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Unbind Him, Graphite in sketchbook

The peace of Christ be with you all.

We have now been in relative isolation for two weeks. We do not know when we will be able to gather for worship again. It has all happened relatively quickly. We are experiencing all the stages of grief, denial, shock, anger, sorrow, and maybe begrudging acceptance. We have a steep learning curve ahead of us as we figure out how to connect with one another in meaningful ways for the next couple months.

First, the M&P and I have decided to postpone my sabbatical for at least two weeks. I was scheduled to begin my time off on April 13, following Easter Morning worship. But we feel we need a couple more weeks to develop some stability and rhythm before I leave. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt accordingly.

Second, Sunday worship will come to you in abbreviated format on Sunday mornings through the blog “Sunday Gathering.” It should come to you in the body of an email (no clicks needed). It will contain a brief centering exercise, an opening prayer, the reflection, a community prayer followed by the disciples’ prayer, and a sending forth. We are looking for people willing to read “Sunday Gathering” to folks who do not have internet. Please contact the office if you are so willing and we will assign someone to you (or let us know to whom you plan to read it).

For those who are looking for more content for Sunday devotion, you will find it on the blog under “Dearly Beloved” (ie. Scripture readings, prayers, perhaps music if we get that technical). The “Lenten Devotional” Blog will continue as it has.

Third, the Pastoral Care Team is preparing a prayer roster. It will include all the households on our directory. Every day, we will be asked to pray for 4 or 5 households, to think about those people and perhaps even to call, email, or write them to let them know we are thinking of them. It is so important at this particular time that we remember that we are ALL “shut-ins”. And we need to care for one another by reaching out. We all need to be responsible for offering AND receiving pastoral care. We need to stay connected (especially to those people we don’t necessarily know very well).

Fourth, your leadership teams will be communicating using Zoom. Zoom is a form of video conferencing accessible to low tech solutions. People can call in from their home phones once they have been given a number, a pass code, and a time to call. I’m hopeful that all our small groups will be able to meet this way. If you would like your small group to meet this way, email the office with the time, and the people you would like included as guests, and Zoe will book the time and send out an invitation and instructions. Two or Three months just before summer is a long time for us to be apart. Connecting in small groups through conference calls will alleviate the isolation for many.

Finally, every Friday, we will send out an informational email, that will contain announcements, links to the weekly blogs, calendar, prayer roster, and any other pertinent information. Sunday morning, the "Sunday Gathering" blog will come to you in the body of an email.

Following are some other announcement from other ministries in the church.

For now, I leave you with these words from Paul,

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. … Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:12-13, 15)

Love in Christ,

Rev David Cathcart