Dearest Hope Family,
The Session met this past Tuesday evening to take stock of where we are in the constantly evolving landscape of re-gathering as a church in the midst of the pandemic. We have been monitoring the updated (and soon to be updated!) guidelines and trying to account for what is wise and what is scalable for ministry staff and leadership. I write to offer some broad-brush strokes of our current approach to the summer season of worship and life together as a church.
What will remain constant:
Ministry of the Word, prayer, and celebration of the sacraments make us a church and galvanize our union with Christ and communion with each other. We will continue to create space for folks to gather for the worship of the living God – an essential facet of our vision and mission as Hope Church – inviting folks to experience true hope for real life through the receiving and thriving in the embrace of the Father. This takes place not exclusively but primarily in corporate worship. Therefore, our commitment remains to provide options for folks – each Sunday an indoor worship that is livestreamed and outdoor worship service for folks that prefer not to gather indoors.
What will be returning/added in:
- Prayer during the Worship Services
- Indoor in the kitchen during communion – elders available to pray and serve Lord’s Supper.
- Outdoor during communion – you can receive the elements and meet with pray-ers in the alcove between the two buildings.
- Some childcare options like the Nursing Mothers rooms inside the building with more to come in time.
What we wish to re-frame:
The livestream was initially a necessity in order for the worshipping community of Hope to endure and rally together in the lock-down phases of the pandemic. We labored hard to improve the equipment and quality of our livestream, and now we have 40-50 continuous views during the worship service and as many as 150-200 views later in the week. We are committed to continuing the livestream as a convenience for our church and so that my parents, in-laws, and all the other pastors’ parents and families can tune in – ha!
However, we invite you to take advantage of the in-person options for gathering as God’s people, partaking of the sacraments, and being the body of Christ together in real-time.
Use the livestream as a convenience when providentially away from Hope. Use the livestream to share the ministry of the Word with those beyond Hope. But please do not rely upon the livestream as a substitute for or replacement of the privilege and blessing of being with God’s people in person for worship and fellowship.
What we beg of you as the gathered people of God:
Pray for wisdom, pray for courage, pray for stamina, pray for patience, pray for grace upon grace upon grace so that we can receive and thrive in the embrace of the Father, be equipped as disciples of the Son, and engage the world through the power of the Spirit!
Lastly, for fun, our own Joah Macoscko, constructed a crossword puzzle entitled, “Behind the Scenes,” and it was published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, April 19th. Here is the link, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! Way to go, Joah!
Grace and peace,