On June 28, several deacons and I opened the sanctuary for those who wished to come and pray in our church sanctuary on a Sunday morning. How strange it was to sit on the front steps of our church on a Sunday morning and simply watch the town pass by. Instead of rushing inside to get ready for a service, instead of closing the doors to lead worship, I simply sat outside the church, available and waiting. For many, these past few months have been a long season of waiting – waiting to see how the virus will affect our area, waiting to see what scientists will discover about the virus, waiting to see what decisions will be made regarding closures and changes in plans.

In some ways, this season of “waiting to see” has reminded me of life with a newborn baby. I remember the first few weeks of parenthood as a blur of worries about the baby’s health and well-being. I soon learned that whatever it was that worried me on any given day was likely to be replaced by a completely different worry a few days later. I was frequently reminded of the futility of worrying about the future, because even the short term future (a few days or weeks away) was too far away to be predictable. In the days of COVID-19, I have again been reminded that long-term planning is not always helpful or relevant. Those who know me well realize how much of a challenge this is! Yet, in this season, there is much which we must wait to see. Of course, the waiting is not the only challenge these days. Sitting outside the sanctuary on Sunday morning was different, but walking inside the sanctuary was different as well. I was wearing a mask, and pews were taped off to remind us to observe social distancing, making only every 3rd pew available. I was reminded of last summer at Vacation Bible School, when we covered the aisle between the pews with blue tablecloths and “parted the sea” as we told the children the story of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. The tape on the pews this summer may not be quite as “fun,” but I hope we can tap into our adventurous spirits to find ways to celebrate and enjoy these strange days.

For many, these past few months have been a long season of waiting – waiting to see how the virus will affect our area, waiting to see what scientists will discover about the virus, waiting to see what decisions will be made regarding closures and changes in plans.

Next week, Church Council will meet via Zoom to discuss plans for church services during the coming weeks. Thank you to so many of you who completed the Return to Church survey. We received 48 responses, which will be tremendously helpful as we make plans. We are tentatively planning to offer some kind of outdoor or drive-in service for Sunday, July 12, in addition to an online service. There are many details yet to be worked out, and we will communicate those with you as soon as possible. We are committed to continuing to offer online worship for the foreseeable future, and we encourage everyone to worship in the way which is the best fit for you, whether that be online or, as opportunity allows, in person.

Thank you for your faithful support of our church and staff during these interesting days of “waiting to see.”

— Pastor Jennifer Rygg, 6/28/20