One of the things that makes Rebecca and me such good teammates is our approach to planning. Namely, Rebecca plans, and I don’t; but, having spent my entire career in the non-profit arts, I’ve become very good at adapting to change, often unexpected change. I roll with the punches; I’m malleable.
When we needed to switch to worshipping from home, I shrugged my shoulders and said “OK, how do we make it work?” While I knew I would miss being in the church, honoring my faith and making music in person with friends, I focused on the technological and logistical hurdles of bringing music to the CGS community through a screen. Our faith could be shared through cables and WiFi. Soon, it felt natural, if a little isolated.
So as we were preparing for this past Sunday, I approached it in much the same manner - focus on the process, worry about the details - without much thought as to how I would feel. There were so many more moving parts to think about - microphones, camera angles - actual non-family PEOPLE in the same room as me! We gathered to talk through the service, and suddenly it was 9:58 and I needed to play the prelude, and suddenly there was a hymn, and a sermon, and announcements, and communion, and suddenly it was over.
But there were moments when I could look up, not having to play, not having to mute or un-mute microphones - and I found myself awash in love and gratitude, sharing a sacred space with others. I saw that same love and gratitude in the faces of those who were there, and I imagined the faces of those who would soon also be able to join us. I stopped thinking about logistics and process, and allowed God’s blessings to overtake me.
To be sure, there were bumps and issues to work out, and I’m grateful to all of you for your patience and understanding. But this week’s service was a reminder that we are a community - a community who will soon be able to again share God’s love and peace with one another, face to (masked, for now) face. Change for the better!
May is a big month in my family, we celebrate my birthday, my son Tim’s birthday and Memorial Day, which always feels like the kick off to summer. This year I can add to the list of things to celebrate, a concrete move towards getting things more normal after surviving “unprecedented times”; we are moving towards getting our CGS family back into the sanctuary to worship again. At the Congregational Meeting we explained our plan, the worship leaders will begin leading worship from the sanctuary as of May 23 and when Santa Clara County moves to the Yellow Tier (or if tiers are gone, when the council reassesses that it’s safe) we will be welcoming a limited number of people back into the sanctuary to worship. After over a year of seeing everyone’s face on my computer screen the fact that I will be able to see some of you in person makes my heart so happy.
Over the past year, the council has spent much of our meeting time discussing our plans for bringing our church together in different ways. We all have grown tired of seeing our church family, Hollywood Squares style, on a screen and we all wanted to see each other “In-Person”. Our wanting to be together was constant, but keeping everyone safe was the most important thing to the Council. We heard from so many of you about wanting to come back, not wanting to come back, about not being sure how you felt about coming back. Before our April Council meeting, Pastor Manda and Alene took a lot of time and effort to map out a proposal with how we could start coming together. The council in turn spent a lot of time discussing the plan. As we talked, I tried to always remember that everything we do should reflect CGS’ mission to Proclaim, Welcome and Serve. To me serving our family means being diligent to protect each other. Following the county mandated regulations, like mask wearing and posting COVID-19 signage around the facility, is one of the ways we can love our neighbor and serve our community. I have heard from a few of you, that now that we are vaccinated, it is safe for us to return to our sanctuary and some of the restrictions we are putting in place are not necessary. We on Council wanted to be sure we were ready to welcome all, not just the people who are vaccinated. CGS has a long history of being welcoming of all and I don’t believe that will ever change.
God has walked through this pandemic with each of us individually and with CGS as a whole. I never would have expected that I would feel connected to our community through watching church online, but I’m happy to say, I have. Right now, I have a hopeful feeling that we will see the end of this pandemic in the not too distant future. More and more people are getting vaccinated and the term “herd immunity’ is being used more and more all the time. Thinking of the day that we open the CGS sanctuary for worship to our family makes my heart so full.
So, in the next couple weeks, my family will be celebrating birthdays and the upcoming holiday, but I want you to know that I am also celebrating our Church family, and what the future holds for us.
The God who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.
2 Corinthians 9.
Do you know the Altar Guild?
The Altar Guild is the name we give to the group of people who work between Sundays and behind the scenes to make our worship happen.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.