Remember that Vacation Bible School song, “I am the Church?”
I am the church, you are the church,
we are the church together.
All who follow Jesus,, all around the world, Yes! We’re the church together.
The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is not a resting place,
the church is the people!
Yup! That’s about right! If we didn’t know it before, we are definitely learning that now! We ARE the church—no matter where we are. Thank you, everyone, for being the church at home, in the grocery store, at the Food Pantry. We are in this together!
I wanted to give you a few updates about how things are going, and what things are looking like for our re-launch.
Jefferson County has been given permission to move into Phase Two of the State’s plan for reopening. This loosens the restrictions on businesses and gathering of groups. The Greater Northwest Phased re-launch plan is more gradual and restrictive than the state of Oregon’s plan. Our Bishop has repeatedly stated that we will follow the science first, and then dedicate ourselves to doing no harm. Therefore, three requirements must be in place before any relaunching of programs and worship in our buildings:
1. The suspension of in person worship order set by our Bishop is lifted. The current deadline is June 15th, at which time, the Bishop will either extend the suspension, or allow it to expire. We will know this week.
The governor of the state eases restrictions (which has happened).
Each congregation prepares a plan following the Greater Northwest Guidelines, and submits it for approval to our District Superintendent. (We are working on it!)
Our church leaders have been in conversation about how best we can provide the greatest amount of safety to our congregations and neighbors. We don’t want to move ahead, and then find that we have to return to an earlier phase. Each congregation will be attending to their local context and situation as we seek to do no harm. So, where are we?
The Board has created a subgroup of folks who are carefully examining the documents provided by the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area. (Twenty-five pages of instructions, so be appreciative!) We are working on a draft for moving into Phase Two. Phase Two will allow up to ten people in the building for online recording for worship. Access to the building will still be limited, and worship will continue to be online.
After we receive permission to move into Phase Two, we will begin working on what Phase Three might look like, but we are not going to be in a hurry. We will do what we can to create innovative opportunities for worship, study and fellowship. God is providing extraordinary opportunities to live, love and serve.
Many blessings! Love to you all. Pastor Nancy
✦ Pastor Nancy is going to take some time off for a little rest and re-set. Worship on June 21st will be a selection of links for worship from other churches in our Greater Northwest Area. We would love to hear your impressions about what others are doing during this time of creativity and innovation.