It feels like the whole nation has been holding our breath, waiting for life to return to normal when the pandemic finally ends. Each little step forward has brought relief, while each bit of bad news or tightening of restrictions has caused more anxiety and frustration. We are walking a long, hard road, but there is, or at least soon will be, light shining on the horizon.
For Broadway, the first bright glimmers of light appeared in early July as we resumed in-person worship. Those who have attended have been grateful to see one another again, even though we can’t exchange hugs or handshakes, and even if it takes a few seconds to recognize friends behind their face masks.
Now, we are cautiously looking ahead to resuming more in-person ministries in the fall. While we know it’s possible that we could need to shut things down again should the virus situation worsen in our area, I want to highlight some of our plans for the coming weeks.
First, we will continue to worship both in-person and online. I think it’s helpful to think about our worship services as a sort of “hybrid” experience. We are trying to make worship feel mostly normal again for those in the sanctuary and also present it well for those worshiping along at home. In addition to new video equipment and technical changes behind the scenes, we are also re-arranging some of what happens at the front of the sanctuary to keep everything within the frame of the camera.
Of course, we are also taking precautions in the sanctuary to spread people apart and limit the number of surfaces we touch. While it’s not evident to those watching online, everyone in the congregation wears a face mask, and we sing quietly, if at all. These changes are not burdensome to those who attend, but I’m sure we all look forward to resuming regular fellowship and full-volume singing.
Looking ahead to the fall, we are excited to restart Sunday School and Bible studies. We plan to pick up Immerse where we left off in March. The adult Sunday School class will meet at 9 a.m., beginning September 13, and the Wednesday evening Immerse group will meet at 6:30 p.m., beginning September 16. These groups will gather downstairs in the dining room where we can spread out tables and chairs. Watch for more details about Immerse and the updated reading schedule.The Women’s Fellowship will also resume in early September, meeting Tuesday mornings at 9:30. More details about the curriculum and start date will follow.
In addition, I hope to rework the Thursday morning Bible study. I would like to invite men and women to join a new Pastor’s Bible Study on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., beginning September 3. We will read and dis-cuss our way through a book of the Bible, most likely the Gospel of Mark. The Men’s Bible Study was a tremendous blessing to those who attended over the past several years, and I hope expanding the group to include men and women will keep this tradition going with the added blessing of new voices and perspectives.
As we make plans for the coming months, we have to acknowledge that situations beyond our control may cause us to change course or even cancel in-person gatherings again. If that happens, our church will be prepared to carry on with effective ministry. We have learned a lot in recent weeks about online resources as well as how to stay connected in “old-fashioned” ways. If we had to close the building again, I am confident that worship, fellowship and spiritual growth would all continue in meaningful and fruitful ways.
For now, we trust in God’s provision and hope for better days ahead.