Loving Our Neighbor at a Distance

Loving Our Neighbor at a Distance

Dear Friends,

On Ash Wednesday, we welcomed you into Lent with these words:

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor

All we do, as individuals and a congregation, emerges from and is inspired by love of God and neighbor. It is in that spirit that I write to share information about ways our congregation’s staff and leadership is acting in loving, faithful ways to respond to concerns for the physical, emotional and spiritual health of all who look to us for care and community during this emerging health crisis in our country.

We have decided to suspend Sunday worship for the next two weeks. However, Vicar Julie Grafe and I will be in the church building Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. to offer Bible study, prayer and communion for those who would like to join us. Additional ways to tap into worship opportunities will be provided.

All meetings and events will be suspended, as well. No choirs. No Godly Play. No Coffee Hour. No Bible studies. No Dinner Church. Technology may make it possible to conduct necessary meetings, or small groups may choose to meet on their own, but nothing “official” will take place in the church building.

The Church Office will keep regular office hours, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. I will be available to you at any time, as is already my practice.

While the closing of schools and offices is only an inconvenience for most, others of our neighbors will struggle to feed their families or care for their children in these weeks. As an extension of our love of neighbor, please consider an additional “offering” of food or money to our local Food Pantry.

A long-time friend who served as superintendent of a large East Coast school district spoke often of the way he made decisions about school closures because of inclement New England weather. The issue that always guided his decision-making was concern for the health and safety of his students, teachers and staff. Even if school buses could run, and buildings could be heated, and driveways could be plowed, should they be? If even one school bus slipped into a ditch or one school child was harmed in the cold, it would be too many. He regarded the Snow Day as a way to be a good neighbor to those in his care.

Perhaps we could consider this temporary time apart from one another as an extended Snow Day, a gift of safety and concern for one another as neighbors.

In summary:

There will be no public worship Sundays, March 15 and 22

There will be no meetings or events in the church building through March 27

The church office and staff will keep regular office hours

The Food Pantry and the elderly/ill need you to be a good neighbor

The Third Sunday of Lent finds us midway between the invitation of Ash Wednesday and the revival of the temporarily-silenced “Alleluia” of Easter. At this pivotal, unsettling moment in the Lent season and our lives, I leave you with the concluding words of that Ash Wednesday bid:

Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Loving God and You, my Neighbors,

Pastor JoAnn Post



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