April 1, 2020

Dear Church Family,

This is yet another note of profound gratitude. As Holy Week approaches, I assumed I would be feeling the loss of Palm Sunday, and Tenebrae, and Good Friday, and Easter as we are accustomed to celebrating them. Only days away from our holiest season of the year, gratitude, and even a degree of joy fill my spirit. While there are times when communal life on Zoom can be trying and limiting, it also can bring remarkably gifts and allows us to remain connected and committed as a community. This morning I had the delight of regathering with our Wednesday Morning Bible Study. This robust gathering included church members from Texas, Long Island, Maine, and the U.K. what a gift it was to connect with beloved family members we hadn’t seen in quite some time. Later, in our Zoom staff meeting, I learned of all the creative and proactive work our staff team is engaged in, many already planning for our next program year!

Jody resumed her Wednesday Musical Moments today, and our Children’s Choirs are working on songs this afternoon they plan to teach their families during Sunday Sabbath Dinner. Our youth find there regular YG and MSYG gatherings online are providing interpersonal group connections for which our kids are hungering. We are also preparing to create a Church Family Video Scrapbook – more details to come on how you can participate later this week.

What is most remarkable is the support and encouragement you continue to offer us.  You all have been so complimentary regarding our efforts at this time.  You are continuing to make your financial gifts and offerings to the church faithfully.  You have sent emails and texts and letters of thanks for the calls, programming, and worship we have been offering.

Additionally, every interaction I have with you all – in Bible study, in team meetings, in small groups, or brief encounters on the sidewalk – your mood has been appropriately serious with the gravity of this situation. Still, also you have been buoyant and hopeful and cheerful. In short, I feel like our congregation is truly acting like a gathering of Christians. From my vantage point, you are greeting challenges as opportunities, you are confronting fear with faith, and you are dealing with isolation with a generosity of spirit.  AND you always, always, always are asking what you can do to be helpful and of service to others!

Gratitude and joy, dear church family!  In a season when it feels as if we have lost much, I feel so full, your faithfulness and steadfast devotion are awesome to witness, and I know it is deeply pleasing to the Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Chapin