Creating a New Normal for Our Churches and Those Still Struggling in this Turbulent Time
by Tom Sine
As leaders in Episcopal churches know we all seem to slowly be finding our ways back to a new normal in our sanctuaries. For example, Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, here in Seattle, is meeting in the sanctuary again with masks and social distancing to an almost standard worship format. Church of the Apostles, also here in Seattle, has had a very busy spring and is taking the summer off before returning to the sanctuary.
While Episcopal congregations are involved in a similar journey of returning to their sanctuaries, it is essential that people of faith realize many of our neighbors are a long way away from returning to anything like a new normal. Many are still struggling to find work, childcare, if they have work and are dealing with a host of other issues as many of our communities, are now struggling with the troubling new Delta Virus.
There’s been so much hurt over the past year. Spiritually vital congregations find ways to address the longings and losses of the community. How can your church provide comfort? Hold an interfaith liturgy of remembrance for your community. In addition to the pandemic, we are experiencing crises around racial reconciliation. How can your congregation discuss and learn about racial reconciliation? How can you invite the broader community into the conversation?
Think about ways to support teachers and students, helping them make up for lost time and letting them know they are loved and appreciated. Economic need is great. Invite folks to support a food pantry or community vaccine clinic with time, talent, and treasure.
What are the new challenges people in your congregation and your neighborhood are facing as we race into the fall of 2021? What are creative and compassionate ways you and your church can reach out to those that are still struggling with the ongoing challenges of this troubled time?
A co-author with Dwight J. Friesen of 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change