On Tuesday night, 96 of us gathered for the annual “State of the Church.” About 35 of us gathered in the back yard under the tent and later more than 60 of us gathered via Zoom. One person wrote to me and said it was the best one we had ever had. I have a hunch I know why. It wasn’t just the great reports and inspiring messages. It was that we gathered. We sat in small groups and reflected. We saw faces of those we have missed. We reconnected. What mattered was not just the work of the church but the relationships of the church. We know God, not just through Bible study and prayer and service but also through the web of friendship that is woven when we gather in God’s sacred space.
Years ago, when I was just barely out of seminary and trying to figure out how to be a minister of the church, I went to a conference. I admit that my goal was to try to figure out how to build the perfect programs for the church. But the speaker pushed back on that notion. He said that people were more important than programs. He defined success in the church as that moment “when lives intersect and grace is present.” It took me a while to realize how right he was. What keeps my faith alive are these moments when we interact and I become aware that God is in our midst.
I am personally looking forward to reconnecting with many of you this Sunday at Lemonade and Liturgy on the church’s front lawn from 1:00-3:00 p.m. I hope you can stop by for 15 minutes or an hour, whatever your schedule allows. (And do stay home if you don’t feel well!) And if you are not comfortable with an outdoor in-person gathering that involves social distancing and masks, then please check out the fall program guide and consider participating in one of the Zoom, stream, or online options. There are many ways to connect. And one of those is always, call the church! Call any of the pastors or staff members. Send us an email. Leave a prayer concern on the daily prayer line. Through our mundane connections, miracles unfold.
Grace and Peace,