(Note: What follows is a copy of my report included in this year’s Charge Conference paperwork)
Pastor’s Report – 2020
If you wanted to deliberately turn the life of the church upside-down, you could not have imagined a better tool than COVID-19. Virtually everything changed. And yet, they didn’t. Our committee meetings changed, but once we got comfortable with Zoom, and social distancing protocols, most of our committees are still meeting. We aren’t using our church building on Sunday, and yet, we’re still “having church” every week. Sometimes via YouTube, sometimes in our church parking lot, sometimes both and two out of three Sunday school classes are still meeting weekly via Zoom (and it’s the younger group that isn’t). We can’t pass offering plates on Sunday morning, and yet, our offerings are often as good, or better, than they were last year.
The weekly community dinners have changed but have never stopped. The first week after the lockdown, one sponsoring church cancelled, but the people of Christ Church immediately stepped up, improvised, and prepared a carry out meal so that those who rely on us were fed. Since then, our regular church hosts, as well as few others, have all stepped in, and stepped up, and our weekly Tuesday meals have continued, and have… grown. In the last month, the lines have been longer, and the number of guests has increased. Occasionally, the food has run out, but the word has spread, everyone is adapting, and more food will be prepared for the next meal.
Obviously, there are things that we can’t do. Our mission trips to Harrisburg, Liberia and Big Creek, Kentucky have been postponed until it is once again safe to do so, but we have already collected an enormous pile of things to take with us to Kentucky simply because our members have taken advantage of this time and used it to do some Spring cleaning. Similarly, gifts in support of our trip to Liberia are continuing to appear in our church offerings so that, when the time comes, we will be ready. And, as our Outreach Committee discussed these changes, they deliberately looked for how the needs of our community might have changed and how we might be a part of caring for new communities or new areas of need that were caused by, or exacerbated by, the pandemic. And so, while some planned and budgeted gifts are not needed, we have shifted gifts, and fund-raising efforts to new places where the needs are great.
Although things sometimes seem to have turned upside down, the mission never changed, and the church has continued to be the church. We have changed, we have adapted, we are learning new things every week, but we are still here. Our membership has remained connected in new ways, and we see new names participating in our online forums. In short, the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, the homeless are housed, and we continue to look for ways that we can be the church, and places where we can be Jesus to the people around us.
The church is still here.
The mission continues.
We continue to seek Jesus Christ and to share his love with the people around us.
We could do nothing less.
I hope that all of you remain well. I encourage you to continue our mission, continue to be the church, and continue to share the love of Jesus Christ with the world around you.
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