Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

sofia ornelas 172mGIcc3xc unsplashBehold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
- Isaiah 43:19 -

On July 4 we will gather for in-person worship at 4790 Logus Road!

Weather and updated CDC recommendations will determine whether we worship under the trees or in our sanctuary, but all those who are able will be invited to meet in person.  Masks will be required so that we can welcome everyone of every age!   For those who are not able to get to the building, or who are not ready to be among so many people, worship services and meetings will also be available on zoom.    

Thinking about and planning for a return to our building brings me so much joy – seeing the people who have been just a face on a screen in person!  Seeing people who have not been able to participate online!  New friends who have only ever joined us online welcomed in person! The energy of the gathered community renewing and sustaining us.

And, thinking about and planning for a return to our building raises questions:  Who will we be after so many months of digital life?  Will we be able to sing together?  Will “hybrid” worship – some of us in person and some of us online -- feel zesty and lifegiving as we hope or leave us feeling too remote from each other?  We know we cannot replace our beloved friend and acolyte Christopher Martin, who died of COVID, so how will we honor his lasting place in our hearts and who will follow him as acolyte for the future? 

And then there is the elephant in the room.  According to the most recent Gallup poll:

Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

Having experienced church as a place of acceptance and love, how shall we serve a world skeptical of organized religion?  Having heard the gospel, how shall we continue to bring more joy and justice into the world?  Having found a community that nurtures our spirits, how shall we invite others to participate in the life we find so enriching and good?

We can let all these questions and unknowns daunt us…Or we can see this moment as a great opportunity for renewal, believing with our forebear John Robinson that there is yet more light to break forth!

One thing I know for sure: together is a very good place to be, and we do not move into the unknown future alone.  The same Spirit that drew us together goes with us.

 

Photo by Sofia Ornelas on Unsplash