Greetings dear Trinity folk
As some of you may have noticed, I have received permission from my physician and the insurance company to return to work on a trial basis; my first full week back began last Tuesday. The return to work permissions were given to try out my brand shiny new computer glasses which enable me to read the words on the screen. There is certainly no shortage of computer work to test out my new glasses on!
Anjanee, Joan and I (and possibly Denis) are working together to create the congregations reopening safety plan. This is a very important first step towards allowing staff and volunteers back into the church for all sorts of gatherings. Together, we form a team representing both worship and executive to complete the safety plan. Worksafe BC provides a handy template to use, and the regional and national church offices have provided a wealth of other information which goes above and beyond the Worksafe BC requirements. Given that the people in many United Church congregations are among the most vulnerable to COVID infections, these requirements help us all to honour our duty of care to one another, and to ensure that above all else, we do no unintentional harm.
When the plan is complete, it will go to Council for approval and will be posted publicly at the church as well as on the congregations facebook and website pages. (If you have not already done so, please LIKE or FOLLOW the facebook page and website for more updates and inspirational messages. ) Copies of the completed safety plan will be distributed by email and available in paper form at the church as well.
We hope to gather the congregation for a communion and worship service September 6th at a location yet to be determined. Mark your calendars, as we feel confident we will have a plan in place by that date to enable us to safely gather for worship.
Meanwhile, we continue to provide worship in the best ways we can during this pandemic. Worship services are available from the national church, and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=united+church+of+canada The lay leaders and I will continue to share providing you with weekly prayers and reflections which will be sent to you via email; paper copies will be available to pick up outside the front door of the church (the property guys have been asked to provide a weather safe box where we can leave information for you to pick up), and copies can be hand delivered or mailed as well. If you know of someone who would like their copies mailed or delivered, please call the church office 250-428-4015 to let us know. If you have ideas about ways to provide worship, please let me know by phoning or texting 1-250-6413 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral visits are easily arranged and can happen in person or over the phone by contacting me directly 1-250-650-6413. I have a meditation space set up in my garden in front of the bees for contemplative prayer sessions which happen on a regular basis. To be COVID compliant, the gatherings in the garden can have no more than two participants and it helps if the day is warm and sunny. Shade is available for when the sun is too hot. Pastoral visits will also be handled in ways that are safe for all involved. Please call to set up your preferred time for either meditation or prayer in the garden, or a pastoral visit at a location of your choice.
I offer my deep thanks and gratitude to Anjanee who has really stepped up to the plate during this pandemic time. Anjanee bravely took on learning Zoom and all sorts of other new technology based activities to serve both the wider church and this congregation. Please join me in expressing gratitude by sending her a card or giving her a quick phone call.
Much appreciation also goes out to the lay leaders who have faithfully been providing you with a wide variety of worship experiences each week. We are richly blessed indeed to have these folk amongst us.
Over the weeks and months ahead, it is more important than ever that we stay in touch and provide care for one another; reaching out to another congregation member to check in is always much appreciated. If there is someone on your heart, or someone you have not seen or heard from in a while, please reach out to them. If you are aware of a special need, please let me know.
My personal goal is to retire one year early on November 1st. If there is one learning I can take from this pandemic time, it is of the importance of staying connected to friends and family and engaging in activities which bring joy and comfort to the soul. I will be remaining in Creston, and available for a wide variety of congregational supports if needed.
Meanwhile, stay safe everyone, and remember to be kind and gentle with yourselves and one another.