Wow! There is so much that I want to say, but I'll try to keep it somewhat brief here. First THANK YOU! To Rev. Elizabeth! To our staff Nikki and Staci who had to cover extra things while I was gone. To our amazing re-entry team -- Myer, Kathy M., Craig B. and Mary! You all have done a tremendous amount of work getting us to the place where we will gather for in-person worship in our sanctuary this week! And I know Jon Haux, Craig Jump, and Paul Heintzleman have put in hours and hours to prepare us for live-streaming. All of our lay leaders -- THANK YOU! And then, thank you to each of you for your prayers these last weeks, for your cards and gifts and AMAZING meals! The love and care with which you have surrounded my family has buoyed us during this time of little sleep and major transitions!
While it is bittersweet to be leaving my little one a couple of days a week and a bit of a juggle to work with him (thank goodness he naps well!), returning to my role doing ministry with all of you is all sweet -- like coming home.
As I think about this coming Sunday and gathering for the first time in 15 months in our sanctuary for worship, I keep wanting to call it a "return." But I think the language of return is not quite right. These 15 months of pandemic have changed us -- individually and collectively. We will be different as we gather on Sunday for worship. Zoom has left many of us feeling wanting or simply hasn't met our worshiping needs while it has allowed others to join in worship when normally they can't. We are now a community that is both geographically located and that is beyond geographic location. Some of us are ready to dive back into pre-pandemic life while others of us are still fearful for our health or that of our unvaccinated children. Some of us are joyful and ready for this re-entry while others carry heavy griefs of missed rituals, illness, a sense of lost time or the deaths of people we love that we may or may not have been able to grieve.
The beauty is that we are a community that can hold this complexity. There is room at God's table and in God's house for all of us: grieving or joyful, excited or anxious, ready or uncertain, in-person and online. Seeking God's presence and guidance, we will navigate this time with grace, courage, patience and love. As ever, I am so grateful to be navigating this with each of you.
With so much love and gratitude,