A Note From Erik:
Dear PCWS Family,
Sometimes we can sum things up in one word and this week has certainly been a week filled with a lot of “wow” as we’ve seen our world change quite a bit. Last Friday I informed you all that we would be taking steps at PCWS to be a part of the global, national, and local effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Each day the warnings have continued and each day there have been changes to the recommended practices. We’ve all grown familiar with new terms like "social distancing” and “flattening the curve” as we’ve tried to understand what’s happening.
Trying to understand what’s happening.
This seems to be a theme of my life, at least, and I think that it is part of our quest as people. And right now,
we’re in the midst of an uncertain time
. We don’t know how long this will last or how bad it will get or what the next few weeks or even months will bring. With these adjustments come a whole range of emotions. I want to encourage you to begin to get comfortable with identifying and allowing those emotions.
We follow a God who walks alongside us in the midst of everything and all that we are feeling.
God doesn’t magically make everything better by removing us from difficult circumstances, but instead God chooses to enter our difficult spaces and walk with us, laugh with us, cry with us, and even hold us.
Friends, this is a difficult time and it is a particularly strange time because the church doesn’t get to be the church in obvious ways. I can’t bring myself to change our outside sign that regularly says “All are welcome here” (I recognize that I need to change it and I will). When crisis strikes, we are used to opening our doors and welcoming people. From the outset of this crisis, I’ve said that we would continue to be the church, continue to be a community, continue to worship, and continue to be fellows with one another on the journey.
On Sunday we had a beautiful time of worship!
Many of you joined our first Facebook Live stream of the service. We received very helpful feedback and we’ve made more adjustments to it for this week. But what a wonder that in just a couple of days we were able to adapt in this way!
Please join us this Sunday
(there are more details below - and if you encounter challenges, or would like assistance, please let me know).
Second, I want to invite you to
join me every weekday at 12 noon for midday prayers starting today at 12
. We’ll gather using a tool called Zoom. The best way to use Zoom is on a device with a camera (an iPad/tablet, iPhone/smartphone, computer), but you can also access the prayer session by phone. There will be scripture, some music (sometimes!), and prayer exercises. I encourage you to take a short break from your ordinary and join in this midday prayer session. The details and instructions are below. Please join me!
I’m working on some other options for lessons. Many of you have been reading the book Entering the Passion of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. While we aren’t going to have an in-person adult education class, I will be leading some discussions about the book. I’ll have the schedule for you soon. If you don’t have the book and would like a copy, let me know and I will leave it for you in the church mailbox. It is a very good and readable book that feels even more relevant now.
Finally, I want to share with you that I’ve been working with the parents of our youngest in our community to ensure that the children are staying connected with one another and with the church. Kim Fronk and I are preparing Sunday School worship packets for families to use together. I’m also hosting Story Time with Pastor Erik periodically on Zoom (instructions/description below). I’m in touch with the families directly, but if you’d like to be included in the communications (perhaps for grandchildren or others you know), please let me know by email.
Know that you are all in my prayers!
I have devoted time each morning and night to pray for you, for our community, for this congregation, and especially for those who are most susceptibly to this terrible infection. I invite you to join me in those prayers. I also want to reiterate that if you need any assistance, we have people who are ready to help. Several people have volunteered. Please do reach out.
sum things up in one word.
Jesus summed up all of human existence and all of God’s relationship with humanity in one word.
Jesus couldn’t have been more straightforward.
We follow a God who loves us. We follow a God who calls us to love.
Friends, may this be the word that guides us even in our moments of other words that seem to cross our lips.