There are many unforeseen outcomes of this global pandemic. One of the effects we can recognize is the toll it has taken on our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and fellow members of the church.
For most of us at UBC, we have not been together since March of 2020. Yes, we’ve met via Zoom or maybe waved at a distance if we encountered one another at the grocery store. However, it has been nearly 15 months since we have spent meaningful time together.
There is a vast difference between online interaction and physical presence.
Therefore, it is not out of bounds to say that most churches will need to spend a significant amount of time relearning each other. There are so many stories to share and new memories to make. There is a tremendous relational and spiritual formation that can occur when we gather together safely.
At some point, we are going to return to whatever this new normal looks like. It’s not going to be a date on the calendar that we can point to, mark, and commence. And you are not going to hear out of my lips that we should all just come back by ____ (fill in the blank).
I recognize the tremendous apprehension and anxiety about coming back together, especially in large groups. I also acknowledge that we have created new habits in the last year, breaking many of the deeper connections we had with others within this faith community.
The choice of when and how you return to an in-person gathering with UBC is entirely up to you. You should not feel pressured or guilted into a decision.
But when you return, know that your presence is valued, unique, and immeasurable. When you return to an in-person gathering with UBC, know that you are investing in relational and spiritual formation.
And if the foreseeable future does not have you returning to in-person gatherings, know that you are equally valued, loved, and contributing member of this faith community by your continued engagement of online worship, spiritual formation groups, volunteering, donating, encouraging others, and so much more.
The future of UBC is not dependent on some innovative strategic plan but our willingness to connect with each other, our neighbor, and to our God that binds us together in perfect unity. The mode does not determine the efficacy of our connection. That is only determined by our willingness to give ourselves over to the possibility of authentic relationships.