Re-Gathering in God's Time
- The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
- Jul 07, 2020
- Blog Feed
Dear People of Holy Innocents’,
When the church staff left the offices on Thursday, March 12 to start a purported two-week shutdown, I thought we would take a nice pause, refocus on our ministries, and jump back just in time for Holy Week and Easter. Now we are almost four full months into a pandemic that shows no signs of abating. The numbers have increased by almost 105% over the last two weeks, and the most important numbers, hospital stays and ICU demand, are rising dangerously again. While our attention has slipped, COVID has roared back to life.
At the same time, I have gathered a group that I call the Regathering Task Force. Their work and ministry are to help us find ways to gather as a church in worship and in small groups in the coming months. Every member of the task force has a deep desire to return to normal and to see our church family again. They also have a sacred trust to make the decisions that will keep our loved ones of all generations safe. Those two goals are in conflict, especially with confirmed cases increasing in the Atlanta area.
The Task Force is clear about three things. First, we will not be able to have any events at the church for the remainder of the summer. We are not in a position to provide a low-risk option to gather. Second, the church should continue to gather on-line and support one another in love and prayer. It is not the same as gathering in person. We all long for that day when we can. Until then, we will rejoice that God is with us in this difficult time.
The last thing the Task Force is clear about is that we should prepare for a long process. While we want to gather soon, we know that experts at the CDC and in the medical industry are seeing a longer horizon. Until a vaccine is created, we will be in a transition period at best—where some could gather and others will be sheltering at home.
With all this in mind, the clergy and staff are working on completely revamping and upgrading all of our technology. Specifically, we are working on improving our cameras, microphones, and online options. We are also working on building a new website and a new giving portal for ways to share information and engage. We are talking to a host of different churches to explore ways to be God’s hearts and hands in this new and strange world. In addition, the Regathering Task Force is working on a survey and other ways to gather information from you, the membership of Holy Innocents’, on the best ways to engage with one another.
I wish I had more encouraging news. I certainly wish we could open soon. I also pray regularly that you are all safe and healthy and well. We all live in the tension where we balance our health and safety with our needs and hopes and wants. I know it can be exhausting and time-consuming. I also know it is our calling to care for one another, to love one another especially when things are difficult. Together we can walk this path and depend on one another, even at a distance.
In God’s good time, we will re-gather. Until then, I wish you all the very best and look forward to sharing with you in worship and prayer.