Friends, this is the same information that was shared in the latest issue of The Guide, but we wanted to have it shared by itself as well. Here is the latest update regarding plans around Re-Forming at Christ Church in the coming weeks. As we move into this next phase, please be ready to say yes when you hear from members of the re-forming task force when they call to ask for your help! Thank you!
Re-Forming, not Re-opening
It has been since the middle of March that we have gathered in-person as a community of believers. We have had LOTS of zoom meetings, lots of phone calls, lots of cards, lots of distanced-visits, lots of prayer, lots of YouTube, lots of service opportunities, lots of posted messages, lots of emails…Lots. So, in the coming weeks we aren’t re-opening but instead we are taking our first steps towards re-forming. In my Presbyterian tradition, we talk about how we are a church “once reformed, always reforming according to the Word of God and the call of the Spirit.”
So, there’s no need to talk about re-opening because we never closed. We are just taking the next steps towards what it means to re-form in the coming weeks. The steps we are taking come out of much discussion, prayer, listening, discerning. It has been rooted in the Word of God, the call of the Spirit, and also the wisdom of the scientific community.
The Mission Team is continuing to work on the ways that we will be present in our communities in the weeks ahead. Our re-forming is not just about getting back together for worship but for how we will continue to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. We will continue to offer times to deliver food from Brighton Center on Wednesdays and you’ll see more in the Mission Team article about what is to come in the weeks and months ahead, including supporting one of our church members in a hunger-focused outreach.
In our re-forming, it is vital for us to focus on what it means to be disciples of Jesus. Part of it is mission as I just shared, part of it is worship as we’ll share about in a bit, but discipleship is through all of it. As we re-form, I want to ask you…what steps are you taking in your day to day discipleship? This is an area that I pray we can find really creative ways of engaging with Jesus and with one another as we re-form. Kelly has been working on a really exciting opportunity called Compassion Camp that will engage our families directly in bi-weekly at-home ways of discipleship but is also open to the congregation as a whole. We will be continuing our Tuesday noon Bible Study (we just started a study on The Sermon on the Mount) along with our 9a Sunday group. I also want to see what other ways we can creatively engage growing as disciples in this time ahead. One way in particular that could connect both our mission and our discipleship is a study together on a book on the racial experience in America. I would be willing to lead such a study.
Starting on June 15, the church office will resume more normal hours. However, during the week, we will be limiting the number of people in the church office (which includes Sherri’s office, Ed’s office, and the side office) to no more than 6 people at a time. To help facilitate this, we are asking that if you are coming by to please call ahead or schedule an appointment. Sherri and I will also be keeping track of who comes to the office just for record keeping in case we need to share about anyone testing positive for Covid-19. We are also asking that you wear a mask when in the office with others for safety. By this time, you may be asking…um…what about worship? Well, here we go…
We all want to be back together for worship in some form. We also see the ways that different areas of our country are “re-opening” so it is natural and appropriate to ask when we will be doing the same. The Christ Church council endorsed a plan on Monday night to begin just that. Taking on the recommendations of our re-forming task force, we are looking to resume gathering in-person on July 5, but in a new way for at least the month of July. Recognizing that there are significant logistical issues with “safe” gathering in the sanctuary (as we seek to follow recommendations from the state of Kentucky and other scientific guidelines), we are going to experiment with an outdoor service in July. It will be at 8:30am and will meet in the parking lot. It will be a short service (approximately 25-30 minutes) and will feel a lot like a camp meeting type of service. We will be asking people to bring their own chairs (although some will be provided) and we will have amplification and will have a few canopies for those who need shade.
We will continue to offer an online worship experience as we have been doing as well because we feel all need to be welcomed and included as much as possible in this re-forming process. After all, we do share that we are a community that seeks to embrace all as we journey the way of Jesus.
This outdoor service is an experiment. It is not a permanent thing but a way to see how we can come together as a worshipping community as soon as possible. We have heard from the congregation pretty clearly that, for the majority of folks, there is a deep desire to get back to reconnecting but an openness to trying something different in this uncertain and rapidlychanging time.
This would also allow the 9a Bible study to meet right after both in-person and online, but it may start more like 9:15….
In the book of Acts, there is a powerful section that talks about a time when the church was discerning how it was going to respond to significant questions of who it was and who it was going to be. As the first council of the church shared in their response, they said, “it seems best to the Holy Spirit and to us…” That, to me, is one of the best ways of understanding what it means to discern the next best steps before us. We pray, we listen, we share, and we take what we feel is the way that the Holy Spirit is leading us to continue to re-form.