Note to the Congregation – July 24, 2020
GREETINGS FROM A CLUTTERED DESK AND LIFE!
I hope all is going well in your life and home. I want to touch base on a few items and do some catch-up. I had hoped to send out some information while on vacation, but we had internet issues.
FIRST, let me assure you that while I was in Florida on vacation, I was not in any of the “hotspots” where the virus has spread. We were in our condo, which is in a small group of condos, so not very many people to worry about a lot of contact. We had no one sitting close to us on the beach, we never ate in any restaurant, and we took all the necessary precautions during our trip. If we had been going to a “hotspot,” Linda and I would not have gone. We take the need for our safety and the safety of others seriously.
SECOND, I am very much aware of different opinions right now about the coronavirus as well as the issue of wearing masks. This has not been a fun experience for any of us, and as your pastor, my number one goal is the safety of all of us. Therefore, I have tried to lead us in careful information and steps to help ensure the safety of all, even though there are different opinions as to what those steps should be.
I try and respect those opinions, and ask you to understand my position as the pastor. My responsibility is the health and welfare of all of our children, youth, and adults, including our senior adults. (In other words, not just you.) That safety is what guides our decisions, and while you may or may not agree with those decisions, I have been very grateful for your encouraging support during this time. Some pastors have shared with me that strong disagreements and even leaving the church have occurred over these issues. That has not been the case here and I am thankful for your gracious spirit during these days.
If you noticed, we did not make wearing a mask a requirement, but a request, because we trust each other to do the right thing and look out for one another. And you have done that well, and I am very appreciative of your sensitivity and caring. If anyone needs any masks with the state mandate beginning Monday, we have masks available on the table inside the door of the main entrance.
By the way, I want to say a word to our parents of school-age children. That’s a tough decision. I want you to know that if you choose to send your child or children to school, you have my support. If you choose not to send your child or children, you have my support. As a church, we want to know how we can be more helpful to you during this time. I’m not totally sure there is a certain right answer right now to a lot of what we are facing, but we need to make the most informed decision that we can. We need to help and support each other, even if we are unsure or disagree with one another.
THIRD, our church finances continue to be fairly solid, and for that, trust me, I am most grateful! I do not want to have to beg along with all of the other stuff we are dealing with right now. Thank you for your faithful generosity in giving, either in the collections boxes (thanks to Jim Sell), online through our website at www.bartlettchapel.com, or by mail to the church office (4396 E. Main Street Avon, IN 46123).
- Worship continues to be both online and in-person at 9AM. This has gone very well. I remain thankful for the worship team and all their efforts, including the sound and tech people. Again, I want you to be safe. It’s okay to worship together either in-person or online through Facebook Live. If you are more at risk or unsure, by all means, please know that it really is okay to stay home and participate online.
- Let’s try a “Talk-Back Time”, starting this Sunday, July 26th. Following the worship service and after a few minutes for greeting one another, let’s gather in the sanctuary and talk together. I want to hear from you about what you have experienced and learned during this time. I also want to hear from you about what we can do to help us in the future should we face another moment like this. I want to share with you and hear from you about some ministry opportunities we are working on here at Bartlett Chapel. So, let’s have a talk and share with each other as we seek to grow and follow Christ and make God’s love real even during this challenging time. This “Talk-Back Time” will also be streaming online and information on accessing that will be posted to Facebook on Sunday morning.
- We will continue to have a discussion after worship for the next few Sundays, and it will center around the sermon series on Job, which starts August 2nd. We are also planning to bring back the Donut Time, starting August 2nd. We have a plan for “Donut Time” that we think will be safe and work for all of us! After this time of fellowship, we will talk about the sermon on Job. I want to hear your responses and share together as I tackle a hard book to preach.
- If you want to read ahead for the sermon series, you are most welcome to read the entire book of Job or these passages in the coming weeks: August 2nd — Job chapters one and two; August 9th — Job chapters 23 and 38; August 16th or 23rd — Job chapters 19 and 29.
- BIBLE STUDY RETURNS! We are planning on kicking off our Adult Bible study on Wednesday evenings, starting on August 5th. To get us started, we will have a Swiss steak dinner served beforehand. The dinner will be at 5:30pm and the Bible study will start at 6:30pm. All of this will take place in Fellowship Hall. We will have the tables set up in a way that allows us to have the spacing recommended and enjoy an evening of fellowship and Bible study. This study will also be streaming online and that information will be forthcoming as to how you can join with us. I am asking that if you are planning on attending the Swiss steak dinner, that you let me know so we can adequately prepare the meal.
- Our hope is that after the Labor Day weekend, we can begin to resume our adult Sunday school classes. Also, Pastor Julie and the Children’s Ministry Team are working on a plan for our children and that information will be shared when completed.
FINALLY, let me simply say that I know that this has been a trying time for all of us. We’ve been cooped up far too long and we are missing our daily routines, people, and activities. Know that I am praying for you and your family. I ask for your prayers as well. And, if you need or want to chat, I am here and willing. We can meet at the shelter house, talk on the phone (although I am a lousy phone person!), or meet here in the office.
Also, please make use of our shelter house. Some of you have gathered there in small groups with a bring-your-own dinner, spread out some, had a meal together, and enjoyed being outside and in each other’s company. All I ask is that you check with Lori about availability (firstname.lastname@example.org), as we are using the shelter house more.
As both Todd and Julie shared in their sermons while I was away on vacation, we need to trust in God and allow God to be at work in our lives during this trying time. And who knows? Who knows what new thing God is doing among us? I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as your pastor as well as to serve together to make God’s love real in this day and time.
Peace and Grace be with you in Jesus Christ,
Pastor Jeff Reed