“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Psalm 122:1)
All of us feel the yearning for the sanctuary, for the presence of our faith family, for the house of the Living God! The yearning of the Psalmist was rooted in the experience of Diaspora, of the Hebrew people being removed from their homes and scattered among the nations. We are children of a different Diaspora, one that has found us at times confined to our homes, to our bubbles, or to a caution marked by masks and distance. All of us on staff and in the lay leadership of the church wish that we could, like that Psalmist, announce that the time of Diaspora has ended and that we can all return to the sanctuary. We wish…
Throughout this time of pandemic, the health and safety of our congregation and community has been our number one priority in making these decisions. From the beginning we said that we needed to see clear and consistent headway being made against the spread of this virus. The Wisconsin Council of Churches standard for beginning to talk about re-gathering in even physically distanced groups of 50 or less is two weeks of declining case counts in the state. Unfortunately, those counts are currently going in the wrong direction. In conversation with medical professionals in our membership, there was agreement that we are weeks if not months away from any changes in our current safe practice.
Because of that, the Church Council has decided that we will continue on-line worship through at least November 15. Similarly, our Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth and Adult Programs will begin the program year safely distanced and virtual. The Council will continue to monitor the situation and, as always, welcomes your input. Meanwhile the church will continue to do the best we can to offer online worship, education, and small group opportunities. We will need your help in safely and creatively expanding those opportunities to reach more of our members and foster stronger connections and deeper faith. Please look for those opportunities in the weeks ahead including drive-by communion beginning on September 13.
Thank you for continuing your financial support of our church. This congregation is showing the depth of their faith commitment by giving what they can to ensure a vibrant ministry that carries out our mission to the church and community. As difficult as it has been for us to feel distanced from our church home, we are called in this time to reach out to those who have no home, have lost their jobs, are facing illness without insurance, and living in hard times without feeling the presence of a compassionate community.
May God bless us as we live in the present Diaspora. May God grant us comfort and courage, patience and perseverance, health and safety. And let us not lose faith that someday soon the words of the Psalmist will echo in our time, and we will say together, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
– Rev. Steve Savides