News from the Pastor
May 24, 2020
Let Us Break Bread Together (Virtually)
Since early February, we have only shared communion once, on Maundy Thursday. But we are going to share communion again next Sunday, May 31 – remotely. I encourage you to have your own bread and drink available as we engage in the Supper of our Lord. At the end of the service we will even punctuate our worship with the singing of the Lord’s Prayer – and you can hold hands with your in-home family. Don’t forget to be prepared!
Happy Memorial Day Sunday to everyone! We remember this weekend those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom. And we give thanks to you who have served our country as a member of our armed services. I hope everyone has enjoyed the Pick Me Ups this week that called our attention afresh to our indebtedness to soldiers of old who gave their lives in pivotal battles that defined the course of history and promoted the development of our Christian faith.
We are hoping to hold our long-delayed Graduate Sunday on Sunday, June 28. We have the fall-back date of July 12, if the 28th does not prove workable. Congratulations to all of our graduates at every level. We look forward to honoring you and your milestone accomplishments. I know that the graduates would like me to express to the church their appreciation for the cards and gifts they have received from the congregation in recent weeks.
I remind you, we are still aiming for Father’s Day, June 21, as our first Sunday back together. We will only have the 10:45 am service and no Sunday School for several weeks, as we gingerly experiment with re-uniting for worship in this coronavirus era. Please know, even when we gather on June 21, we won’t be able to worship as we always have. Medical experts have strongly cautioned churches against including choir participation or even congregational singing as part of their worship. Angela was part of a recent Zoom meeting with choir directors from across the state who were advised by virologists to extend the ban on choir and congregational singing at least well into the fall! I confess to you that we both find it hard to wrap our minds around that counsel.
Yet I continue to receive horror stories from friends and colleagues concerning how truly vulnerable people who worship together can be. A friend of mine in Virginia shared the experience of a local church that engaged in “drive-in” worship only to have a few members step out of their cars, unable to resist the temptation to visit. Shortly thereafter, three members of that fellowship contracted COVID-19 and one of them has died of it. Closer to home, a Baptist church in Ringgold recently revived in-person worship with only 25% of their usual congregation participating. They practiced what they thought was ample social distancing and disinfecting the sanctuary. Nevertheless, within a week, several of the congregation were critically ill with COVID-19.
I have just read an article in USA Today in which a researcher who has spent his life studying infectious diseases admits, “I have never encountered any virus quite like this.” Besides being incredibly communicable, this virus attacks a host of bodily organs, often affecting people in widely-divergent ways. Respirators that save the lives of some, prove ineffective with others. “Cocktails” of medicines appear to exert a positive response in some cases, but prove utterly useless in others. Of course, no small number of people who have the coronavirus exhibit no symptoms, so they can feel healthy while introducing a deadly disease to a multitude. I am old enough to remember the polio scare of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. But no medical threat of this magnitude has beset this country since the flu epidemic during World War I. We are all trying to draft policies and procedures that adapt to the challenges posed by this strange and deadly microbe.
Please know that Angela, Leigh and I are trying to access every reputable resource. The CBF of Georgia, for whom Melissa works, sponsored a seminar this week led by a “cleaning expert” who spelled out in detail the hygienic measures we must take to keep our worshippers safe. Onerous though those tasks will be, we will implement them. For we promise you, our sacred intention is not to endanger your health or your life as you participate in this beloved family of faith.
A word from your pastor,
Dr. Richard Kremer