Dear HBC family,
Almost 11 weeks ago, life as we had come to know it radically changed. I venture to say that none of us had ever uttered the words pandemic or coronavirus in our conversations around the dinner table or with a coworker or friend. Life was moving along relatively smoothly with excitement building for the soon starting of spring. Plans were being made. Life was being lived. And for the most part, routines were commonplace. It was normal.
But then the pause button was pushed. Everything changed. Our “normalcy” turned on its head and we started to adjust. We found ourselves stocking up on toilet paper (of all things) and jumping into a winter storm survival mode. Grocery stores were packed. Our work shifted from the office to home. Hospitals around the country ramped up their response to the predicted influx of respiratory illnesses that were starting to plague our nation. Essential workers were mobilized to be on the front lines. We found ourselves untied against a common foe – one that we could not see with our eyes – but one that would impact our lives and our society in ways that we didn’t fully comprehend at the time.
And with the changes around us, the church changed. Not its mission. Not its focus. Not even her reason for being. We rose to the challenge of continuing to be the church – even though we were not able to gather. We adapted and launched new ways of sharing the Good News of Jesus (the Gospel) with our HBC family and our community and beyond. In many ways and through many efforts, the response of you, HBC, during these days has been remarkable. You have continued to shine the light of Jesus in so many ways. Although we were not able to “assemble ourselves together” in Bible study and worship, you embraced a “new normal” in our Facebook Live worship service and our online Bible study. Deacons reached out to their families and provided care and spiritual encouragement through prayer and concern. We found new ways to remain connected through more cards, emails, phone calls and texts. We continued to remain diligent in our financial giving – supporting our weekly budget needs as well as exceeding our goal for the stained glass window renovation project and the interior painting of the sanctuary. In so many ways and for so many reasons, I am so very proud of you and honored to be your pastor.
“What comes next?” Naturally, we all want to get back together. We long for the day when we can gather together for corporate worship inside the sanctuary of HBC. We eagerly want to enjoy the fellowship that is such a wonderful part of being the family of God. Legally, we are able to do so.
But, just because we can, doesn’t always mean that we should. The makeup of every church is different and every church is autonomous – meaning that it, and it alone, can determine what is best in its particular situation. We have a large number of senior saints – many who have underlying health issues. We are making the decision not to physically “re-open” our facilities at HBC at this time. We need to be safe. Therefore, an actual date of our “re-opening” cannot be firmly set. But it WILL be soon! The health of our congregation is of vital importance.
I want you to know that as we wait to re-open, we are making plans to do so – and do it well. From social distancing to sanitizing to making changes in the ways that we do various things, we are making sure that we are safe – for ourselves and for others. We will develop a "new normal." Soon. Please be patient, supportive and prayerful….just like you have been. It means so much.
Thank you for being who you are. I see you every day in my heart and you are always in my prayers. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your spiritual journey. I am so glad that you are a part of mine.
You are loved..., more than you know.
May 22, 2020 2:00 pm