Dear congregation members and friends,
We have a lot to be thankful for. The main thing that we should be thankful about is that our congregation, on both home fronts, has been successful at avoiding infection of the virus. In addition, we all have a roof over our heads and we have enough to eat. I hope that everyone has also had social contact through daily conversation. Michael and I have tried to keep in telephone contact with our elderly local members, and we have also given this call list to our Council members and a couple other trusted individuals. It is especially important that no one be left all alone.
We are eagerly awaiting the opening of the church to group gatherings. Our hope is that we could re-open on Pentecost Sunday, but only if it is safe to do so. In May we will be preparing some rules that follow the guidelines of health officials for possible summer gatherings. They will include social spacing and other restrictions. For the time being though we still have to wait patiently, and hope that this situation will calm down.
There is a lot of interesting things to read in our May newsletter. In our guest column this month we have our good friend and credited writer Timo Vainionpää. His writing tells us about Corona virus news from Istanbul in his unique style. Council president Pertti Pietarinen in his column emphasizes that we should not fall into despair in times of crisis and suffering, these are just the facts of life which we cannot avoid. Trusting that God will always take care of everything is a Christian’s privilege and obligation, says the president. The column from our volunteer, Teppo Honkanen, touches on the realities of life in the neighborhood surrounding our church. Music director- Michael’s writing justly thanks our excellent musicians and ponders the new challenges of doing services over the internet.
On my behalf, I challenge everyone to cling to this moment, a moment during which the circle of life has unintentionally slowed down. Do not let this momentum go to waste. Listen to what God is speaking to you about. Let's use this time to open our hearts and eyes to see and appreciate His creations and the incomprehensible beauty around us. Let's use this time to marvel over life's big mysteries of love and suffering, and thank and praise our living God, regardless of the situation. This is the moment to say thank you, I’m sorry, I love you. This is the moment to be present for life and for God.
With Blessings

Pastor Mia