Dear church family- Coronavirus Update July 1st, 2020:
“And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.” Ezra 3:11b-12
This past Sunday, June 28th, our church building reopened for our worship service, on summer hours at 9:45AM for the first time since March. But, as the verses above state, I must be honest and say it was a mixed bag of emotions. The joyful part was that I was happy to be back preaching to people I could actually see! It was also nice to greet one another (at a distance) and welcome them back. It felt good to be taking the first step back to normalcy, like laying the foundation for the future regathering.
On the other hand, it was a bit hard, even sad. With all the required restrictions which were, well, restrictive to the reasons we gather. The required social distancing in seating meant limited seating in the sanctuary and some had to sit in the Ram room as overflow. The masks made singing difficult and having to promptly leave the building without lingering made fellowshipping outside difficult as well. For all those who came (47) I thank you for your understanding and patience as we seek to take those first steps back. Sadly, those who held high expectation of what the service would be, were more than a bit disappointed.
I recognize that many of you are not ready to venture out back to church and that is very understandable. Like you, I’ve read of the resurgence of the virus in other states and that is troubling. I only want you to do what you are comfortable doing. If that means staying home and viewing our service live-streamed on YouTube that is fine for now or as long as it takes. It is NOT a matter of spiritual maturity or faith whether you come out or stay home. I feel confident that eventually we will all be back together in the building worshipping together.
However, my concern, and the concern of the Elders, is that by staying home you might become disconnected to the life of the church. One remedy for this is for you to stay in contact with us. I encourage everyone to connect by doing something as simple as submitting an e-mail to me as a “Share your thoughts” after the Sunday sermon. That is very helpful to me to know that you are there and listening. Another way is to participate by Zoom in the Wednesday evening prayer service at 7:30PM, or join the Adult Sunday School class now on Thursday evenings for July at 7:30 PM. Together with the elders, I have sent e-mails and e-cards of encouragement out and it is reassuring to get a response back and encourage the elders! Please consider such involvement and staying connected by letting us know you are connected!
IMPORTANT: As you know we have come to agreeable terms with David Choi, the candidate to be our next Youth Pastor. Now, we must hold a special business meeting for a congregational vote to finish the process. Our current church constitution does not allow for any other means of voting except in person. (A constitutional change to address this issue will also be forthcoming). Therefore, I have called for a special business meeting to be held immediately after Sunday service, July 19th, 2020 for the single issue of voting on the candidacy of David Choi. The voting will be by ballot. I know this is awkward, especially for those who are not ready to venture out but we need at least a quorum (20% of the membership/ 25 members) to vote. If you do not feel comfortable in attending the church service for an hour, but would like to vote, consider stopping in at 10:45 to cast your vote and leave. If that doesn’t work for you, I am sorry and regret that you will not be able to vote. This is another casualty due to the virus and the restrictions.
Finally, there will be an important announcement made at the end of the business meeting, but no vote is required.
Yes, this is a time for joy and yet some sadness. However, we must continue to follow NY State requirements while the process slowly opens up. I want to thank you all for your patience and willingness to adapt to the changes. In the midst of all the distractions, both in the church with all the restrictions as well as outside with all the upheaval, let us take to heart Heb.12:1b-2;
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Peace in Christ,
*Note: The adult Sunday school class on the Book of Job will continue a few weeks by Zoom on Thursday evening @ 7:30PM replacing the Praise and Testimony time.