August 17, 2021 Jason Hefner

Fall at Faith Church

Over the past year, Faith Church demonstrated remarkable flexibility in dealing with the COVID19 Pandemic. We've closed the sanctuary, we've opened it. We've worshipped online, we've gathered together. We've worn face-masks, we've let our smiles show. We've given each other space and we've had the chance to shake a hand or offer a hug. In short, we have been striking a fine balance between restrictive measures for safety and promoting the community that we all need. I offer the entire congregation my thanks and compliments. Whereas some organizations have been unable to navigate these difficult times successfully, Faith Church has continued to worship consistently, welcomed new members, sustained financial wellness, stayed connected with each other, and pressed ahead into new ways of being church. Well done. It has not been easy, I know. But well done, everybody.

As we ramp up for the Fall, the same adaptability that has gotten us this far will be needed. The pandemic continues to be a dynamic threat. Consequently, ministries at Faith Church will continue to shift to meet the needs of the congregation in unpredictable ways. Right now, we are planning to launch many familiar Fall programs, like Sunday School, Choir, and other events. Right now, face-masks are welcome, but not required, at all Faith church events. You may elect to wear a face-mask for your own protection or out of consideration for others. While many members have been vaccinated, some members have reasons (like pre-existing medical conditions) that make vaccination problematic. Similarly, we have a spectrum of comfort within the congregation about physical proximity and contact. I recommend asking whether someone is okay with a touch or a close neighbor. As much as possible our events will be on-site, but we will also be making use of online tools. You may have discovered that our webpage has gotten a serious facelift. As you explore the new webpage, you will discover that it is connected to new social tools and resources. (Check out the "online community" tab or the "mobile apps" link to get started!) While "Realm" has been a great aid to our congregation over the past few years, our new online suite, "Faithlife," promises to be more user-friendly and robust.

I invite the congregation to take a deep breath and focus afresh on our mission: Connecting with Christ, Connecting with You. Right now, many people are feeling overwhelmed and isolated. Connection with Christ and connection with other Christians is the solution. Now is the time for us to creatively find ways to be church and to think outside the box. Now is the time for us to show up as much as possible -- in person and online. Now is the time to drop texts and phone calls to remind each other that we belong to a concerned community. Now is the time to speak "can do" words: God is still God and God is quite active among us. St. Paul wrote, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17). We can certainly do much in the name of Jesus and we can be deeply thankful for all that God has been doing in our community.

Although the past year has been a tough one, we have also experienced unlooked for blessings and we are positioned for great ministry in 2021-22. I look forward to this Fall at Faith with you!