Reformation Day’s lessons, prayers, hymns and sermons have receded into the online vaults where past worship services are stored. Now it’s time to move onward, maybe even forward. In the next few months, congregations like yours and mine will be fashioning the future as we imagine the coming year’s programs and budgets. We hope to instill the spirit of reformation into the coming year.
That work will be difficult this time around, though. Our congregations find themselves in the middle of another reforming phenomenon: COVID 19 and its repercussions. We’re coming into another year of congregational life with some of the pandemic’s brakes released, but with “What’s next?” presenting a complicated unknown. Plowing ahead as usual? (Not possible.) Staying put for now? (Not visionary.) Trying something brand-new? (Not prudent.) From among the mass of questions we’ve accumulated, we hope to find those that are most necessary to answer first.
Perhaps like you, I’ve been brooding over the ongoing quandary of a health pandemic that’s hatched other plagues bedeviling our spirits, visions and hopes. Gathered together, my questions may not have always allowed workable answers—circumstances and contexts have seemed overwhelming. Now that some of the extreme danger has ebbed, though, it seems like a good time to revisit these matters.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be using some of these entries to revisit a few of the church-related questions that have followed me during these many months. At this moment, their number seems large. Some are tentative, and others lack just the right words. Still, I want to start down this path so that you don’t think that you’re facing Reformation-After-COVID times alone. It’s just possible, too, that some answers might be tagging along with the questions!
I hope you’ll stay tuned.
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