This letter found its way to Pastor Rob through his friends and colleagues in the San Francisco Presbytery. It has ideas that are well worth considering.
Beloved Sisters and Brothers:
Instead of Re-opening, perhaps we should see this moment as one of Re-starting.
Not just returning to our church life, but reconnecting with our community, those already in our congregation, and those in our neighborhood who have also been living in forced isolation.
Not just resuming our worship but renewing our purpose.
Not just reentering our buildings but reexamining all that we might do with what God has placed in our hands.
Over the years there have been many efforts made in looking at renewing the vitality in our churches. The one that we often called “restarting” involved the rather drastic step of physically moving out of the building for a time, so that the congregation could come back to begin to see with new clarity, and with new intentionality, whatever God had laid it upon their hearts to do. And the time apart from their buildings was meant to be a way to break the familiarity of weekly worship and community life at that one place so that everyone could get a renewed perspective on why they were there at all. Only a few congregations choose that radical step.
Several recent and past politicians and business leaders including, reportedly, Winston Churchill, are credited with saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.
As the world, our families, our schools, our businesses, our communities, and even our churches are slowly starting to recover from the devastation of COVID, perhaps we should embrace that same spirit of this crisis.
I wonder if we have all, quite unwillingly, taken the first step of a “restart”. If so, then we do not want to waste this transformational opportunity simply because we did not see it for what it really was. We may have already taken the hardest step in leaving for a while.
~Your Presbytery Leadership Team