In the Meantime
I am enjoying a crisp Arizona fall. It has been cooler here than in Michigan, as it happens. But the sun sure shines brighter here. Anyway, this weekly message is a day late because, well, there is a ton of stuff to do and this old man, he plays one at most. Multi-tasking is multi-mistaking.
What I am thinking about this week is how the pandemic is changing the future as well as the present. We have been forced to find new ways to be a community, and when we are finally able to resume in person congregational life those new ways will not vanish. More than one person has said that virtual meeting has been a plus overall. Those who could not attend on Sunday can attend now. Connections circles, a response to the pandemic, has brought people together who did not know each other before. These and other changes brought about by the pandemic may stay with us beyond the pandemic.
One idea that really interests me is using our campus as a worship space. We experimented with this twice already, with the ‘pebble drop’ and ‘trunk or treat,’ which allowed us to interact personally but safely. I was hoping for a drive-thru cornbread communion on November 22, but that is questionable now. However, I am planning on drive-in Christmas Eve. Our parking lot can hold 75 vehicles safely (every other space) and like the old movie theaters, you will be able listen via a cell phone.
Nothing is certain, of course. But one gift of these pandemic times is that we have learned to look beyond the usual ways of ‘church life’ and see new ways to be a community. I truly hope this creative spirit can remain with you as you seek a settled clergyperson. Nothing is more exciting to potential clergy than a community that is becoming something new. So keep imagining, experimenting, exploring. Be a laboratory of liberal religion. Take risks, make mistakes, trusting that a faith like ours is tough enough to go the distance.