Dear Church Family,
The Southern New England United Church of Christ Bridge Conference Minister, Rev. Don Remick, offers these reflections from a survey of Southern New England Clergy:
The cumulative level of weariness for clergy and leadership trying to balance meaningful impactful and safe worship is palpable in the survey comments. This is an extraordinarily difficult time for church staff and leadership. They are trying to lead faithfully through the complexities of administration pastoral care worship and missional work. It is compounded by the tension and anxiety that surrounds this election cycle where intense ideologies are found in the community and congregation. It is layered by the long fight against racism.
Your staff and leadership need the support of their congregations to affirm their efforts and provide them with the rest and relief they need to renew their emotions and restore their souls.
Don’s words resonate with our church staff. The concern about our church family and each person’s well-being is part of our weekly and sometimes daily conversations. We miss you and we too miss the rhythm joys and concerns singing hymns passing the peace and chatting in coffee hour. We are all walking a tight rope of balance between connecting in person and keeping everyone healthy. In addition, no one has taken their full vacation or education time this year. Therefore we will close the office the week of Thanksgiving. Of course I will be available for emergencies as they arise. We ask for your prayers for rest and renewal. May you find respite as we all pause to ponder the blessings of life and the ways we can live more equitably. For clergy and staff we ask these specific prayers. Please pray for Penelope as she grieves her mother-in-law Martha and for Mark in the sudden death of his brother. We ask for your prayers for Judi as her out of state in-laws become increasing ill and for Sandra as her out of state father has endured several hospital visits. Please pray for Annemarie as she plans to see her grandchildren. We ask prayers for Jake Bill and me as we long to visit out of state family.
As we inch toward Christmas we are working to be creative. Soon you will be invited to register for Christmas Eve service. There will be three. The five o’clock service will be family focused ending with a Live Nativity in the Memorial Garden. Judi will be in touch! For all who attend this service please feel free to dress as an angel shepherd a royal or animal of your choice. At the seven and nine services we will read scripture reflect and pray by candlelight. If we need to add an eleven o’clock service we will.
Currently, on a regular Sunday, seventy people per service can attend registered masked and sitting by household. Once the cold sets in for winter, we will have a 40 degrees and above cut-off for having in-person worship on a given week, but worship will remain available on-line as we prerecord the sermon.
Dear ones... God is with us. We may be separated in numerous ways and yet we are together in faith and love. May you the hope of peace and feel the grace of eternal love.
Dear Church Family,