Dear Friends in Christ,
When are things going to get back to normal? I ask myself this question all the time these days, and I’ll bet many of you do, too.
I don’t have a complete answer, but I have some partial answers. And I have what I think is a better question.
Here are the answers I have:
• Barring a new rise in COVID infections, we will resume indoor, in-person worship on the Sunday, February 20. (At the annual meeting, I’d given February 27 as a target date, but numbers are moving clearly enough in the right direction to allow our re-opening sooner.)
• This means a return to our previous schedule: 7:30 at the Lady Altar, 8:45 in Spanish in the nave, and 10:30 and 5:00 in English in the Nave. Masks will continue to be required at all times in the building, and the side pews will be roped off to create distanced seating for those who prefer it.
• We’ll also resume indoor (in the auditorium) coffee hour after the 8:45 and 10:30 services. The nursery will be open, and Sunday School will meet in person in the auditorium, continuing our popular camp format.
We also have some big events ahead. On February 27 at the 5:00 p.m. service, we’ll have the long-delayed Celebration of New Ministry, where I will formally be installed as rector. The service will be followed by a reception in the auditorium.
The week after brings the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, Ash Wednesday, and, on Saturday, March 5, the ordination of Paul Evans and Julie Rodriguez, both formed by Grace, as deacons.
Does all that count as normal? Yes and no. Yes, in that church will look like we are used to. No, in that not everyone will feel comfortable in person, and so we continue to care for one another by offering different kinds of experiences and by extending charity to those whose caution levels are different from our own.
And no—in that normal isn’t really what we need, or the right question to ask. Because going back to anything—even normal—is not what God invites us to. God invites us to rise up—into new patterns of living and new ways of understanding. God does this all the time—but I think God is doing it especially at this time.
The better question? I think it is this: What’s next? What’s on the other side? I don’t know, but I’m ready to get going and see.
Yours in Christ,