Navigating our first Covid impacted Lent was a unique challenge and Call to be innovative. We kicked off Lent with “drive thru Imposition of Ashes”. I greeted members and guests in the parking lots to pray with them and give them a container of ashes with directions of how to make the sign of the cross on their heads or hands using the burnt ashes from Palm Sunday 2019. The day was frigid, so we didn’t spend much time catching up in the parking lot. But all feedback, so far, was positive.
Maundy Thursday was in person in the sanctuary due to unseasonably cold weather in late March. It was a brief, yet meaningful service with individually packaged elements (thanks Deb!) and communal prayer and service of Holy Communion. Good Friday, most of us gathered in solidarity with Maudie Lawson’s family and friends to remember her life and impact at Bath as well as to bear witness to the Life and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then, Easter Sunday was in the parking lot. The weather was gorgeous and there was a small, brown alpaca in attendance (he/she sat way in the back!).
Ethan and Donna are working to update our church website and make it more user friendly due to our increased traffic virtually during Covid. Our worship attendance has grown from around 30 people for inperson worship during the past few years to over 80 people worshipping with us online with our FaceBook Live and website presence. Session likes to point out to me that most of them are my extended family! Still, virtual worship is worth continuing even when we are back together in person and we will be working to find new ways to invite others into our Missions and Fellowship virtually.
The WG has had virtual bazaar’s this year and we have changed Coffee and Donut time each month to online Coffee and Trivia. The Holy Spirit seems to be nudging Bath toward some technology upgrades to reach the most people with our worship, mission and fellowship. Very exciting! I attended the PC (USA)’s Next Church conference online in early March and this seems to be the push and momentum all across the country’s congregations.
Session will meet this Sunday (4/18) and will decide how worship, mission and fellowship will move forward, now that most of us are vaccinated from Covid19, if that is our personal choice. We will update the congregation as soon as decisions are made and if changes need to be made as we navigate these continuing unprecedented times.
In all things, I have no doubt that God is indeed always faithfully doing a new thing at Bath and I am so grateful to be part of the discernment process with you all. I am grateful for our ministerial relationship every day!
In Christ’s Peace, Pastor Emily