And so it begins - Monday Musing, June 1, 2020
And so it begins… Three months ago, The Federated Church of Orleans called me to be your new settled Senior Pastor, and today my ministry with you begins. First, I want to say a word of thanks for the extravagant hospitality that I have received from many of you both prior to our arrival in Orleans as well as since. Yesterday’s drive-by parade of cars through the Oaks of Orleans was amazing – you have truly made us feel welcomed. We are appreciative of your allowing us to move into the parsonage before today, which has given us the opportunity to unpack all our boxes, hang pictures, and to feel settled in our new home.
The world was different when we anticipated our coming together, and the reality we face today means my entry will not go as we might have expected. Covid-19 restrictions impact not only our weekly worship, but also how we will interact and get to know one another in the days and months ahead. I pray your indulgence and patience while the pandemic statistics show a decline. The church has survived far worse – we will get through this together, in God’s time.
The Church Cabinet has had – and will continue to have – lengthy conversations regarding how and when we will open the church building for business and gather for in-person worship. There is conflicting governmental guidance as to the method and preparation for these efforts, so pray for your leaders as they discern what is best for the most vulnerable among us. While opinions vary as to when we shall once again return to gathering in the sanctuary for worship, the Cabinet has much planning that needs to be done before it is safe to do so. In the meantime, worship leaders will gather in the sanctuary to tape the worship service, which will air on Sunday morning. Please plan to join us for a live Zoom coffee hour immediately following worship.
The search committee is hosting a series of outside house meetings, which will give us an opportunity to get better acquainted. Because of Covid-19, there are restrictions: all meetings will be outside in the hosts’ yard or on their deck or patio; people will not be going into the hosts’ home at all; all participants will be required to wear masks; chairs will be set up at least six feet apart, due to social distancing requirements; no refreshments will be served, but please feel free to bring your own drink; you are also welcome to bring your own hand sanitizer or gloves; and meetings will be limited to 8 or 9 participants each. If you have not already signed up for one of these gatherings, I encourage you to be in touch with Suzanne Calsson.
Because the church building is closed, and I am therefore unable to have what you would consider normal office hours, I am planning to hold online Zoom visits, giving you the opportunity to drop-in (online) to say hello. I recognize that not everyone has embraced Zoom technology, but it does afford an opportunity for us to see one another face-to-face (unlike the outside meetings in which we will be mask-to-mask!). We will send you a “This Week at FCO” e-mail, which will outline all the events and activities for the coming week, listing my schedule, and how/when to connect with me via Zoom, as well as news and events you should know.
Pastoral calls will look different post-Covid-19, so I encourage you to be open to new and creative ways to get to know one another as we embark on this mutual ministry together. We can Zoom, Skype, or Facetime one another. I will make use of e-mail, telephone, and text, as well as mailing cards & notes to be in touch with you. I welcome your reaching out to me, even if only to say hello. Here is how you can reach me – church: 508-255-3060; home: 774-801-2336; cell/text: 207-944-9469; e-mail: email@example.com and mail: 4 Liberty Lane, Orleans, MA 02653.
I am humbled by your affirmative call that brings us in ministry together. I look forward to leading you where God calls us to serve the church of Jesus Christ here in Orleans.