With in-person worship cancelled, you might think that everything has come to a grinding halt here at FCC. Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth!
In terms of the church office, we have never been busier. That’s because I feel strongly that the work of our church must continue despite the cancellation but this entails implementing new ways of “Being the Church” right now.
That means finding alternative ways of sustaining our sense of community. It means finding new ways to communicate. It means delivery Christ’s message of courage, assurance, and hope in ways that we haven’t utilized before.
All of that takes time and testing, but we are making steady progress. We are making that progress because many people are stepping up to help out in this critical time. Consequently, there are people who need a special word of thanks.
First our staff. Our Office Manager, Beth Grzegorzewski, has maintained her regular office hours while juggling child care and her work has truly been invaluable. While we are all trying to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, she has flattened the curve of our learning about new technologies and postings online.
She has been great at anticipating things around the needs of Sunday School during this time and has made sure that we are innovating our means of communicating with all of you.
Beth plays a dual role on our staff and is, of course, also our Staff Soloist. In that capacity, she has also been recording music with Mariko that has been posted.
And speaking of Mariko Matsumura, our Director of Music Ministries, a HUGE thank you to her as well because she has also been innovative in keeping connected with all of you and the children of Harmony Lites in particular.
Mariko is always ready and willing to record music from home or from the Sanctuary for online posting in order to keep our church vibrant, moving, and dynamic during this challenging time.
Beyond our staff, we also have many lay people who have stepped up as well.
At the risk of leaving someone out, let me lift up our Senior Deacons, Dan and Beth Hampson who have been exceedingly accessible to bounce ideas off of and offer encouragement.
The same goes for our Worship Deacons, Jim Oosterman and Barbara Krol-Sinclair, who have been instrumental in our decision making about when to return to in-person worship. They are also being very creative about new ways of delivering a Sunday morning worship experience now and in the coming weeks.
A shout out also to Lisa Oosterman and Candy Brower who have been monitoring church finances and keeping things up to date.
They have been very helpful in planning for communication with congregation about finances should our cancellations continue long-term.
Our Deacon of Spiritual Care, Becky Foth, has been reaching out on her own to our homebound roster.
I would also add that it is great to have all of those on our Board of Deacons in the wings in their particular areas of ministry during this time. It is really wonderful to have them there because it prevents us from feeling like we are flying solo here.
The church is still the church during this time and that means all of you! The way you practice your discipleship these days could not be more important.
Whether privately with your family or online or with people you encounter from a distance when you are out, you magnify the love of God in who you are.
Beyond our church, our wider connections are very important right now. I am thankful for the Melrose Clergy Association for their sharing of ideas and resources during this time. Our covenantal relationship with the Southern New England conference of the United Church of Christ is also a tremendous asset right now.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank, as we all should, all of our medical professionals who are stretched to the absolute limit right now with only more to come. The stress they are under is enormous.
And let’s not forget other people who are helping all of us out these days: Farmers who continue to grow our food, truck drivers who deliver that food and other supplies to our local communities, warehouse workers and grocery store clerks. Janitors and DPW workers are vitally important right now and their work is more challenging right now.
I give thanks for them and I hope you will as well.
The bottom line is that we will get through all of this! And we will get through it because we are all working together in God’s love to bring about a new day.
When you look around at all of those who are pulling together, there is truly much to be thankful for!