Everything is different this year. Yes, many of us never really got away for a summer break. And many are still working from home. Or having various other COVID-related intrusions in our regular schedules.
But still Fall arrives. School starts up, different as it is. And, church gets going faster again too.
Virtual worship (and the ways it takes more preparation) have made us incredibly aware of how busy the Fall is at church. After Gathering Sunday, we have Anniversary Sunday, World Communion Sunday, the Blessing of the Animals, Music Sunday, Reformation Sunday, All Saints Sunday, Stewardship Sunday before we get to Advent and Christmas. That’s at least 6 special Sundays in a row, before all the festivities of December. And we have plans in motion to try them all. Ok, not meeting inevitably is going to upend those celebrations in some way, but aren’t we realizing that we must figure out some new things to try in the opportunity of forced difference!
(Don’t tell anyone, but for the 5 pm Service on Christmas Eve, we’re looking into combining a diaspora children’s pageant with a Creche’ tableau from a farm near the Robinsons!)
And it all starts with Gathering Sunday on the 13th. AT 11 O’CLOCK (yes, when we return to the normal worship time!). Michael has some ideas how worship that Sunday might include a bit more “catching up” than even our chatty zoom worship regularly does.
We have another idea too — about making Gathering Sunday more fun, something special…
Have you noticed that we don’t get visitors on zoom like we do when we are worshiping in the Sanctuary? Beth, in her capacity as Community Engagement Director, have been discussing this.
We’re not even sure why this would be — most people check out the website before they actually decide to show up to cross our threshold. So, where do we lose them these days? If one gets to the website, it seems an easy step to get to us on zoom? If you have any ideas…
But Beth and I have also talked about how these days even more people could be looking for community and hope, for belonging and believing. This Fall, we want to work on this.
But as a first step, we want to ask you to think about who you could invite to church. Who’s feeling lonely, adrift or lost, losing hope? I’m not asking about us, but about the people we know! Sadly, in our world today, it’s not that hard to think of folks who are struggling.
So, we want to ask you to invite someone to Gathering Sunday. Yep, it’s not just Gathering Sunday; we’re making it an official BRING A FRIEND Sunday too.
Surely, all of us have someone we can bring to church on the 13th, even if it’s just on an invite something like, “Hey, can I ask a favor, church wants me to bring a friend for our Gathering Sunday on the 13th. The idea is something like ‘everyone bring one,’ and I don’t want to be the only one without a friend.”
Better might be, “I’ve really been enjoying church through all this. Actually haven’t missed a Sunday. Where else do I get to feel like I’m in a crowd. And the energy of everyone so happy to see everyone is uplifting. And well, there’s something about remembering that we are, each of us, loved, sacred, more capable than we often feel these days. Will you join me?”
Who counts as a friend? Well, hmm, Beth probably can’t claim Cheryl at this point. But the Steiners could get Susie Steiner to join us (while she’s cooking) now that we are back at 11. My friend Ran from Orlando joined us one Sunday — he probably still counts. Bobbie has had a friend who’s been with us a number of weeks… does that count?
(It’s church, so really, I think everyone counts!)
Friends, we’re Old First; we got something good going. Everyone is welcome. Can you think of someone you could invite on the 13th, to add something to their life, and to make our Gathering Sunday more celebratory?