“God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” -Psalm 62:6
Dear Saints, In two weeks time, we saw the eyes of the nation shift from a horrifying display of violence to a peaceful inaugural celebration on the very same platform at the Capitol building. Hard to believe it has only been two weeks. I believe we all released a collective sigh of relief when this week passed without a repeat of the rioting and lawlessness we may have feared. In addition, we are finally beginning to see a decreasing number of new Coronavirus cases following the holiday surge.
While our nation still has a long way to go toward healing, this week we are seeing glimpses of relief from the stressors which reached a fever pitch earlier this month. We are beginning to see calmer seas on the horizon, beginning to set our sights on brighter days. This week, more of our seniors have reported getting vaccinations or scheduling appointments to do so. Little by little, we are growing cautiously optimistic about improving conditions. The “cautious” part of that phrase, however, reminds us that we must all continue do our part to avoid unnecessary risks.
As we prepare to gather for our Annual Congregational meeting, we reflect on the ways All Saints has weathered this storm together. Shortly after last year’s Annual Meeting, we began making plans for when and if COVID made it’s appearance in our community. Since then, we have established an outdoor/online worship routine, implemented virtual Christian Education, facilitated safe meeting guidelines for congregational and community groups, created a Community Garden, and continued with our service and benevolence work. We have refused to “coast,” but instead have committed ourselves to continuing to advance the kingdom in many tangible ways.
This year, under the leadership of our new Communications Coordinator, we adopted four “Mission Messages” to help share what we do. And despite the pandemic, we were still able to live out our mission in each of these four areas this year:
+ Authentic Worship – Even outside the walls of the sanctuary, we have never stopped worshiping God in a way that is true to ourselves and our Lutheran heritage.
+ Sharing the Gospel – We have reached out, invited, taught, welcomed and witnessed to our community in new and creative ways.
+ Loving our Neighbor – Food drives, mask drives, coat drives, garden produce, take-out meals, warm blankets, slippers for veterans, Quilts of Valor, just to name a few.
+ Cultivating Community – Between groups in the garden, circles of folding chairs, gatherings around a firepit, or virtual art and poetry groups, we continue to build genuine community, even in the strangest of times.
When we gather this Sunday for our first (and hopefully last) “drive-in” Congregational Meeting, we hope you share our pride in being a part of a community that has continued pursuing its mission, despite the obstacles. We hope All Saints is for you the beacon of light amidst the darkness that it has been for us this year. We hope you will keep the faith that calmer seas are indeed on the horizon. God has been our rock amidst the storms; he will continue to be our salvation. We look forward to our next year of ministry together!
+ Pastor Kris and Pastor Ginger +