It’s been a long haul since the pandemic began, but we’ve had some positive improvements this summer. We are still facing COVID and the Delta variant has appeared, but we can still get out and about a lot better. The vaccinations have allowed for that and I’m very grateful for them. But as we emerge from the summer and approach a new school year we are all wondering what’s next? As a pastor, I’m planning and looking to the fall. It’s almost like a new year with the new school year approaching. The fall will bring a new routine, a new school year and the holidays will be here before we know it.
As I look into the next couple of months I see new opportunities. We might be able to do more together this fall than we did last fall. We are up and running on social media and we can connect with far more people than we did before the pandemic. Our Clothing Giveaways will continue and we’ll meet the needs of the community. The neighborhood civic association is up and running and there are neighborhood leaders to connect with and serve with. This is an exciting and creative time.
It’s also a time of change. Congregational life has been shifting in the wider church for many years now, but the pandemic has changed things faster. Since the pandemic began, congregational life has shifted for all congregations, not just here at Westhunt. We don’t know how it will all turn out and we don’t know when the shifting will stop. We don’t know a lot about the shift, but we know it’s happening. It can feel unsettling to experience these changes and wonder when our church life will get back to normal. I wish I had that answer, but I don’t. In fact, I am in a place where I think we will need to begin a new normal.
Our new normal will be a hybrid model of worship. The plan is to begin live-streaming our worship services so we can continue our online ministry. We get a decent amount of traffic on our Facebook page and we want to continue that ministry. We’ll also have in-person worship service as long as the COVID situation allows it. I’m hoping that this hybrid model of worship will continue and we won’t have to close our building again.
As for Sunday School, weekly Bible Studies and meals together, we’ll have to see what we can do to bring things back. Our church council will meet on Sunday, August 15th and we’ll have some reports from committees and some more information. At that meeting I will be creating a separate small planning group to meet with me to help plan for the fall. That way we can plan together and be creative together. It will be a group of 3-5 people at the most to assist me in accomplishing our goals for the fall. The thought is that the church council meeting will deal with the administrative things and reports of the church, and the small planning team will deal with the new ideas, programs and events. That way a smaller group can come alongside me to help shape the next few months of the church’s ministry.
My goal is to do ministry alongside the members of Westhunt and include lay leaders in the planning process. Creating a team of people to help plan and be creative about the next few months makes the most sense to me. There are lots of options, new ideas, and things to consider as we walk through this next phase of ministry. I need a small group of people to assist with that.
As we go through these uncertain days let me assure you that we will get through this. I have faith in us to make the right decisions for our ministry and also in our ability to be creative. I see life and vitality in this church, even as we seem to be scattered between worshipping in person and worshipping virtually. I’ve seen leaders step up and lead during the pandemic. We’ve had all hands on deck for a long time now and that is very much to the church’s credit. We will walk through this and get through this. And we’ll do it together.