BIll also records the hymns from his home, then sends them to John so that he can lead the hymn through his voice.
We’ve had many of our congregants active in worship as well. They’ve sent in photos for our various worship services - like pictures of them holding drawings of palms on Palm Sunday and photos of how they’ve been seeing God in this season. We’ve had congregants and confirmands read scripture for worship. They will record their own separate videos at home and then send us the videos for us to edit together.
Many of our teams are meeting as well. I mentioned a few times already something called “Zoom.” Just like conference calls on phones in the past, Zoom is a computer application that allows everyone to see each other's faces and hear each other's voices during meetings. We’ve had staff meetings, semi-weekly meetings with the worship staff to ensure we are clear with our vision for worship each week, MDO teacher meetings, executive council and church council meetings online in April and May, Christian education meetings to discuss our Virtual VBS this year, finance team meetings, and youth group virtual gatherings. Twice every week I hold Zoom fellowship hours - 5pm on Wednesdays and 10am on Sundays.
And most days of the week, I’m trying to reach out by a short video on Facebook Live. Whether it’s a prayer, scripture, or a poem, I want to assure those who are watching that “we are here.”
I’ve seen how God uses each of our gifts and new technology to spread the good news of hope, grace, and love to our expanding world. Some are watching our services on Facebook Live from different parts of our country (and Canada too)! We are expanding the ways we are church. Through the wonders of all sorts of technology, we are widening our reach.
And of course, through phone calls and notes, we are able to reach our congregants of all ages and generations, making sure that we connect with each of you during this time. Thank you to our With You Team for continuing to make phone calls during this season! I have been trying to reach as many of you as possible through phone conversations. If you need a conversation and I haven’t yet reached you, please reach out to me anytime.
This has been a time of learning and growth for each of us. Thank you to everyone who continues to stretch their comfort levels of using the internet and technology. Thank you to the staff who has been extremely flexible and willing to try new things to keep connected. And thank you to everyone who has given treasures, talents, and time during the past two and a half months.
If you would like to find ways to get connected to the internet and our online gatherings, please contact me. We have volunteers who would love to help you learn more about these means of connection.
Just like the church was alive after the earthly ministry of Jesus as the Holy Spirit brought gifts, wisdom, and strength to the apostles, we too are a church that is alive! Like many other congregations, we have learned new ways to be church. And when the time comes for us to regather together again, we will be stronger for the new gifts we’ve embraced from the Holy Spirit.