You are all in my prayers as navigate these unprecedented times together. At moments, I've struggled to put my own thoughts and feelings into words regarding this situation. A good clergy friend of mine, Doug Forrester, pastors Reveille UMC in Richmond, VA. He couldn't have said it better:
"Once as I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the bay was filled with at least a dozen or so large container ships. What struck me was how each one looked to be just sitting there, stationary, not doing anything. It was strange to see so many apparently doing so little.
Later that evening, I realized what was going on. They were waiting for the tide to change.
This is where we find ourselves as a church: waiting for the tide to change. It sometimes feels like we are doing very little, but in reality, we are doing the most important thing we can: helping our nation and world overcome a global pandemic, and we are doing this by not gathering in person.
Although it looked to me that those container ships were not doing anything, I am certain that inside, they were actually abuzz with sailors taking advantage of their time being still by doing maintenance, making plans, and charting courses."
Likewise, I want you to know that Trinity's staff and lay leadership are utilizing this time of stillness to continue, as best we can, to chart a course for our respective ministries. We are making plans for online worship, creating innovative ways to reach our congregation and community, checking in with our members, and preparing for a future when we can return to normal life as we know it.
In Psalm 46:10, the psalmist writes "Be still and know that I am God." In the midst of these Lenten lands, I pray that God abides with you in this time of stillness, that our waiting may be a time of "holy waiting" where we wait with purpose as our God uses us to heal the world.
A few things you need to know:
-Assume that all activities at the church are canceled indefinitely unless you hear otherwise. PLEASE help spread the word to anyone you think of who might not get this message. Don't assume they know. Call and make sure.
-Yes, this could mean Holy Week and Easter. Jesus is still risen, though! Stay tuned for how we might still celebrate together.
-The church office is still open Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon.
-If you haven't heard, Smithfield now has it's first confirmed case of COVID19. First of all, please PRAY for that individual, their family and those with whom they've been in contact. Secondly, but no less importantly, be smart, calm, and follow all recommended precautions.
-If you need assistance of any kind, please let the church office know by phone call and we will do our best to help or connect you to those who can.
-Stay tuned to our church website, our church Facebook page (LINK) and TMail for updates!
Again, help us spread to word to those not online, and please forward this email to anyone you think might not be receiving TMail yet.
Tune in tomorrow morning to our church Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/trinityumcsmithfield) at 11am for another FB live from me with a message I think you'll find extremely timely and helpful for you and yours as we navigate what's ahead together!