Dear Friends in Christ,
As we continue to count down until the 30 days of social distancing expires the end of this month, we wonder when our states will start to start to open things up a bit. May each of us continue to experience Jesus' words of "Peace be with you" during this Eastertide season.
Last week the Pastoral Development Ministry Team (PDMT) sponsored the second round of calls with our pastors to check in with them, specifically to see how Holy Week went. Holy Week is typically a very busy week, sometimes stressful, for pastors and this year's health pandemic added extra layers of things to do, as well as more stress.
Here are some highlights of the 2 phone calls:
-Some are live streaming services; others are pre-recording them while others area offering drive-in worship services in the parking lot.
-Live streaming and/or recording services is a first for a few pastors. Some said their extended families who don't live close by are able to participate in worship. One pastor said he was able to hear other pastor friends preach that he hadn't heard before.
-Pastors are offering online devotions a few times a week.
-For those small and/or rural church members who don't have internet or Facebook accounts, it's a challenge to stay connected and lots of creativity is needed. Calling each member, especially the elderly, every few days has become a new routine. Some church members don't have email.
-Families with high school seniors are struggling with the reality of missing out on a big milestone in the senior's life.
-It's hard to provide pastoral care to families when a loved one dies and there are limitations on how many can gather. Graveside services are the norm with plans for future life celebrations once people can be together again.
-It's exhausting balancing providing online services/Bible studies, home schooling kids and all the other things that go along with a pastor's life.
-It's also exhausting doing most all pastoral work online and feels like there's more work to do. The rhythm and routine of a pastor's life has changed.
-Seeing oneself online provides opportunities to improve worship and preaching, while also giving an opportunity to give ourselves some grace.
-Some thought they might continue a few of the things they have done these past months whenever churches are able to gather in person again.
PDMT will offer a third round of 2 phone calls for pastors next week on Tuesday, April 28 at 2 PM and 7 PM (Central Time.) Register on the PDMT website (
You will receive an email confirmation with sign in credentials.
During Holy Week, Rev. TJ Malinoski wrote "A Prayer of Thanks for Our Ministers and Church Leaders" that captures what many are experiencing these days. Take a moment to read the prayer (click here) as we offer this prayer for our Cumberland Presbyterian ministers and church leaders.