“Be still and know that I am God.” The words from Psalm 46 remind us how to seek emotional and spiritual nurture. The past year has been one of extraordinary challenges for each of us. A global pandemic . . . political uncertainty . . . social unrest. Faced with such overwhelming issues, what are we to do? Sometimes I share some rewording of the verse from Psalm 46 with clients. They despair that their day-to-day life has become so cluttered and hectic. They detail some challenging difficulty and look to me for suggestions of what they might do in response. They are so intent on what to do that they have overlooked their own thoughts, daydreams and devotions.
God has brought us to a new year. As we move into 2021, what are we to do? Learn to appreciate stillness. Don’t apologize for it and don’t compromise it. Decide to be intentional about providing opportunity for emotional and spiritual stillness. In the stillness, let yourself know God. The result may well be a dawning peace. That peace is the source of fulfilling our responsibilities as a spouse, parent, friend and good neighbor. Are you interested in counseling for yourself or someone close? Call the Center at 910-452-7370, and visit at www.wantcounseling.com
Jonathan R. Kelley, Counselor
The Reopening Task Force began its work seven months ago, tasked with the responsibility to develop a plan to address the impacts of the coronavirus on the church and its congregation and ultimately for the reopening of the church for meetings and gathered worship. The Task Force created a document called the “Roadmap for Reopening”, which was approved by Session to provide guidance during this difficult time. In the development of the “Roadmap”, the safety and wellbeing of our congregational family was our highest priority. During this seven-month period, there have been many highs and lows relating to the coronavirus and the members of the Task Force analyze all information available in any decision making relating to the church, the congregation and making the church facility once again available for everyone to enjoy.
While our ultimate goal remains the same, the reopening of the church, our mindset also remains the same – the safety and wellbeing of our congregational family. Until the coronavirus numbers decrease significantly, both in terms of new cases and hospitalizations, we will not be authorizing the reopening of the church for gathered worship. We do want to see all of your smiling faces once again at church, but only when we feel it is truly safe for all of you to be back at church.
May the Hope and Peace of the season sustain you. God’s blessings,
The Reopening Task Force: Mike Blau, Chair;
Laura Cacchione, Linda Daily, John Ferraro, Joe Lhotsky,
and Pastors Joanna Hipp and Ann Jahnes
Over the past months, we have authorized the reopening of the Ministry Center for meetings, have increased the number of attendees that can attend meetings because our coronavirus statistics improved and then reduced those attendee numbers when those statistics went in the wrong direction. When the statistics looked positive, we had also established tentative dates for limited gathered worship in the Sanctuary. However, those tentative dates have come and gone when the coronavirus numbers increased and the Governor issued stricter Executive Orders to address the increase.
The SPC Session approved the final edit and review of the Reopening and Covenant of Care Roadmap. The Roadmap details a careful, thorough, and gradual process for re-entering the church facilities. Five phases of reopening begin with setting aside a day of individual prayer in the sanctuary, moving to opportunities for small groups and meetings, then to limited gathered worship. We are following the CDC, governor, local recommendations, and ecclesial guidelines. Let’s get those cases and hospitalization rates down, wear our masks, wash our hands, wait at a distance, and pray for the safety and well-being of all. We will be back together again, and in the meantime, we will care for ourselves and one another. Virtual Worship will continue as an ongoing part worship ministry.
Tuesday, May 12, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss the PBS documentary, “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story”
Tuesday, May 19, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss Preface and Chapter One of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (Boston: Beacon Press, 1949)
Tuesday, May 26, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss Chapter Two of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Tuesday, June 2, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss Chapter Three of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Tuesday, June 9, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss Chapter Four of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Tuesday, June 16, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – discuss Chapter Five and Epilog of Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman