Love Everyone, always
June 3, 2021 (Year One, Month 2, Week 3, Day 3)
Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.
(1 Peter 4: 1-2, 19 MSG)
(Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, p. 6)
The passage from Scripture cited above, reminds us that life doesn’t always roll out the way we expect. It encourages us to be patient, and mindful that God is in control.
This is a message I have tried to share with our staff this week, as we are in the throes of re-opening. We have had a variety of reactions to the way things went…. We’ve become accustomed to the ways in which things have worked for us in the past year and a half. We started off stumbling, no doubt about it. You will remember, the battery on Deacon Mindy’s phone dying in the midst of our 2020 Palm Sunday service (for you, that may have simply been us disappearing for a moment). There were times where sound disappeared inexplicably, or even when the image broadcast (mostly mine) was sideways or upside down. Sound quality and visual quality was in the beginning, a challenge, to say the least. But we persevered, and as we are emerging from pandemic-style “worship,” we are seeking once again to be relevant and to do the best we can to proclaim a message of grace in Christ Jesus, so that the gospel of love becomes the heart of everything we do as a community, and most especially, so that living love, and learning to love better becomes the center of everything everyone of our members does.
It will, however, be a time of transition again. (Thus, the Douglas Adams quote above.) We don’t need to panic. There will be foibles and errors and mistakes, and adjustments and changes, as we seek to discover what will eventually become our worship style and Christian life focus. Pretty much nobody I know likes change, but changes are inevitable and necessary, and often lead to newness of life and revitalization of the community.
I want to express a couple of things here in this regard:
1) I am exceedingly proud of our staff, most especially, but certainly our volunteers. The adjustments and changes that were foisted upon us by the pandemic, were managed intelligently, skillfully and with grace. There were mistakes and glitches from time to time, to be sure. But to a person, they did an impressively excellent job. We have been short-staffed, and for some, forced to work from home. And the job got done, and done well!!!! The behind the scenes planning and organization is invisible in a general way, but my hope is that folks will see the fruits of the labors of so very many people (staff and volunteers) in how things developed. For example, the majority of us cannot know the trials of putting together musical pieces, when the individual instruments and the individual voices are in rooms all over the country and recorded on all manner of devices with varying degrees of finesse. Despite the limitations inherent in the task, for all of these reasons, the results have been nothing short of extraordinary. No, it is decidedly not like singing together in the sanctuary in joyful praise, but it is joyful praise nonetheless. To our musicians and technicians I am grateful.
2) Providing pastoral care to our members and friends has been exceedingly difficult. Our Ministry staff, the Stephen Ministers, the Vicars and Incarnation Friends have all stepped up to improve and enhance what we can do. Learning to offer counseling by Zoom or FaceTime was a new thing, but now a pretty “normal” thing, which we’ll likely continue into the future. Regular phone calls, visits when safe to do so, collection of food and clothing items, and monetary donations, were all ways in which your church reached out to the community, both inwardly and outwardly, serving God in serving one another….in the face of a global pandemic. Quite literally, Incarnation collected and distributed tons of food during the course of the pandemic.
For all of these saints, I am so very thankful, and of them, I am exceedingly proud! And if you have occasion, please do remember to thank your church staff and volunteers! They deserve it.
As we move into another phase of transition, we need to remember: “Don’t Panic.” For some, the changes are uncomfortable and make them upset. That is normal and to be expected, so I’ve encouraged the staff to be strong. There have been a few criticisms and negativity, but together, we’ll get through all of this. The changes that are being made and the transitions that are taking effect, have all been very carefully thought out, and well planned. If adjustments are necessary, they will be made. But in the end, we will be an unselfish community of faith, seeking to serve, because we can and we must. We are a joyful family of faith, intent to worship and praise God, because God invites us. We are God’s people in this place, and we are going to do everything in our power, to ensure that every living, breathing child of God is excited to see that they really are welcome among us!
Please check our website for the most up to date information on how to register for worship and to know what the current protocols are. These are designed to reflect CDC guidelines (best health practices) as well as conformity to state and county guidelines. We believe they will be increasingly softened in the days and weeks to come, but for the time being, we will do the very best to keep everyone, especially our children who’ve not yet been vaccinated, as safe as we can. The sign up link is already up on our website, so please sign up now! Please check the “Guidelines” provided for us by our church council on our website, at https://www.godamong.us/post/ilc-re-opening .
I am excited to be getting back together again in person, even if a bit haltingly at the start. It is so very good to see you, and I hope and pray that we’ll all see each other soon! We’re planning some celebrations marking our getting together, so keep alert: They’ll be a “We’re Back!” celebration sometime soon!
Peace and Grace,
Spirit of Joy Work Day:
On Saturday, June 12th, 2021, 9 a.m., the Spirit of Joy will be doing some deep cleaning, touch-up painting, window cleaning, and other small projects. Volunteers are needed. For more info, please reach out to Pastor John Lundblad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Sacred Ground Dialogue Series with St. Bart's":
"ILC is excited to announce that we will be joining our neighbor St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal when they begin their second series of the Sacred Ground program. Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. This series is open to all, and especially designed to help white people talk with other white people. Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love. The facilitated 2-hour sessions will run every other week from late June to early November. One-hour Informational Sessions will be conducted via Zoom on Thursday, June 10th at 11 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, June 15 at 11:00 a.m. The Love Committee will send out the Zoom Meeting IDs. For more information, contact: email@example.com"
A Message from Dr. Brent Brown
Our Council President would like to stress,
"Please look into getting the vaccine as soon as possible if safe for you to do so. The faster we all get vaccines safely the faster we can have more people in church."
Training Update: Please keep our Stephen Leaders and our Stephen Minister trainees in your prayers as they near the end of the 50 hours of initial training. Here is the training topic for this week - “Supervision: A Key to Quality Christian Care (Part 2). This is the second of two sessions on Stephen Ministry Small Group Peer Supervision, in which Stephen Ministers provide support, encouragement and accountability to one another in their ministry. Supervision ensures that Stephen Ministers provide the best care possible, yet is done in a way that keeps the identity of the care receiver and the details of his or her situation confidential. If you are going through a particularly difficult period and would like to pursue the idea of meeting with a Stephen Minister on a regular basis, please call Deacon Mindy or one of the Pastors.
Hygiene Supplies Needed! Interfaith is low on hygiene supplies, shampoo, deodorant, bar soap. There is also a need for new or gently used blankets. Thank you for your consistent generosity!
Food Drop off for Interfaith Community Services Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday between 9:00 and 11:00 in the morning, volunteers are in the parking lot to move groceries and take all the donations to ICS.