I'm writing this from my kitchen table. Outside is cool, but beautifully sunny. Buds are beginnning to appear on trees and the annual plethora of dandilions have started to bloom. It seems that spring is fully here and summer is on the way. But I'm trusting in that based on millenia of history and decades of personal experience. I don't actually know the future.
The changing of seasons is easy to predict. In today's world, though, predicting much else is a challenge. Up to six months ago, some others predicted that we'd still be in the throes of a pandemic in April, but I was hopeful they were mistaken. It was my hope, and the hope of our board, that we would have, by now, been able to take advantage of the increasingly nice weather to have outdoor gatherings. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing health crisis, this isn't an option we have been free to pursue. We remain committed to honouring health regulations and health workers by being cautious in our approach to gathering.
We cannot predict the future, but we can plan for what we hope to happen in the weeks and months to come. I've taken hope in some of what we talked about on Sunday. The "famine" around us cannot and will not thwart God's plans, which are much bigger than simply regathering. He wants us to be in relationship with him through Christ. He wants us to grow up in Christ embodying the fruit of the Spirit. He wants us to love. Those purposes are not put on hold in a pandemic. We can each, together, lean into what God is doing in this time and remain hopeful.
From that place of hope, we have thought about what we are planning for the weeks and months to come as a Covenant community. These plans are all tentative, but this is our hope as we look forward to the spring and summer months.
- We are looking forward to moving some of our ministries to outdoor in person gatherings. Our Youth ministry will likely be the first to resume in person gathering. Our Women's Bible Study ran outdoor meetings in the fall and may resume them when appropriate.
- We are looking forward to offering larger outdoor worship gatherings as soon as we are able to. Very likely the first thing that will be allowed is "Church services." We won't move our Sunday morning gathering outside (because we want to keep it accessible online), but we are looking forward to being able to offer some kind of worship events on our lawn.
- We are looking forward to offering social church family and community events outside in the Spring and summer. We would love to host family movie nights or other activities outside as restrictions allow.
- We are looking forward to reengaging with our music teams and expanding our tech teams on Sunday mornings. We are working towards having barriers made which will allow music teams, in some form, to resume leading music live on Sundays. We have added tech pieces to what we do on Sunday mornings and would like to train previous and new people to participate in this essential part of the ministry. (If you're interested in being a part of the tech team moving forward, we have people who can train you! Message Jon ([email protected]) or Brent ([email protected]) to express your interest.
- We are looking forward to taking some time this summer to catch our breath. It has been a long haul for the handful of people who have been putting together what you participate on Sunday morning. In order to give them some rest, we are planning to pre-record a few weeks of summer services that will be broadcast at the right time on Sunday mornings, but will not be presented live.
- We are looking forward to September 12 as a target day for when we will be able to resume in-person indoor gatherings on Sunday morning. While right now that feels like a long way away, our hope is that as we take advantage of outdoor gatherings and as many of you are more active over the summer, time will fly by quickly. Those of you for whom this news is hard, we understand and are praying that God will buoy your spirits as we wait for when in person gatherings are possible. We recognize that for others, gathering in person by September feels rushed. We are committed to providing a quality online experience long term and are constantly working to improve it!
Our plans are not perfect because we don't know what is to come. But I pray we will be able to hold on to the promise that God is faithful and he will be with us whatever comes.