This past year has been one of many transitions in our lives and in our church. As we slowly move back to life as normal–or something resembling normal–I decided to use my blog this week to update you on a number of things happening at the church.
Sunday Morning Worship
This has been a year of many transitions. Going from “in person” worship to “virtual internet only” worship. Going from “virtual internet only” worship to “socially distant” worship back in the sanctuary. And we have moved back and forth between these worship experiences more than once over the past year!
I have received a number of questions recently regarding how many of the changes we have made over this past year are temporary and which ones are permanent? Off the cuff I would like to respond by saying, “God knows but has not yet revealed it unto me! “Which is true to a point, but decisions have been made that are important for you to know about.
- One Worship Service on Sundays at 10AM will continue over the course of the Summer. This makes sense as this has been our practice in the past. The worship committee will re-visit this decision later in the summer as we look towards September.
- We are continuously reviewing our Social Distancing practices with regards to seating and singing on Sunday mornings. We are blessed as a congregation to have an Ernie Lombard as our Parish Nurse who, among many other things, weekly researches evolving CDC guidelines on this matter. He has worked seamlessly with a retired physician on our Session, Everett Fuller, to make recommendations to the Session. Stay tuned.
- I have not abandoned wearing my clergy robe for Sunday worship. I did not wear it last Sunday morning because it was warm in the Sanctuary and I was told that in the past the ministers at SPC did not wear a robe in the pulpit during the summer months. This was not a permanent decision to end wearing my clergy robe for the Sunday morning worship service as some have wondered. I will be back in my clergy robe this coming Sunday and will discuss this practice with the Worship Committee at their next meeting.
- Please be patient with us as we continue to improve the sound quality of Sunday worship–over the internet and in the sanctuary. The good news is that the church has updated its audio and video equipment in the sanctuary over the past six months. This has already enhanced the worship service experience for those viewing our service at home over the internet or in the sanctuary. But there is a learning curve with regards to our use of these new digital technologies. The Worship Committee is working hard with our video and sound team and our music ministry team to put our new equipment to its best use possible.
Church Growth Task Force
Early on in the COVID crisis, your Session decided to explore new opportunities for the worship and ministry of your church. They believed what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter 8, “Everything works for good for those who love God and are called according to God’s Purpose.” They saw the pandemic as a time to look afresh at how we tell others the story of who we are as a worshipping and believing fellowship of Christians. They saw the ministry and mission of the Seneca Presbyterian Church as one that needs to extend into the future. The Church Development Task Force developed a tagline to summarize this mission and ministry: “Grounded in Faith; Growing to Serve.” It has led to freshening up the outside of our church, plans for freshening up Knoll Hall and great outreach ideas with regards to attracting new members.
But nothing is possible if we are not grounded in God’s love through prayer. I invite all of you to remember the Apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Blessings to you all, Your Pastor, John