Friends in Christ,
For the past year and a half each of my pastor reports to the council were headed like this:
The pastor reports to the council are part of the long term records for the church. In the far future when one day Acacia Park is no longer a congregation, all the church records go to the ELCA archives. Historians and other scholars have access to the archives to do research. I decided to head my pastor reports this way because we were going through a historical moment and many of the adaptations and changes we made were due to a virus that changes so many things and will continue to be the cause for adaptations that will become normal. We have been changed, and the way we interact changed too.
Next month, I may get to drop the third line from the report. For us here at Acacia, I really feel we can begin to normalize worship. The synod sent out an update for worship guidelines as we begin to merge into fully open again and it says that we can go back to worship in person, vaccinated people can make the choice to be mask-less, and if we are mostly vaccinated we can sing again. This is when it is a benefit to be a smaller congregation. Our adjustment period back into the building doesn’t have to be a long one. Most of us are vaccinated, we worship well under 60% capacity of the worship space, and our worship services are under an hour long. All this means that we can be normal again.
This also means that we are excited for summer and seeing friends and family. Some of us have travel vouchers and we have to replan and take the vacations that got canceled. It is just not church that is looking normal again, it is all of life. And, boy did we miss out on so much while we were staying in place and staying safe. This is why I want you all to know that Acacia Park will work on easing back into normal worship over the summer. Eventually the choir will begin singing again, communion will no longer be the to-go cups, offering plates can begin to go up and down the aisles again… And, as the church eases into doing these things again, I ask that you ease into your post covid life as well.
Go visit your family. Take the vacation. Go to the lake or have brunch with the girlfriend you missed so much. I know how excited we all are. In fact, I will be taking the whole month of July off to travel through the Southwest with my family. We all need the mental and physical break. I want you to know that Acacia Park Lutheran isn’t going anywhere. We kept worshiping throughout the pandemic. We never stopped. We will continue to worship throughout the summer and the church will be here for you when you need her.
Think about the church as a lighthouse this summer. Your beacon of light you can return to when you need to be recharged or if the world begins to feel heavy. We will be here on Sunday mornings for worship and fellowship and I will see you when you come.
In the fall we will begin our programing again and our regular routine. I look forward to seeing each of you drop in here and there throughout the summer then seeing you more regularly again when the world goes back to a routine. In the meantime, know that I am available and we are having in person worship again.