We are beginning to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Our Regathering Team, Vestry, Staff, and other groups are having intentional conversations about how we will be ready to regather in person when it is safe. There will be many logistical details and procedures that are quite different from what was “normal” before this started.
I recently came across an interesting article by small church pastor Karl Vaters, in which he addresses a question many are asking: “When the pandemic is over, will the congregation come back?” In his response, he suggests that there are several better questions we should be asking ourselves. You can read the article HERE, but this is my summary of it.
Pastor Vaters offers the following six questions we should be thinking about as we anticipate the time when we can regathers in person for worship, study, service, and fellowship.
“Have we represented Jesus well during the lockdown?”
“Are we representing Jesus well as we come out of the lockdown?”
“What have we learned – and what are we still learning?”
“How can we better serve the people at home?”
“How well are we serving our online church members and visitors?”
“How are people hurting, and what can we do to help them?”
He notes that there will be other issues we can’t yet foresee, but “more than ever, the communities around us are going to need the help of healthy, missional, compassionate, worshiping, and loving churches.”
He concludes by saying, “Whether people come back through our church doors is not the big issue. How we honor Jesus by reaching the hurting people outside our doors is what matters. Ministry needs to happen from the church, not just in the church.”
I invite you to read the article and contemplate these questions in relation to our parish, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church. Our church leadership would be interested in hearing your thoughts. We would love to hear how you have made a contribution or been the recipient of the ministries of our parish during this time. Do these questions lead you to a sense of being called to a role in the ongoing life of the parish? How is God calling you to keep St. Martin’s growing as a healthy, missional, compassionate, worshiping, and loving church?
In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that I am heartened by the numerous examples that have come to mind as I pondered these questions. I have witnessed so many occasions when our people have been in ministry to one another and to others outside of our faith community, in spite of the strange and limiting circumstances of the past year.
Thank you for what you have done and are doing! Thank you for answering the call to represent Christ and his Church.
The Very Reverend Ron Pogue
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church