As March 15 was Trinity’s last in-person worship service, I want to offer four insights to the congregation and how we have adapted (and thrived) in the pandemic.
First, we have found ways to stay connected with one another. Through cards and calls, we have rediscovered the foundational relationships as the church. I hear stories of how people have reached out to one another. In some cases, we did not know the person we called or who called us; nevertheless, the covenant of connection bloomed. In isolation, we have bridged the distance between us.
Second, we have utilized technology for glorious purposes. Trinity’s worship service has been broadcast live on the radio for years. Recently, the local FTC channel started broadcasting our 11AM service a couple of times a week. Since March 22, we have used Facebook live as an online presence; we are now able to put the worship service on the new church website. We have had people from as far away as California and Illinois watching as well as local people who are not connected to Trinity. When this crisis is over, seekers can discover more about Trinity and feel comfortable when they walk through the door. Charles Haraway and Kyle Kelly have been instrumental in leading us in these changes.
Third, we have found other portals to make our offering to God through Trinity UMC. Historically, most of the weekly offering comes through the offering plate on Sunday. Checking account drafts and checks mailed directly have been favored by many church members over the years. Since the church has not met for in-person worship on four Sundays, more members and friends have discovered our online, text, and phone app portals for giving. Although there are fees associated with these methods, they do make giving easier for some. Regardless of how you give, thank you! Trinity is furthering our God-given ministry because of your gifts.
Fourth, the Trinity UMC staff, leadership and congregation have stepped up and shined this spring. Gwen, Kristi, Amanda, Charlie, Earl, Beth and Sherry have worked to make this chaotic time as smooth as possible for the church. Some staff have been “redeployed” to cover immediate concerns the crisis has brought; others worked on backlogged tasks more easily addressed in an empty building. Church committees and officers are attempting to contact active and local church members on a regular basis to stay connected in this crisis. But the people who have thrived best in these trying days are you, the members and friends of Trinity. Your resilient spirit anchored in your faith has been a living testimony; I experience that in the phone calls and emails I have shared with many of you. You are quick to offer help to others in need and to pray for one another in this crisis. Your prayerful support buoys the work of the worship leadership as we work each week in an empty sanctuary. By God’s grace and your loving and abundant response, I believe we will emerge as a stronger congregation on the other side of this tragedy.
I am honored to be your Pastor.
Grace and Peace,