The familiar gospel song, When We All Get To Heaven, takes on new meaning in this time of pandemic. Instead of singing about eternity, we’re looking forward to that day when we can all get back together. In sanctuary. For worship. On earth. “What a day of rejoicing that will be!”
That has been on the mind of many of our folk. I know, because you’ve told me so.
I recall a conversation following our March 15 worship, the last Sunday we were together as a congregation. I told a couple of folk that the operative words for the day were, “We don’t know.” We don’t know what this is, we don’t know where it’s going, we don’t know what we will do, or how long it will take. We just don’t know.
There’s a sense in which that is still true. But I do want you to know we’re working on it. The responsibility of leading the church to that time when we all get together has been put under the leadership of a task force. This approach was recommended by the national CBF organization as well as our insurance company. Using available data and information provided by our local government and clergy leaders, as well as discerning what other congregations are considering, we will develop a plan that is timely, protects especially our most vulnerable members, and seeks to ensure that every possible precaution is utilized. Members of the task force are Gloria Hodges, Scott Malone, Robin Miller, David Richardson, and Tiffiny Wright. Tom Marchand, Deacon Chair, and I will work with the group in ex-officio capacities.
Right now, this is what we request from you: that you pray for our church, that you be patient as we seek to do the best we can in these different and often difficult times, and that you understand our mission is to be the church regardless of where we are or how we meet.
A couple of other things come to mind. Our approach to reopening will no doubt be done in stages. As of right now, our plan is for our small worship group to be back in the sanctuary by June 21, as we did three Sundays in March and early April. How long we will be doing worship this way will depend on how the Memphis area is responding to the virus. Those services will continue to be broadcast on radio and social media.
I need to warn you, however, that when we do reopen the doors for in-person worship, it will not be like it has always been. There will be needed restrictions and precautions in place, and frankly, you may not like some of them. This where we will really need your understanding. If it proves to be inconvenient for you in some ways, please realize that such inconvenience may actually save someone else’s health or life. Yes, this virus is that serious.
However, regardless of when that day will be, or what it will look like, I hope we can all agree, “What a day of rejoicing that will be!”