Next Faithful Steps
It can be stressful and confusing to try to plan ahead in the middle of a global pandemic. So many pastors are overworked, under pressure, and beating themselves up about doing the right thing in this moment. Overall, I have seen our church moving forward during this time, working together, showing patience and love for one another. I’m grateful that we have developed a plan and protocols for reopening according to what we see and hear from the Southern Nevada Health District, Synod recommendations, and state mandates. We know the trajectory of our ministry together and are following the strategic plan we put in place earlier this year. We have made progress with many of these goals, and can focus on our most important mission, sharing the heart of Christ – the good news of Jesus here in the heart of the city.
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Confirmation Sunday, and welcomed 5 students as they affirmed their faith with us. It was a double joy for me as a father of one of these wonderful young people. Our streaming worship has been viewed by many outside our regular membership, and friends and guests have engaged in our online community through social media. Our Lord’s Prayer Bible study continues with Pastor Matt, and I really pray more will join in on the discussion via Zoom and Facebook. Some of us are slowly beginning to safely gather again, in small groups in coffee shops and here at the church for our GriefShare group, which will finish up early next month. We hope to begin our next group in early October.
Our church has articulated a statement of welcome that is being shared with the LGBTQIA+ community, posted on our website, and in new signage inside our courtyard. I have reached out to other local websites and organizations to let them know about Reformation’s partnership with Reconciling Works that we would find new ways to be in ministry with this community.
Speaking of welcome, before the end of the month (Aug. 30th) , we will accompany Jeremiah Peter Metevelis to the waters of baptism. Our young ones have grown so much during the last six months, and I am beginning to gather resources to help families participate in faith formation in the home this fall. While Sunday worship, youth group, and kids ministry may feel a little different this year, we will continue to be the body of Christ, learning, growing, praying, serving and loving each other as we are able.
Sunday, September 13th, is the beginning of the next cycle of the Narrative Lectionary in Genesis. This day, our congregation will participate in God’s Work, Our Hands, Sunday! We’ll serve together with a drive-through drop off and blessing of hygiene products for our homeless community. You’ll be invited to create and send cards to our homebound members, and we will learn how we can advocate for neighbors in need in this difficult time.
Being apart for the last five months has been difficult and heartbreaking at times. But through it all, we can be assured that the Spirit of God is working to transform our world, to bring comfort, and to lead us into a new future together, and we will not be distracted, we will run and not grow weary as we proclaim the love of Christ who suffered and died so that we could truly live. May we all hear and live this good news in the weeks and months ahead.