As snowflakes flurry outside my window, I find myself thinking of spring. At 33 1/2 weeks pregnant, it's easy to be planning ahead. I have multiple "to-do" and "to-get" lists (for home and for church!). This baby boy is due a day after what would have been my grandmother's 96th birthday, March 27th, the day before Palm Sunday. Yes -- it's easy to look ahead.
But I'm not only looking ahead to my son's arrival. I'm also looking ahead to shifts and transitions for our congregation. I know that many of you are receiving your first or second vaccine shot (praise be!), and I am so looking forward to the time when we will be able to gather in person again. I know that for some of you, that time cannot come soon enough.
The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel! I will be eligible for the next round of vaccinations and so I will be able to lead worship in person in our sanctuary hopefully as soon as I return from parental leave (my first Sunday back will be around June 13th if this little one arrives on time). Our re-entry team is working with our Board to put together a re-entry plan that will keep us all safe AND allow us to enjoy being together in body as well as in spirit.
And of course, not everyone will be vaccinated by the late spring. The re-entry team and Church Board are considering the needs of those who will be vaccinated as well as those who will still be waiting for a vaccine, including some of our staff members. One of the ways that we are working to prepare to continue to meet people's needs whether they are able to gather in-person or not is doing research, planning and preparation to livestream our worship. This will enable us to include people in our sanctuary and those joining us by Zoom or Facebook Live.
Yes, as snowflakes blow outside and daytime temperatures stay well under freezing, there is much to look forward to. And all of comes with messy, unexpected and beautiful moments. Spring. The birth of a baby. Returning to worshiping in our sanctuary. Our leadership retreat on February 27th. The work of our Mission & Outreach Team to discern God's call. The listening work of our Open and Affirming Discernment Team as they reach out to each of us, each of you, to talk about what Open and Affirming means to you. I hope and pray that the hope and promise of new life may settle into your spirit and sustain you in these cold and dreary days of winter.
With much love,