Greetings and peace to you!
I grew up in a house with lots of idioms. You know what I mean, right? Idioms are those odd expressions that mean something other than what you say, like its raining cats and dogs, etc.
One idiom that has stuck with me is “you have a lot of irons in the fire.” Meaning, you have too many things on your plate. (Oops, there’s another one.) Basically, when a person has a lot of irons in the fire, its hard to keep your eye on all things at once.
It seems to me that we all have a lot going on in our lives. I’m sure that your view/fire/plate is different than mine, but you probably are juggling and just trying to keep all the balls in the air. Keeping connected to family, working, sorting through tasks, worrying about the future, upset over the racial tension in our country—the list goes on and on.
The Church (capital C there, not just Bay Shore) also has a lot happening to it. We’ve moved to virtual worship in a rush, pastoral care is severely limited, it is unknown when we will open again our doors safely. And of course, the Church weeps over social injustice and seeks to assist our neighbors in need. COVID tossed us all out of the bathwater, and houses of worship everywhere are trying to move forward while drying off.
The Council met last month and talked about reopening the church, and we felt and still feel very cautious about re-opening. I am glad we are not rushing to do so. While Zoom is not the best way to hold worship services, it is better than what we would have in the sanctuary at this time if we opened.
In Zoom, you see faces and smiles. No masks needed.
In Zoom, we can share the peace, and sing the hymns with Danny from the safety of our homes. But we know in the sanctuary, we would not be able to touch, sing and more.
In Zoom, we can have a social time after the service: many do stay on and last few Sundays, having break out groups was a success! But if we were in the sanctuary, we would not have fellowship time. We would have a quick transition in and out of the building—no coffee, no hugs.
And finally in Zoom, no one is excluded due to the size of our group. No reservations, no ushers at the door counting people and closing when the max allowed is met.
So its not ideal, but its working for now.
The Council also discussed how we will continue and grow our virtual presence. You will hear more about this in the weeks to come, but we have some plans in place to help us expand our services virtually and better than we are doing now. We know, from emails and conversations, that even when the church reopens to a limited schedule and number of participants, many of you will choose to stay home. We want to continue to offer our services online, in a better format, that reaches more people near and far. In short, Bay Shore wants to grow and meet the new needs of our community.
I am excited about the possibilities before us. I am excited that our Council wants to meet the challenges we have with boldness and faith, and secure our future mission and ministry at Bay Shore. I miss seeing you all more than I do through the laptop. But in many ways, I feel closer to those of you who have attended Zoom opportunities than I would have on a regular Sunday. And another bonus about Zoom—it doesn’t matter where you are on a Sunday, whether it is at the cottage, home, or in your car—you can Zoom in and be connected, too.
COVID has taught the Church what is crucial to ministry. It’s our connections. Doesn’t matter how we connect, not really, but that we stay connected and do what we can where we are. I have been preaching this for years, and this past Spring, I think people—being forced to do so—understand it’s the little connections and things we do in our lives, at home, that make the most difference.
I’m praying that your faith has grown these past few months. I am thankful that while isolation is TOUGH, it has also forced us to reach out more to our families, friends and neighbors. And I am praying for Bay Shore—that when we are back in our stride, we are ready and willing to do what is necessary to meet the needs of our changing world. But in the meantime, stay connected, stay involved safely, and do what God requires of us all—to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). And we can do this, no matter where we are.
Blessings and peace,