Who could have imagined last year at the 189th General Assembly (GA) that the world would face a pandemic so viral that a year later we would be rescheduling the 190th GA to meet in 2021 instead of next month? As we continue to pray for you, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC), pray for us as we seek to discern where God is leading the CPC.
These past three months of disrupted lives from the COVID-19 pandemic seem like years. Phrases like "social distancing", "shelter at home" and "flatten the curve" have become wearisome. As CPs, we believe we are created to be in a covenant community with one another and with God. Section 5.10 of our Confession of Faith says: "All who are united to Christ by faith are also united to one another in love. In this communion they are to share the grace of Christ with one another, to bear one another's burdens, and to reach out to all other persons." The Greek word "Koinonia" comes to mind in that Christians strive to be in fellowship with each other and desire a community in which to be cared for and care for others. The phrase "physical distancing" feels like a better representation of what the covenant community is doing right now out of love and concern for our neighbors' well-being.
Speaking of how our world has changed, in particular as it relates to the CPC, currently our churches in the U.S. and around the world are looking at when and how to re-open churches safely, in accordance with their federal/state/local/country guidance. During this season of timeout from physically gathering, we are finding opportunities to reboot our lives and connection to God and one another outside the walls of the church. Many are finding new and innovative ways to share the old story of the good news of Jesus Christ with each other and with those not part of the faith community.
Here are more resources for our ministers, elders and sessions to consider when planning how you will re-open your church.
"Five Ways You Will be a Different Pastor after the Pandemic". (thomrainer.com)
A hot topic in communities of faith is that of singing (choir and/or congregational) when churches begin to open. Dr. Heather Nelson has written "Singing, the Church and COVD19: A Caution for Moving Forward in Our Current Pandemic."
Pastoral Development Ministry Team (PDMT) is hosting two Zoom meetings next week with pastors. The topic is "Pastors Gathering-Managing Life During Difficult Times". The sessions will be held Tuesday, May 12 at 2PM and 7PM (both Central Time). To register and receive login information, sign up on the PDMT webpage:
We offer our continued prayers and support to you, the Church, as you care for the church and your communities.