I, like all others, was expecting the announcement on Friday afternoon to be about the CDC guidelines for houses of worship. Instead it was a 2-minute demand for governors to reopen churches, synagogues and mosques. Stunned or “gob smacked” were words that best described my reaction. ( Thanks to Jeremy for helping me process my reaction) Within the next few hours I had several calls and emails asking about how to respond.
Let’s remember that the church doesn’t need to “reopen”. We never closed. We have been faithfully gathering online or on the phone to worship, pray, decide and learn. Many have ramped up their missions and ministries or started new projects in response to the needs in their communities and neighborhoods. Pastors, Elders, Deacons and members have connected, virtually visited and cared for the sick, dying and those grieving. We are not closed. We have faced the challenge straight on and adapted.
What we are seeking is the best way to reenter and gather in our buildings. We crave being able to see each other face to face but we have to be able to do that safely and without fear of infection.
The Presbytery Coordinating Team (PCT) has established a Reentry Team. This team has been meeting, developing guidelines and preparing for conversations so that when the Governor says we can gather and reenter our building safely we will be ready.
Next steps from the Reentry Team that are coming soon:
- Guidelines for Reentry – This document will be published within a few days
- Webpage updates with information about next steps and other helpful information
- Pastor/Moderator Conversations. Four regional conversations are already scheduled for next week.
- Regional Conversations for church leaders to be scheduled following the Pastor Conversations
- The team will continue to provide resources and whatever is needed as we work our way through the Liminal Season.
Why do we have to wait? Why can’t we social distance now? Wear our masks? These are not the questions that are going to move us forward. Instead of “why” questions let’s ask “what” questions.
What are we doing during this Liminal Season? What is God calling us to do or calling us to prepare for? What are ways we can provide comfort to those who have loved ones? What are we learning? What are the stories that are defining us now? What are the stories that can guide us to see where the Holy Spirit is at work and the stories that give us hope?
“Why” questions look to the past or hold us in place. “What” questions move us forward through the Liminal Season.
We are weary and tired. We are fearful and anxious. We are loved and cared for. We are strong and resilient. We are valued and precious. We are doing great things for the Kingdom of God. We are still the church.
Together we will make it through these uncertain times.
Peace be to your house,