Last summer, I took my 11-year-old granddaughter to Coney Island during her 3-week visit from North Carolina. Several friends joined us, one of whom has 2 daughters around her age. Needless to say, these girls had a blast. Their favorite ride was The Cyclone rollercoaster that they kept wanting to ride over and over until finally the adults had to insist that it was time to go home.
The image of their rollercoaster rides keeps coming to mind as I think about these past 16 weeks since we last worshipped together on March 8th. There have been so many twists and turns, deep dives of adrenaline producing anxiety, worry, fear, as well as soaring spikes of healing love, meaningful connections, generosity, and babies being born. In some ways we have been spinning, spinning, spinning but have also risen to meet every challenge and now are coasting back toward some sense of “normalcy,” whatever that means.
Though we did not choose this ride, we have done it together and our community is as strong and resilient as ever, for which I am grateful.
Bishop Bickerton has requested that each church form a “Re-opening Team” to begin conversations about when and how we might be able to return to worship in our sanctuary. While some churches may open over the summer, the PAUMC team and I have determined that we will delay at least until October in order to meet all the specified guidelines and ensure the safety and well-being of our members, visitors, and friends. This will also allow time for the completion of the bathroom construction project scheduled for the end of September. You can find the New York Annual Conference Covid-19 Guidelines for Church Re-opening by clicking here. I encourage you to take some time to read it thoroughly and let me know if you have any questions.
What I know for sure is that worship as we have known it – weddings, funerals, memorial services, etc. – is not likely to be as they were in the foreseeable future, if ever again. However, new opportunities will emerge just as they have over these past months and you can be assured that we will continue to make every effort to provide inspiring and meaningful worship, spiritual growth, connections, and pastoral care as best we can and will keep you informed every step of the way.
As we enter Phase 2 of the pandemic, I hope you will continue to take good care of yourself, family, and friends.
Grace and peace,