Greetings Prince of Peace Community:
Almost 8 months ago, our lives and world changed in dramatic ways as we began sheltering in place in order to address a global pandemic. It is now October, and with continued news of increased case rates, a question I often hear is, “is there an end in sight?” Inherent in this question and the strong feelings behind it is the constant vigilance of living in a pandemic, the death of millions of people, the exhaustion of shifting our lives to our homes, the being in isolation from those whom we love, and (in the case of church), the sadness of not having access to the in-person means of grace that worship and church property provide.
As one of the leaders of this congregation, I have been so very encouraged by the collective responses across all demographics and circles of this congregation. From an immediate and seamless shift to online worship (with deep gratitude to David Laudenslager and Ken Pyle for their expertise and time), Barbara Day Turner and Michael Touchi creating music and a music program that is digital and well-produced (with thanks to Marc Farley, our PoP choir, and Mike Halloran), and the lovely and always joy-filled worship music videos of our PoP Band, deliberate and planned attention to communicating to all households, moving all youth programming online and/or outdoors, an active social justice ministry that hosted RSCP and created safety protocols to ensure that service continued when many other social service agencies were cutting programs, a weekly lunch making program led by Cathy Schroeder and Jim Wilczak that provides 50 weekly lunches to our neighbors at the family shelter (all contactless and safe!), to rolling out an incredibly successful Fire Victim donation center in our fellowship hall during the multitude of fires that impacted the Bay Area and Santa Cruz mountains. There are more names and stories that we could add to this list of gratitude, so much behind the scenes work that our staff have done as we have prioritized the safety of all whom we serve. Please know that we are grateful for all who have shared their time and talents.
And so, as we face the difficult reality that we are not sure when this pandemic will end, I am simultaneously so very encouraged by the ways that the PoP community has found ways to stay open and serving. When I am asked, “when will your church open?”, I say, “we have been open!” In fact, we have been faithfully stepping out in service and love for one another (even when video gatherings feel awkward or embarrassing!), trying new ways of being church, and always looking for the signs of Resurrection and God’s faithfulness.
All of the abovementioned programs, offerings, and ministry in the name of Jesus also could not have happened without the incredible financial generosity of our church community. For that, we are immensely grateful. Even in the midst of the stresses of financial uncertainty, we have seen an increase in giving to our church by 12 percent. Thank you, most earnestly for your financial generosity.
As we look to 2021 and the budget for the year, I am writing to ask for your continued (and if possible) increased support of the ministries of Prince of Peace. While giving has increased, we also face loss of income due to a decrease in property usage.
I believe, wholeheartedly, that the ministries of Prince of Peace are vital during these times of pandemic, grief, and societal upheaval. We need one another, and the world needs communities of faith like Prince of Peace. I am hopeful that the lessons we have learned, the unique ways that we are gathering, and the deliberate care we are giving to one another will carry us through the current crisis. As people of faith in the Resurrection, we hold tight to the promises of new life and new beginnings.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Sara Pearson, Co-Pastor (she/her)
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, ELCA
12770 Saratoga Ave
home office: (402) 990-9973