First, I have returned from sabbatical early. I never knew how important it would be to keep “Perspective: Calm within the Storm.” Al and I were graced to make it home from a once in a lifetime journey before the shelter in place order. We self-quarantined. And, like you we are staying home to help flatten the curve.
Second, my office is at home and in my car—as is the rest of our pastoral staff. Our contract staff also work from home. They have been working alongside you—our Pastors and congregations to provide the very best information and support for this unprecedented time. Our clergy clusters have been meeting by Zoom—our team acting as hosts and facilitators of conversation.
Third, you are amazing! I’ve been watching you. On Facebook Live, on YouTube, daily, weekly. It has been a wonder. Your heroic efforts to learn new technology in order to care for your people has been a gift to behold. So, were not perfect at it. So, we’ve learned that you must hold the phone camera horizontally. So, there have been a few bumps along the way. You have kept at it and learned and grown. And, who knew the audience would grow?!
Still others have made it a point to use good standard communication tools—like phone calls, postcards, mailing sermons, making DVD’s and MP4’s. Thank you for caring for each other in such profound ways. You are making this time of pandemic meaningful because you care.
Fourth, what also makes meaning in a crisis is coming together. It’s what the church does and is. Jesus called his disciples into a new community formed by Love—God’s love for the whole of creation. (John 3:16-17) This is why we are here.
Fifth, we will come out of this. It may take time. Covid-19 will be with us for years. As your Regional Minister, I want you to know that our decisions will be guided by the very best advice of public health officials, and Jesus’ concern for the most vulnerable. We must be guided by an ethic of Love—it is the one commandment.
Last, we need to be thinking about how we will come out of this—because we will not be the same. You know this. Let’s not miss the learning opportunity in this moment. We are better together. We are in one household of God—what happens to you happens to me. I suggest reading an article like this one: https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/18/20-questions-your-church-should-answer-before-people-return/
We will host a conversation in the coming weeks about this last concern.
In the meantime, we have a morning prayer time available to anyone. (See related article). And, I invite you to practice with me “Perspective: Calm within the Storm.”