June Pastor’s Pondering

I wish I could give you a definitive answer – but I can’t! (Bishop Jung, the Cabinet, and the WAC COVID-19 Task Force has recently stated that June 21, 2020, is the earliest possible date to resume any type of in-person worship.)

Re-opening a church is especially difficult. Here are some of the reasons why.

We gather many people. On a poorly attended Sunday morning, we have about 80 people in our pews. On a well-attended service, we may have as many as 125! Our demographic is made up of many folks over 60 years old. (In fact, the United Methodist Church in the United States is the fourth “oldest” denomination.) We have many who have health concerns that make them especially vulnerable to this virus. We like to shake hands, give hugs, enjoy our coffee hour snacks, and simply visit with one another in close proximity. We like to sing, and we love it when children gather in Sunday School or come forward for a Children’s Message. And we like to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion – together!

All these things are great! They build community, offer support, give us incentive to reach out in our community and world, and help us to grow in the faith as we worship together.

Yet, the plain truth is that these things we cherish so, can also make us terribly ill, and even kill us.

For this sobering reason, we will continue to worship remotely for the foreseeable future.

Pastors, Cabinet Members, and our Bishop have been meeting online weekly (sometimes more frequently) to stay current on the topic of COVID-19 and the issue of re-opening churches. We are listening closely to advice from the CDC, the State of Wisconsin, Rock County Health Department, National Experts, the Wisconsin Council of Churches and one another to make the best decisions on “when and how” this will all unfold. Please read the related articles in this newsletter to better understand the complexity of re-opening churches under these conditions.

For now, I am focused on providing the best online worship experience that I can with the skills and technology that our worship team currently has. My goal is to do my best to bring you God’s grace, forgiveness, and love in a new and challenging way. I also what to keep you healthy and safe. Funerals are part of my job. I just don’t want to bring them on prematurely. It’s that serious!

Be safe and stay healthy!

Pastor Will

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