Special Message from Pastor Bill
The pandemic is not over, but it certainly seems that the worst of it is behind us. It will be hard to forget this plague. The devastation it has caused has been immense. The disruption of ordinary life that it has brought about has been deeply unsettling. I am so grateful for the way you at First have handled this unprecedented time. You have cooperated with national and state mandates and church requests. While I have felt that I needed to second guess myself on so many occasions, you have simply gone along with whatever we asked. You are amazing people.
Sadly, for me, the second-guessing hasn’t come to an end. The CDC’s and the governor’s latest recommendations regarding masks have put us in an awkward position. But as we have done in the past, we will trust the experts because we certainly are not the experts. We will encourage those of you who are not vaccinated (including those under the age of 12) to continue to wear masks. Obviously, there is no way for us to know with certainty your vaccination status, but we will trust your honesty.
If you are a person with an auto-immune deficiency or other serious underlying health condition, you may want to continue to wear a mask. Those of you who are fully vaccinated can choose not to wear masks if that is comfortable for you. We know that some of you will continue to wear them, and we will respect that. We will ask that those of you who are working with our children wear masks when you are leading them.
I am very proud that most of you are vaccinated. That makes planning easier. Thanks for being committed to caring for our community.
As of now, we will continue to provide limits to attendance to our worship services. I suspect that soon we will increase the numbers. I hope that many of you who have chosen to stay away from in-person worship will soon find a way to participate in it again. Some of you may have gotten out of the habit or just have found it easier to watch worship online. While our online presence is for good and a helpful tool, online worship is not the same as being together with other people. The Christian community at its best is a gathered community. When you watch online, you get to see me and some of our people. We do not get to see you. I must admit that I feel some disconnection from people because I never see them. Selfishly, I want folks back in our building.
The pandemic has given us an opportunity to examine almost everything we do. Such an examination has and will continue to bring about change in our common life. We have already restructured our congregation, making our church council leaner and more oriented to strategic planning. We have offered online educational opportunities and will continue to do so. We conduct some meetings online, and that is likely not to change. We have shortened our services, and this is likely to continue as well. I suspect that we will re-think many other aspects of our life together. These are kairos days—days full of opportunity. We want to take advantage of that opportunity.
Thanks for sharing the journey. We have so much to look forward to. And God will accompany us the entire way.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Pastor Bill Uetricht or the church office at 231-744-1522.