Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray this letter finds you, your families, and your friends safe and well. I want to begin by saying how much I miss seeing each of you, leading worship with you, and sharing the Holy Spirit in fellowship! We are blessed to have the ability to live stream our services and to meet via social media platforms like Zoom, but it doesn’t replace the joy of meeting “face to face.”
I am writing to you today, on this fourth Sunday of Easter also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, with great news of anticipation and excitement. Six weeks ago we were asked to close our doors and to “shelter in place,” but I want you to know that the staff and vestry have been hard at work planning for the day we will be allowed to reopen. Please note that day is dependent on the bishop’s permission to reopen and then the selection of that day by the rector and vestry. I promise that when that day is determined, I will inform you as soon as humanly possible!
Our mission of Connecting to Christ and Community with the vision of being a church that makes disciples who make disciples, who is the church!? WE ARE THE CHURCH! The pandemic has tried to thwart that mission and vision, but you have not allowed that to happen! One of the many ways that God has worked through this time is to renew our appreciation and appetite to gather and worship as a community. I believe we can all identify with David, who after wandering in the Judean desert for a long time writes in Psalm 63: 1-2
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
On Thursday, the vestry began finalizing our plans to reopen that we are calling, “Re:Connect.” The most important thing for you to understand about Re:Connect is that while we are anxious to gather and worship together, keeping everyone safe and healthy is and will be of utmost importance. Following established guidelines, there are some specifics to decide and implement. The following is an outline of what your clergy and leadership have formulated.
Re:Connect will be one Sunday service in the church building beginning at 10 am. The service will have music, preaching, and communion (bread only) and be designed to provide the best possible avenue for corporate worship while minimizing time spent in the building. There will be no coffee hour or refreshments served before or after the service. The Sunday service will continue to be live-streamed for those who choose not to attend for whatever reason may participate in worship. The church will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each service. We will attempt to provide sanitizer as it is available, but worshippers and volunteers will be asked to bring their own masks and hand sanitizer. We will arrange the seating so that social distancing can be practiced while allowing families to sit together, and there will also be a standing area for those who wish to be further removed. We will not have a nursery or children’s church, but will stream the service in the parish hall will serve as additional space for families who may need to spread out.
We are finalizing other more specific details, but I believe this gives you a good picture of what we will be doing once we get permission from Bishop Mark and the vestry decides the best Sunday for us to Re:Connect. Please know that if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, I would love to hear them.
A few things as I close:
It’s never been easier to invite someone to church. Like, share and subscribe to our online worship Sundays at 10:30 am. OurSaviourSC.com/live.
Every weekday morning at 9 am, I am live on Facebook with a 10 minute devotional on a Psalm. You can access that on my Facebook page or Church of Our Saviour’s Facebook page.
On Wednesdays, our assistant pastor, Newman Lawrence, and our executive pastor/worship leader, David Childs, are presenting a weekly worship opportunity on Wednesday’s at 11:30 am. This is accessible on the Our Saviour website (www.oursavioursc.com) or the Facebook page.
Small Groups continue to meet via Zoom and are extending an invitation for you to join in the weekly meetings. If you are interested in joining, please let me know. Karl@OurSaviourSC.com
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement, prayers, and for your continued financial support of the Church of Our Saviour during this unique time. Without your participation, the church cannot be the hands and feet of Christ. The pandemic has not stopped our mission, it has not blunted our resolve or enthusiasm for the Gospel, nor has it prevented us from continuing to make disciples who make disciples. I look forward to worshiping with you soon and Re:Connect, but in the meantime, let us use today to praise and glorify God and not just prepare to return to corporate worship, but let us prepare for the return of the Good Shepherd! Hallelujah!
May God Bless You and Keep You,