There’s just something about when I say “The Lord be with you,” hearing people say “And also with you!” I got to experience that this past Sunday at our new in-person outdoor worship service. It was so wonderful to actually gather together for worship for the first time since March. I was moved to tears to hear other voices join with me in saying the Creed and Lord’s Prayer. The service was relaxed and informal, gathered around the Labyrinth on our beautiful church lawn on a beautiful fall day. We only had 5 people attend, so we had room for several more if you want to join us next week. Just click on the button below to RSVP. If we have demand, we’ll add more services during the week so that all can be accommodated.
After the Blessing of the Animals service (where Oreo the bird joined in with Jack the cat for online worship – see photo), I also had the blessing of joining in the Atrium classes for their first session together since the spring. Our catechists did a wonderful job – the younger Atrium children learned about vestments and parts of the Eucharist, while the older class talked about God’s gifts and shared baby photos of themselves. The kids were totally engaged, glad to see each other, and having fun. At the end of the class, Bernadette led us in a sing-along which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
Then I went outside onto the church lawn, where the Rite 13 class was engaged in a cornhole tournament and the J2A class was sitting in a circle on the labyrinth catching up with each other and talking about plans for their pilgrimage in the spring. A few parents lingered after drop-off to chat in the parking lot while standing at a safe distance.
Frankly, it felt like church this Sunday. It felt a lot more like church than it has in a long time. This was due to the hard work of many people – our Regathering Team who worked so hard to get all the permissions necessary and plans in place, our formation leaders who have had to re-invent their curriculums and teach in a new way, our children and youth for being willing to try something new and jumping in with both feet, our choir for recording hymns together that we can sing along with in worship, and our tech team who are helping to make worship more engaging and meaningful every week.
We are, slowly, getting to our “new normal”. It won’t look like the old normal as long as the pandemic lasts, but we are finding there are more and more ways we gather safely in person, connect online, and be the church. Each step we take is a learning process that helps us take the next step in a safe way. Thank you for all the ways you are finding to be the church and be a community for each other.