Dear Friends in Christ,
All things are possible in Christ. On this mountain God provides. Rejoice! Again, I say, rejoice! The words reflect what St John’s is all about, acting in ways that are both faithful and bold. This past weekend’s celebration of the anniversary of the consecration of the church is one such example. Without a church to celebrate in because of COVID, we still came together and celebrated, with the sure and certain hope that we will return to worship in this space we love. In the meantime, we find ways to stay together. In doing so, we promise to be stronger, more faithful when we do return.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the weekend activities. From Stations on Friday night (led by Bob Cleworth who was recovering from a medical procedure the day before), to the events on Sunday ending with the Zoom service and reception. It was a great weekend, a weekend to praise and give thanks to God, do the same for all the faithful servants who have gone before us, and to proclaim that the consecration of the church and ourselves is ongoing: we continue to build on the foundation left to us and offer it anew to God.
In the spirit of building on the foundation, I want to share with you some important news from around the church. First, St John’s will be hosting COVID testing three days a week. It will be under the direction of Marshfield Clinic and happen on Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays. Thursdays will be open to the public. We were chosen because of our location and the facility, especially the carport. It will be drive thru testing, with people remaining in their cars throughout. I think I speak on behalf of the congregation when I say we are pleased to be part of a community effort to fight the virus in Rapids, and offer ourselves to bring healing and wholeness to God’s people.
On Sunday, during the reception, you might have seen the stage in a state of being taken down and heard the vestry and I have been talking about plans to replace it with offices for Kyle and me. The vision is to use the entrance off the parking lot to the fullest, and have office, fellowship, and worship all on one level, accessible to all regardless of your physical condition. Shane Burkhart is helping in the design of all this. The whole congregation will have a chance to discuss these plans at a special parish meeting on the first Sunday of December.
About this special parish meeting, it is now apparent there is a good possibility that in person services may not be possible on Christmas. The meeting will be a time first and foremost for us to be together and talk about what we can do as a parish family to celebrate Christmas together. I expect that during the rest of the pandemic, we will gather one or two more times to talk about how we will walk together during other special times of the Church year, such as Lent and Easter. And we will have time to talk about what is happening regarding special projects such as COVID testing and building offices.
How do we have a parish meeting when we can’t meet for worship? It begins with using Zoom. Many of you have become pros at this, and we will continue. But we do have people not comfortable with Zoom, or not comfortable with online services. We are small enough that I think we could open the church hall, the basement hall and even the church itself to groups of five in each, provide the Zoom feed on computer in each of those spaces, and thereby welcome more people, if not all our parish family, to participate in the parish meeting. I would ask people who want to attend in the church to let us know and reserve a place, and limit the people attending to those who cannot participate through Zoom.
We move forward, as a people being shaped by the events around us but empowered by the Spirit of God who calls us His own. As the people did in 1931, we offer ourselves, our actions, and our gifts to God. Because we do, we can, for God is with us, always.