Here we are in November, and in "normal times," we would be getting ready for festive Thanksgiving celebrations with extended family and friends. We would be attending concerts, theatre, and sporting events and preparing for Advent and Christmas. This year it's quite different. While there is disappointment, sadness, and yes, even anger about our current limitations, there can also be joy and gratitude if we look closely enough; we are by nature creative beings with the ability to adapt and persevere. "What you pay attention to grows" (Emergent Strategies, adrienne maree brown).
God is our refuge and strength, a very present [proven] help in trouble (Psalm 46.1)
Today, I'm writing to let you know about a few important things that we're getting ready for during this "different time."
Getting Ready for in-person worship
Our Regathering Committee has completed their report and handed it off to the vestry. We are grateful for both the time and due diligence that the committee dedicated to creating the report, which serves as a fantastic blueprint for moving forward to reopen as safely as possible.
Please join me in extending our thanks to Mary Street, committee chair, committee members Virginia Barrow, MD, Jared Cumming, Jason Kinchen, Gloria Korta, MD, and Lauren Michalski. You can read the executive summary and recommendations here. There is a link to the full report in that posting.
I do want to emphasize we don't have a reopening date, as there is much preparation work to do, and the pandemic is still an ongoing source of concern and caution. But we want to move forward with our preparations so that we will be ready when conditions are right. Here is an outline of our implementation plan:
The vestry has authorized spending $40,000 to upgrade our streaming equipment and our sanctuary ventilation systems for simultaneous in-person and at-home worship.
- Those projects are being transferred to the capable hands of our Property Committee for implementation.
- We are forming teams to handle the creation of indoor and outdoor signage, the recruiting and training of the re-envisioned roles of usher and greeter, the handling of weekly requirements for cleaning/disinfecting, and the managing our reservation system.
Please join me in praying that we have a clear path forward together and that our work and patience will result in a meaningful reunion.
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. (Psalm 122.1)
Getting Ready for our Rector
The vestry has created a Rector Transition Committee whose membership includes Jane White, chair, Annie Bing, Jim Bracciale, Lee Kaukas, and John McConnell. Their responsibilities are to:
- Serve as a committee of welcome for the Rev. Nick Myers and his family
- Introduce Nick and his family to the Winchester and broader community; help as needed in relocation.
- Work with Nick, Bethany, Bennett, and Lennox to determine creative ways to meet the congregation during this period of social distancing; organize and facilitate as necessary.
- Assist at the beginning of the new ministry.
The committee will work closely with church staff members, appropriate committee chairs, and individual parishioners to carry out its responsibilities.
Since announcing our call, Suzanne and I have had a few planning calls with Nick; we are excited to be working together as a team and are looking forward to his arrival.
Please pray for Nick and his entire family as they embark on their journey with us. We are blessed.
Stay tuned for information on how we will celebrate the completion of Sarah Conner's Interim ministry with us.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91.11)