- Expect a special email next week from the Church Office about the first in-person worship on June 6 at 9:30 a.m. It will be a glorious day to worship God together in our sanctuary.
- This summer, we will have quite a few activities for all ages. We will have a monthly outside hymn sing, a church picnic on August 8, and more.
- Next week, we will share our new open hours for the Church Office, which will open on June 8.
- Kate invited our children to special Praise Plays beginning in June, and also encouraged them to invite “Flat Jesus” into their lives this summer. Parents and grandparents, take pictures of Flat Jesus and send them my way—what a fun way to splash our Facebook page.
- Don’t forget we are collecting special offerings for the Hephatha Youth Scholarships. You can make a designated gift to the scholarships through the Church Office.
Happy Friday, Bay Shore!
As I announced last Sunday, the Council met on Zoom this past Tuesday and agreed to begin opening our building in June and to have our first in-person worship on June 6. We also agreed that, due to the risks to vulnerable adults and children who cannot be vaccinated at this time, we will wear masks for our worship services until further notice.
The above is simply 2 sentences, but behind it—a lot of prayer, patience, work, research, discussions, patience, frustration and hope. I am grateful we will be returning to worship on the 6th of June. We will gather at 9:30 a.m. since this is also our summer tradition. This is truly a blessing.
In the meantime, I will be working with the staff now on the next steps. How will we gather? What will we do? What restrictions may there be? We are consulting with the Wisconsin Council of Churches, our local church neighbors and more. We also know, and I hope you do too, that worship will change every week as more people get vaccinated and as vaccines open up for children below 12 years of age. Think of it as a soft roll-out—not a blunt return to how we were on Sunday, March 8, 2020—our last time together. But also remember, on that Sunday, we refrained from Passing the Peace physically, and we discussed how we may have to worship on the 15th—not knowing that we would be closing for so long. Frankly, I am so grateful to be in-person, I would gladly wear a hazmat suit at this point to do it.
For those of you who decide to continue distancing from others, I understand. The livestream service option will continue on YouTube. But instead of me looking straight at the camera, you will see me looking around and seeing others—praying for the day you too will return.
Please watch your email inbox over the next two weeks. We will share a lot of news with you all about our re-opening, our first Sunday back and more. This is an exciting time at Bay Shore—I feel like the Israelites with Joshua, after 40 years in the desert. The future may be uncertain, it may even be hard, but the promise of something new and better? It is enough to fuel our spirits.
God’s blessings to you and your loved ones,
I’ll see you on the 6th.
Lucy Jane and I are history fanatics. We watch a lot of history documentaries about anything that happened after 1066 A.D. together—she leaves the Biblical stuff to me, though I can get her interested in anything Egyptian. We are actually fascinated with the Elizabethan and Renaissance eras. As we watch the many shows, it is amazing to me how life revolved around the church and the church calendar. Even during the Victorian era, people celebrated a variety of festivals and commemorations that we no longer know about and keep.
In our weekly liturgy, I have included the commemorations for the week in a list at the end. I do not create this list, it comes from the ELCA, but I think its good to see. A brief history of the person is given, but what is missing? The past traditions of the celebration. Like, the special cakes made on certain days, or the traditions involving dinners, prayers, etc. that were kept by people for generations. I know that many of you are familiar with St. Lucia Day, and the traditions involved around that celebration. But did you know that practically every saint had something that people would do, and still do in some places around the world, to remember them and their witness to Christ?
Faith is not meant to be a cerebral exercise. Faith is meant to be experienced daily, through our thoughts and physical actions, through our grace over foods, through remembering our past and the early church. I think one of the reasons the church has seen a decline is because of the move to have less “church stuff” done in our homes. It is good to remember that holidays evolved from the words “holy days” and people kept them through a variety of ways, and by doing so—keep the traditions and lessons alive.
This Sunday, we are celebrating a holy day in the church calendar. The Ascension of Our Lord. It’s the day we read the writings from Luke about Christ’s Ascension, and we wait for the Holy Spirit’s arrival on Pentecost. The Ascension is celebrated officially 40 days after Easter (this year, Thursday May 13).
I have not heard of any Ascension traditions for the home, and a quick Google search didn’t give me anything, either. But that’s ok—traditions have to start somewhere. This year—I am asking my baker daughter to make an angel food cake with a thick layer of seven minute frosting. I will call it an Ascension cake, and imagine the clouds that Jesus went into that day almost 2, 000 years ago. Maybe next year, we can all celebrate together after worship and eat cake, too.
I like that thought very much.
Blessings and peace to you all,