Out of an abundance of caution and with the welfare of our most vulnerable members in mind, we will be suspending worship and other in person meetings at Zion, effective immediately. Worship, vocal, and handbell choir rehearsals are on hiatus effective immediately. Consistory, Elders, and other groups with more than ten members will meet via other than in-person methods. These changes have nothing to do with fear or faithlessness, and everything to do with caring for our neighbors. The Church seeks always to do that which is best in every circumstance.
In this current circumstance, the most loving thing for the church to do feels counter intuitive. When we yearn to come together to support and encourage one another, the better route is to put some distance between each one, so as to slow the advance of this virus and guard the health of our more vulnerable members. In a way, we will be practicing a Lenten fast of public worship for a season. We will do this as a sign of our love for our neighbors. We will be practicing physical distancing, but social solidarity. We are Zion Church because of our emotional and spiritual connections with one another, not solely because we come to a place and share a space. We will be intentional about how we connect. Most of us have telephones. Let’s use them. Call people. Text them. Each of us will take responsibility for staying connected to the people we care about, family, friends, and fellow church members. When we have Consistory and Elders and other meetings, we will use online technology to make a virtual space which allows us to keep other safe.
It will never be entirely clear that we took this measure too soon. It will mournfully be all too clear if we wait too long. Success in slowing the virus spread will be impossible to measure. Tombstones and empty chairs at the family table will measure our failures. One of the persistent themes of our faith is resilience. God’s promise to us is not that nothing bad will ever happen to believers, but that no matter what happens, God’s steadfast love does not abandon us. This current situation offers us a terrific opportunity to work on our resilience. Because we are reminded that God’s steadfast love endures forever, we do not give in to panic. We do what needs to be done, we care for the vulnerable, we strengthen the fainthearted, we assemble the Body of Christ in creative ways.
Zion Church WILL continue to be part of The Body of Christ in the world. There is much work ahead of us. Even as we suspend worship gatherings for a time, we will not suspend the ministries we care about so passionately. We will find new ways to accomplish those goals.We will continue to listen for God’s still-speaking voice, to follow Christ in our actions. We will continue to love God with our whole selves, and to express that faith by the ways we love our neighbors. Thank you for being part of Zion Church. Together we will do more than survive; we will thrive. You are already making me proud and even prouder, to be your Pastor. Grace and peace, Brice