A Letter From Our Pastor, March 13, 2020


Dearly Beloved,


As I hope you have heard, our Executive Committee made the difficult decision to pause our in-person worship beginning this Sunday, March 15. I am so thankful for leaders who face such decisions prayerfully, thoughtfully and faithfully, especially when such decisions are difficult. One of the things we discussed last night was how vital community right now.  


What will community and worship look like if we are not meeting in person?

· We will be worshiping remotely using Zoom for our Sunday morning gatherings and Facebook Live (my personal page  https://www.facebook.com/thandiwe.daleferguson) for sermons. 

· Our deacons and I are available for pastoral care, prayer and conversation any time. Please reach out to us.

· Check your email and the church’s Facebook page for prayers, reflections and updated resources about COVID-19 and recommendations for our wider communities.

· Don’t have Facebook or email? Contact our Church office for mailed copies of our order of service and my sermon manuscripts.  

· Please mail Financial gifts to the church to support our ongoing ministries. I realize that many of us have been impacted financially by the coronavirus and that contractors and those working in certain fields face uncertainty about income in the weeks to come. Please continue to give to our church at whatever level you can so that we can continue to minister to and support those in our community in need of care and assistance.


I want to share some wisdom from a Rabbi, Yosef Kanefsky:

“One of the brand new terms that has entered our daily conversation is ‘social distancing’. It is shorthand, as we know very well, for the practical physical precautions that we all need to and must take in order to protect ourselves and others. I’d humbly suggest though, that we use the term itself sparingly, if at all. Language is a powerful shaper of thinking. And the very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing. We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arrive. It is obvious that ‘distancing’, if misplaced or misunderstood, will take its toll not only upon our community’s strength and resiliency, but upon the very integrity and meaning of our spiritual commitment. And who knows if it was for this time that we have committed ourselves to walk in God’s ways.”


Friends, in the midst of such uncertainty, it is by God’s grace and the knowledge of the power of our faith that we can look forward with hope. God is good even and perhaps especially in times that are bad. Now more than ever, we need the Lenten stories of wilderness, of mystery, of struggle and unanswered questions. We, with the Israelites, look to God’s presence and provision in uncertainty. We, with Jesus’ followers want clear answers and yet we walk with Christ towards the cross. May we trust that beyond the criss is an empty tomb, a garden, resurrection and new life. May we carry the light, hope and love of Christ within us. 


I am thankful for each of you, for our community, and for the courage of our leaders to do something none of us really wanted to do because we believe it is the right and faithful thing to best care for our community.


Please take care of yourselves. And please, please reach out to me. Reach out to one another. Make phone calls. Write letters. Send a text. Let people know that even if we are not seeing one another in person, we are holding each other close. Indeed, it is for times such as these that we cultivate our faith.


In love and faith,

Thandiwe


I leave you with A Prayer for a Pandemic by Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. 

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.


May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. 

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options. 


May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go. 

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. 

May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.


As fear grips our country, let us choose love. 

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,

let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. 

Amen.