Wednesday, April 15, 2020

9:00 a.m. - Contemporary
11:00 a.m. - Traditional*

Both services will be available on Facebook "live streaming"

* Traditional will also be available to listen on phone:
call 929-205-6099 and give this meeting ID: 955 325 387


Last fall, I preached a sermon entitled, “Yes, And…” which drew its title and main theme from the most basic rule of improvisational theatre: whatever your partner does in an improv scene, you respond by saying “yes, and…” so that the scene not only continues but builds. So if I say, “watch out, there’s a dragon!” but you respond, “no it isn’t, that’s a grapefruit,” the scene has died. But if, instead, you reply, “yes, and he seems to have allergies,” then the scene is off and running.

There’s a perception that improvising is haphazard, but that’s simply not the case, especially when you get off the stage and into real life. Improvising is both a set of skills and a set of strategies, and it works best when there’s a lot of uncertainty about what you can do and how you can do it, because there are at least established practices that you can employ to help you improvise well, such as the “yes, and…” rule.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a time of great uncertainty at the moment, and so we have been doing a lot of improvising over the past month, from how to hold a congregational meeting that nobody could attend in person to how we can serve people who are too vulnerable to go shopping for food without putting them at risk in the process.

(Right: At our first-ever "Share Your Easter Traditions" event on Facebook, Sydney Bickford shared this photo of the basket she made for her fiance. She said that she'll 'never be too old to make or give Easter baskets!')
And, of course, worship has involved a lot of improvisation, from how to do communion to what technology we can and should use. For the latter, we have mostly relied on Facebook Live for worship, but we have the lingering problem of a group of members and friends who don’t have adequate computer access for that.

So we have been trying to provide a “call-in” alternative using Zoom so they can at least listen to worship on a telephone. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite gotten the hang of that yet, but we are continuing to try some new things and are confident we’ll get it working soon, hopefully by this Sunday! (see instructions above)

You may have an idea for something we should try, as well. If so, let us know, but be prepared to be asked to help make it happen; one of the great things about improv is that everyone can join in! Thank you for your creativity and support during this unusual time in our congregation’s life and ministry.

Grace and Peace,

  1. Tonight: Constructive Conversations series continues
  2. New! Midday Reflections
  3. Sunday School and Hearts N Minds for this week
  4. Can you help support our neighbors?
  5. Prayer requests
The Discipleship Committee is continuing our popular "Constructive Conversations" series with a three-part series by Mary Lou Hatcher, beginning tonight on Zoom.

Monday's session with Bob Costello was well-attended and well-received.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at noon: Join an FPCB pastor as they share a meditation or scripture, followed by a time of prayer and reflection. We will gather via Zoom videoconferencing; also available via phone (audio only). They will last approximately 30 minutes.

To send prayer requests:

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 335 481 050

Via phone: call 929-205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID when prompted.
As we lean in to our 'experimental church', our Sunday School leaders are trying different approaches to providing experiences for our children. For this week they are returning to the pre-recorded video format - look for that information to be available on our website, beginning on Saturday. You can enjoy it when convenient.

Hearts 'N Minds will return on Sunday - more details will be shared in Friday's newsletter.

Local organizations
The Morning Call recently published a list of local organizations that can use help. Please contact each one to verify their needs, operating hours and protocols.

Local eateries and farms/farm markets
We also encourage you to support our local businesses and eateries as you can. If you don't want to shop now you can purchase a gift card, write an online review for them, or like/comment/share on their social media. Also consider paying for meals for frontline works that can be provided by a restaurant, and shopping at farms and farm markets (yes, they're open!).

Here are some resources - again, contact each one directly to verify hours and protocols:

Kirkland Village
We have been in contact with Jen Laury, the activity director at Kirkland Village. With their residents confined to their rooms and no visitors, they would love to hear from us with artwork and notes of cheer. You can forward those to Jen at Kirkland Village, 1 Kirkland Village Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18017.

NOTE: Because of the restrictions on visitors, you will need to mail your greetings. They cannot accept deliveries from individuals. Thank you!
Do you have a prayer request?
Hello from Sunday's Easter Hospitality session!