By now, I pray all of you reading this have received both the news and the detailed plans for the resumption of in-person worship services beginning this Sunday June 7th. Since these plans were originally communicated on Tuesday of this week, there has been one change. In addition to live-streaming the 11:00 am service, we will also be live-streaming the 8:30 am service.

Speaking of live-streaming, I am so very thankful that our congregations is filled with so many gifted individuals such as Mark Trammell and Daniel Farris, who along with others, have enabled us to not only live-stream our services but because of their dedication to ministry excellence, week after week we have been able to improve upon the viewer’s experience and ability to participate in the services.

We know that many of you will not be attending services this Sunday as you do not feel it yet safe for you and/or your family members to be out and about. Please know that we understand and affirm your decision and we look forward to that day when we can all worship together. I don’t know when this might be, but I know we all look forward to that day!

Since much of our congregation will not be gathering in the Sanctuary on Sunday and instead will be watching one of the live-streams, we will continue with the virtual consecration of the Holy Communion elements as we’ve done the last two Communion Sundays. Inside the Sanctuary, once we have shared together in the liturgy for Holy Communion, we will pass out the elements to all who are present and then we will all, those present in person and virtually will partake in the Sacramental Meal at the same time.

I would like to share briefly some thoughts I have regarding the plans our Committee on Resuming In-Person Worship put together; plans the Administrative Council ultimately approved. At the heart of all discussions in which I took part, was a deep desire to protect the safety and well-being of the entirety of our congregation, even if that meant doing some things that were not the most ideal.

Although never mentioned during our meetings, the faithful leaders of this church seemed to be channeling the words of Paul that he conveyed to the Corinthian Church: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

I know one of the most challenging things for those who are worshipping in our Sanctuary will be the wearing of their mask for the entirety of the worship service (except for the brief moment when they are partaking in Holy Communion). Maybe we should think of it this way. Wearing a mask is a practical way to show that you love your neighbor, to lift the burden of someone who is afraid instead of adding to it. And if you don’t believe that masks are necessary, and you wear one anyway — then that is an even more extraordinary witness of selfless love like that which Christ models for us and calls us to live out in our lives.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you ALL.