From the pastor…
Thank You, Lord! This long year and a couple of months have been humbling. But now You’ve worked through the gifts of science and medicine to bring a vaccine that appears to be the answer to our prayers!
Looking back, we see how challenging it was for our congregation. The COVID-19 pandemic took the lives of some of our parishioners in hospital and nursing home settings. Some of our active members got really sick from it and recovered. It shut down our public worship for over two months in 2020 and for two weeks in 2021. It greatly suppressed our numbers and caused us to worship behind masks for almost a year. But, we rejoice that the restrictions are lifting and we hope that our church life will return to normal this year.
The good news about our seating capacity in church is that we can comfortably fit our pre-COVID number of worshippers in church and still maintain safe distances between them. Before the pandemic hit us we were averaging a little under fifty people per Sunday. With our present seating configuration we can handle a little over fifty people. And the current seating restrictions will surely be loosened as people continue to get vaccinated. Then we’ll be able to increase our capacity to the point where everyone can sit in approximately the same area they always have.
We’re hopeful that, at some time, we can return our communion table to the Altar railing. That would also free up some more pews for seating area.
Some things may take a little longer to return to normal. The coffee hour could return with some extra attention to safety precautions. More doors for entering and exiting the building might be offered. The coming warmer weather will permit us to do some outdoor greeting after the worship service. I don’t know when we’ll feel confident about hand-shaking and hugging, either during or after the worship service. Will we ever pass the offering plate down the rows of pews again? Will we share a common cup anytime soon?
The bigger question – not just for church but for all facets of life – is: When will we be comfortable expressing the human warmth that’s part of our relationships? Kisses, embraces, those light touches that family and friends share in conversation; are they going to return, or will they appear only in documentaries about the way we used to live?
I hate to think that this pandemic will permanently change the way we interact with one another. The children in our neighborhood have asked constantly about the return of Vacation Bible School. We plan to run a modified version of it in July. Will we be confident enough to welcome the little ones to come unto Jesus?
And we have a church anniversary to celebrate as well. Were these normal times, we’d have already scheduled special worship and a banquet to remember the 150th anniversary of regular worship services amongst the group who became Trinity Lutheran Church in 1871.
Thank You, God, for lifting this burden from us. We realize that people in past generations have suffered much worse than we have (smallpox, the Plague, polio, just to name a few). We also know that you provide comfort in bad times and hope for the future at all times.
In Christ, our Great Physician,