I was so very happy and excited when I was called to serve as your permanent pastor. I still am in the clouds with joy…even though I was not expecting the beginning of my ministry with you to go like this. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about pastoring, you should expect the unexpected.
It’s not been easy for any of us as we have needed to submit to the requirements and to the quarantine put upon us by the CDC and government because of COVID-19. Like you, I miss being with you for worship and for doing the work of the church, oh…and of course, playing together. We missed being together for Holy week traditions, and in May, we will likely miss other traditions, like music Sunday.
But before we allow ourselves to fall into a pit of pity and hopelessness, let’s consider the positives. Yes, there have been some positives through all of this. I’m delighted every time I call someone and they mention to me how cared-for they feel because of all the phone calls and cards they received from church members. I know you are checking on one another and your neighbors to make sure people have food and other necessities. I’m following several threads of emails that are nothing but loving, prayerful and encouraging. I’ve even heard some of you say that you feel closer to the church now than ever before. You’ve done an excellent job keeping up with your tithes and offerings so the church can fulfill her obligations. Thank you. I know many of you tune in on Facebook Live or the HCOB webpage for worship.
I meet with the Sunday School class I am teaching right now, Contemporary Christian Conversations, on Wednesday evenings using Zoom. Last week we were talking about how we are called to continue the work of Jesus…through all we say and do. I asked, “What does that mean for us as our church, families, community and world goes through this crisis? What would Jesus be doing now?” I also wondered, are all of us continuing his work, or have some of us put it on hold until the crisis passes? As I mentioned I know many of you are continuing the work of Jesus in acceptable ways through this season; and I’m sure there are many things that you are doing that I don’t know about. But, as the weeks of quarantine seem to drag on, don’t lose sight of this calling. It’s important work that God needs us to be doing right now.
Although we are together now in spirit, one day soon we will be together physically again…what a great day of joy and worship that will be. Remember these inspiring and hopeful words found in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For surely I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’” Continue the work of Jesus and spread God’s hope.
NOTE: As we go forward in our day-to-day lives, be assured the Leadership Team, Pastor Twyla, Burt, and Bev, are doing everything possible to communicate the latest information to the congregation. We are using email to get the word out about changes as quickly as possible. If you know someone who does not have email, you can help by spreading the word. Please check the church calendar at www.hagerstowncob.org for calendar updates. Stay strong and remember to give thanks as we navigate these challenging times.