15 May 2020

“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. Don’t ever let go of the thread” – William Stafford

Greetings of the day to all of you-
Are you well? Is today one of moodiness, sadness, joy, grief, anxiety, fear, excitement, restlessness, wonder – what else? Those are the words that I hear and feel as the days and weeks pass by. We are living a years’ worth of emotions in the space of a few months, and that can be daunting. As we grapple with the future, it is good to remember the day that we have been given.

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

I seem to need to be reminded of this over and over and over again. Jesus is right.

No doubt you are beginning to think about reopening your buildings and hosting in-person worship. There is much to think about, and prepare for, before that should happen. There may be disagreements, there may be consensus. Remember that we will each bring our own experiences and contexts to these discussions. We must love and respect one another, relying on the data from public health officials and leaving politics and opinions at the door. As a connected Body of Christ, the health and well-being of our communities must be on the forefront of our hearts.

We have made available to you a document that reflects both congregational considerations as well as NY state recommendations. It is well researched and contains a plethora of resources. We are deeply thankful for the work of Susan DeGeorge.

  “Making a Return to Public Worship Possible” can be found on the HRP website and will be updated regularly. 

Of this you can be certain: Your church will not be the same. And while there are challenging technical changes that need to be made, I invite you to use this opportunity to discern the more difficult adaptive changes. As you navigate the social distancing, the hand sanitizer, the choir, wrestle with these questions…..*

1) What surprised us during this time in regard to our ability to adapt? What does that suggest for us as we move forward?

2) Ultimately, what were the things that our community missed in being apart? 

3) Were there things that we gained in our time apart? New learnings? New passions?

4) Where was our focus? Was it on God? Caring for our members? Concern for our neighbors? 

5) How did we care for the community outside our walls? How might we do so now?

6) If our reach grew by offering online services, will we continue to offer those? How will we ask online friends to engage deeper in their own faith?

7) Does our church need a building in order to accomplish the ministry God desires of us?

                                                                                   *Thank you to CSP!

In Brief:

·            Note the PC(USA) document on the theology of returning to worship

·           We will be holding an online Presbytery gathering on June 9 th . Hold that date and stay tuned.

·           Rev. Ellen Clemot, Interim at Larchmont is now Rev. Dr . Ellen Clemot! Congratulations Ellen!

·           Keep abreast of the PPP loan forgiveness details here:   https://insidecharity.org/2020/05/07/nonprofit-ppp-loan-forgiveness-update/

·           Remember Clergy Coaching 6 Sessions with IFC certified Coach paid by HRP:  http://www.hudrivpres.org/hrpgrants/

·          Fond well-wishes to Elizabeth Smith Bartlett as she moves to Richmond to join her husband and begin a journey to hospital chaplaincy. Join us on ZOOM, May 28 th at 7. If you did not receive and invite and would like to join in, please contact christine@hudrivpres.org

·          Monday’s ZOOM that included the work of food pantries around HRP was very well attended. Please read here for contact information to support the vital work of feeding those in our communities who are hungry. It is a time of crisis.

·          The Presbytery’s biannual grant writing workshop will be held by ZOOM on June 6 th . This is a requirement to apply for a Legacy Grant. Registration required. Please respond with your interest at  grants@hudrivpres.org .

Do not lose hold of your thread. The thread of your faith. Faith in the kindness, support and care of your colleagues, faith in the love of community, and faith in what the God whom we serve has in store for the church.

Peace and continued blessings-
Deb Milcarek