June Pastor’s Pen

June Pastor's Pen

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

Psalm 122:2 ESV

How are you? Over the last 8 weeks, I have been making random telephone calls to our church family as my time permits. I always begin my call with this question – “How are you?” And after that subject is addressed, I generally get a question: “Do you have any idea when our church will reopen for worship and connection?”

Like the rest of you, I’m quite ready for us to get back to a new normal. I appreciate our online services and feel our worship planners and leaders are doing an excellent ministry. But there is something about being together that cannot be replaced.

The simple truth is, due to the CDC recommendations/regulations that have been imposed upon us, we are very much limited as to what we can and cannot do at this time. But that hasn’t prevented your staff and church board from being proactive, asking the questions that need to be asked as we prepare to reopen our doors.

Quite recently our board had a special meeting devoted to the questions of when we shall reopen and what it will look like. The following statement from the church board received a unanimous endorsement: 

“The church leadership will monitor the CDC guidelines with regard to church openings;

however, the church will remain closed until procedures are in place to ensure the safety

and well-being of our church family and guests.”

What exactly does that mean? Last week, Lifeway Book Store published an article, 24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return. One of the things the article makes clear is that, given the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, we will not be able to return to church at the present time and resume doing all the things in all the ways we have been accustomed to doing them.

Whether our county is red, yellow or green, for everyone’s safety some thoughtful and intentional planning must happen first. To that end, a special committee has been appointed to begin envisioning how our reopening can happen most effectively. The committee consists of your staff, Kendal Trader, Linda Burkholder, Jerry Moore and Rick Shreiner.

A local church close to my home is encouraging its church family to pray, be patient, and stay positive. That sounds like good counsel for all of us. I’ve never had any doubt that the Lord is going to use this emergency to draw us closer to him and to one another. I’ve never had any doubt that we will not only survive together, we can and will thrive together. And I surely have never doubted that the day is coming in the not-so-distant future when – like the church of the Book of Acts –

[We will] devote ourselves once again to meeting together in God’s house and breaking bread with joyful and sincere hearts.   Acts 2:46 CSB

Until then, keep looking up!

Pastor Joel


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