What a time to be the church for each other, and for the world! The world itself has REALLY changed in so many ways since the last time I wrote a newsletter article, just a short month ago. You can see in the rest of this newsletter how things have changed and continue to be monitored as the situation in our community has had some real impacts on how things are done in this congregation and on the church property. But as I was reflecting on last month’s newsletter, I was struck by something that reminded me, that though our methods may change, our mission is still the same.
My last article, and last event that I lead was for creating small group ministries at Our Savior. We had a wonderful turnout of people excited and interested in being leaders for a new small group emphasis for the coming years. While small group ministry as we would normally set it up isn’t exactly a GREAT idea during this period of social distancing for the sake of our neighbors, the principles and hopes for our small groups are ABSOLUTELY the kinds of things we can all take up as priorities for ourselves during this difficult time.
Fellowship–I know this one seems like the most difficult, but if our recent livestreaming worship has taught me anything, it’s that we still have wonderful ways of interacting with each other, even when we can’t always be in the same room together. Phone calls, text messages, video chats, even a classic letter are great ways to keep in touch with each other right now. There are even great free options that can let you video chat with whole groups of people at a time! The possibilities are out there!
Bible study–Time away from the church can sometimes feel like time away from God, so what a great opportunity to dig into God’s Word as many of us have a little more time on our hands at home. The free Bible app on our smartphones provide a verse of the day if you want just a small dose or provide full reading plans and devotionals. The ELCA also provides scripture daily, found here https://www.elca.org/Faith/DailyBible
Caring for each other–Church is all about community. Just like we can use the technology we have to engage in social connection and fellowship, we can also take the time to care for each other. Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Reach out! Miss your favorite pew neighbor from weekend services, drop them a line! Ask each other how you can pray for them or see if there’s something you might have that they might need!
Service to the community– Keeping with that caring theme, it’s good to recognize who else in our community might need help. There are a lot of people who are now at home that could use resources as their jobs have sent them home without pay. There are also people still working in areas and situations that might not be recommended because they can’t go without pay. Nobody can fix these situations by themselves, but we can all do little things to make the lives of other people just a little bit better! Just be sure to take care of yourself and be safe at the same time!
Just because we have to put on hold these bigger ministry ideas, doesn’t mean we can’t go deeper into our faith lives and practices! Social distancing just gives us opportunities to grow and learn and care in new ways!
And remember that even when we meet again in person, all of the above are STILL great ideas for living out our faith, both as individuals and as communities.