Certainly, the most challenging aspect of this crisis has been the distance between you and me. God knows I miss all of you.
I miss the physical proximity of Sunday mornings, the congeniality of our conversations, and the collaboration of sojourning partnership in God’s vision for UBC.
Maybe the Old Apostle can capture how I feel, as he wrote the church in Philippi:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (1:3-8)
The connectivity of community is essential for the health of a church. And while we have been striving towards connectivity through phone calls, video meetings, Sunday School and Spiritual Formation group time, daily check-in calls, and interactive social media posts, I long for the time when we will be back together in person.
As frustrating as it is, that time has not yet come. While this virus infection rate seems to be on a downward trajectory, social distancing is still recommended. We, those who follow Jesus, want to do our part in loving our neighbor by following these guidelines.
The pastoral and congregational staff are working on implementing safety precautions for when the time is right to gather back in person. We are considering sanitation stations, larger spaces for Sunday School groups to meet, recommended distances within the sanctuary, modifying worship practices to prevent contamination, and so much more.
My prayer is that we will all continue to do our part to love and care for one another through making phone calls, sending messages, sharing our resources, and considering the least of these.
While most Spiritual Formation and Sunday School groups are meeting on Sunday mornings, some of our Connect Groups have started to meet over video calls. Some groups are meeting to discuss books, enjoy conversations, play games, and share cooking advice. Consider joining one of our existing groups (www.ubc-br.org/CG) or let us help you start a new group.
Let us boldly continue forward in faith and courage as we face this crisis together.
God knows that I miss all of you. But the longing in my heart doesn’t outweigh my love for you in taking precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.