I’m listening to Max Richter’s wintery musical riffs on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as I write this update to you. Even though this particular season has been relatively mild, it feels as though we’ve endured a very long winter together during the pandemic. I share your feelings of social dislocation and missing normality…whatever that will be. With improving Covid statistics in Larimer County it is time for a shift!
Last week, Plymouth’s Pandemic Team met again to address when we should reopen our doors and invite people back into in-person worship. Before I tell you the result of our deliberations, I must tell you how magnificent your fellow members serving on this team are. There is much thoughtful discussion, weighing the scientific and the social-scientific dimensions of our common life, all of it undergirded by a sense of what we are doing together as a people called together by our love of God. I give thanks for each of them and for our work together!
We will welcome you back to in-person worship on February 27. (Livestream will of course be available at 9:00 & 11:00, but we’d love to see you in person!) It’s the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany (and the lovely Moravian star will still hang above the organ console). We have a special treat that day: our very own Rev. Laura Nelson will be preaching on this Transfiguration Sunday. (It was great to see so many of you yesterday at our Valentine’s Day drive-thru, and I look forward to seeing many more of you on February 27.)
Here are the guidelines we’ll be following:
Masks are a must for everyone. We will attempt to follow six-foot social distance guidelines, but our fully-vaccinated choir will be able to stand at a three-foot distance, which means more of our beautiful choir will be able to sing! Brava! Bravo!
Communion will be available in the sanctuary every week at 9:00 and the first Sunday of the month at 11:00. We will come forward to receive elements and bring them back to our seats and partake as one body. (People with mobility challenges or who simply prefer to receive communion seated will be accommodated by our deacons with a traveling communion tray.) We think this is even safer than communion served in the West Wing hallway.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2, and our service (livestreamed and in person) will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary with the traditional imposition of ashes. We also are planning a mid-Lent evening service in the style of Taizé…stay tuned for details! As Lent draws near a close on Maundy Thursday, we are planning our service of Tenebrae in person and streaming. (We will re-evaluate the Covid situation to see whether a soup supper is possible!)
I cannot tell you how much your clergy and staff miss seeing you! It will get better as we adapt to living with Covid. Thanks be to God for scientists and medical staff who make vaccines possible and who help our time of trial to become a situation that we live with. Bless you for keeping the faith, proving that church is more than a building, and that together with God, we can make it through the toughest of times.
I leave you with these favorite words from A New Creed from the United Church of Canada:
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
God bless you all!
P.S. It was great to see so many of you at our Valentine's Day drive-thru yesterday! Special thanks to our Congregational Life Board for their help organizing! If you would like a hard copy of the Lenten Devotional booklet, you may pick one up on February 27 at worship or you may ask Barb Gregory to send you one via US Mail. (Electronic readers: look for a PDF version that Anna Broskie sent late last week!)