2021 Pastor’s Report
During 2021 we continue to struggle with the fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic. For nearly half of the year we were online only, then in-person, but outdoors, and now indoors with livestreaming to those who remain uncomfortable with a return to indoor worship. The pandemic, and its effects on worship has, not surprisingly, had enormous ripple effects throughout the life of the church. Giving, while stable through 2020, saw a major decline during the first half of 2021 but has seen some recovery since our return indoors. Church committees, which did an admirable job of pivoting to Zoom during the lockdown, have largely returned to in-person meetings but, to some extent, still struggle with finding ways to maintain effective mission and ministry while also wearing masks, social distancing, etc.
But, as we have transitioned back to worship in our sanctuary, and have retained our online presence, we are hopeful that, as the pandemic, eventually, winds down, that we will see more members return to a fact-to-face connection. We are hopeful that we will renew our connection with our friends and meet in-person with those who found us online, and whom we have only met virtually. We are hopeful that our attendance, and giving, will return to, and exceed, our pre-pandemic levels, and we look forward to a return to more active participation in mission and ministry outside the walls of our church.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t done anything this year. Although all meals continue to be carry-out only, we continue to host the weekly community dinners which are now serving more than 130 meals each week. Christ Church once again raised considerably more than was pledged for our part in the “Apostle Build” Habitat for Humanity house constructed this summer. And, due to the unexpected spike in the price of building materials caused by the pandemic lock down, the excess funds that we raised were sorely needed and greatly appreciated. Our United Methodist Women had a successful Basement Sale fundraiser and, once again, donated a large amount of unsold clothing and housewares to our friends at the Big Creek mission in the Red Bird missionary conference. Even though we have been unable to send a mission team for two years, we hope to deliver a full trailer of donations before the snow flies. These and other mission efforts have adapted and continued despite the difficulties of the past two years. This adaptability and persistence encourages us and makes us hopeful that next year will be even better.
And so, as we move toward Thanksgiving, Advent, and a New Year, we understand that the crisis is not over. We look forward to preparing 1200 Thanksgiving meals for our community, double our number for last year and close to where we were before the pandemic. But we know that we will continue to face struggles and will have obstacles to overcome. At the same time, we are encouraged and hopeful that God will has plans for us and will continue to use Christ Church as a lighthouse of hope and an embassy of his kingdom in our community and for our world. Our prayer is that we will move from a place of struggle and surviving, to reviving, and then onward to thriving.
We may not know the future, but we know who holds the future.
And that future is full of hope.
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