I’ve heard that there’s an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Folks, these are very interesting times. For some of us, these times pose only a small challenge, a minor disruption to our routines. I’ve seen lots of memes on Facebook that offer jokes about how easy this time of social distancing is for all the introverts out there. But even for an extrovert like me, this isn’t that big of a challenge. Other than my Sunday morning broadcasts from the sanctuary, I can do all my work from home. I suspect that’s true for a lot of you. But I know that I’m in the minority; I know that a lot of people are hurting.
I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to serve as a surrogate teacher. I know that a lot of you are pulling double duty as parents and part-time educators. That has to be a difficult endeavor, especially if you’re trying to work from home and keep your kids on-task. My heart goes out to all of you who have to serve as unpaid teachers’ aide, vice principal, disciplinarian, and homework enforcer on top of the challenges of being a parent.
I also know that many of you are dealing with reduced hours or furloughs. Even if these job changes are temporary, the financial pressure is enormous. That means that the anxiety can be enormous, too. I am counting my blessings in this time, and I urge everyone whose job is secure to do the same. We all need to stand in solidarity with those folks, especially those in our church family.
Now it’s time for some positive news. Your Session understands what all the rest of you are dealing with. The Ruling Elders of this congregation include parents of school-age children. That is, parents who have taken on the additional duties of vice principal, teachers’ aide, disciplinarian, and homework enforcer. The Session includes Elders who are still going in to work, Elders who are working from home, and Elders who have been furloughed from work. They are living through the same challenges as the rest of you.
What’s more, the Session is blessed with some very talented Elders—folks whose professional lives have prepared them well for leading in times of crisis. For example, our Personnel Chair, Paul Heinsohn, is a Human Resources (HR) executive. As an HR professional, Paul is up to his eyeballs in the CARES Act and the Payroll Protection Plan. Paul has been advising the Session in these matters and the Finance Committee (Bill Canning, Beth Sulzberg, and Rick Baptista) are in the process of applying for all the relief that the church is entitled to.
Furthermore, the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is waiving dues for up to three months for any congregation with fewer than 300 members. While this is only a small savings, every little bit counts. This is where all of you come in. If your employment has not been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, please send your offering to the church. You can put a check in the mail or you can make an online donation. Click this link to donate: https://www.eservicepayments.com/cgi-bin/Vanco_ver3.vps?appver3=wWsk24ZWJSTZKsGd1RMKlg0BDvsSG3VIWQCPJNNxD8upkiY7JlDavDsozUE7KG0nFx2NSo8LdUKGuGuF396vbc3-YsRmFqSFE-Evarm2sj6XHubq5Z7ap5JVmPErc4ZeYHCKCZhESjGNQmZ5B-6dxx-OOv6LvWNJrD2FxP-JnbI=&ver=3
Grace & Peace,
This is a reminder that we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper on Easter Sunday, even though we are worshiping online. Please remember to have bread (of any sort) and either grape juice or wine on hand as you celebrate communion at home. We believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ at the Lord’s Table when we all come together for communion. Jesus described himself as the bread of life and the true vine. The bread and the wine (or juice) are symbols that point to Jesus, so it’s important that we have those reminders as we gather at the table.
I miss seeing all of you in church every Sunday. I miss the random conversations after meetings, the handshakes after worship, and, of course, all the tables full of people at our coffee hours. I love people and I love coffee. Which is probably a big part of why I’m a Presbyterian minister.
While we’re separated by physical distance, it is possible to get together for a conversation and even a cup of coffee. The church now has a Zoom account for online video conferences. So, if you would like to get together for an online conversation and maybe a cup of coffee (no big whoop), please let me know. I’d be happy to set it up. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org