As much as the pandemic has changed all your lives, my life and work schedule have changed significantly too. Pre covid, my week was full of sermon prep, Sunday school prep, in-person committee meetings of the church and of the Presbytery, pastoral care visits to homes, hospitals and nursing homes, worship planning and lots of communication through phone, texts and emails.
Now, sermon prep still happens, but so does ensuring we have a camera to livestream and record to send CDs out to members who do not have internet access. All meetings have switched to Zoom, WebEx or conference calls.
And all pastoral care has switched to phone and social me dia correspondences, since face-to-face is no longer a safe option. Worship planning is now coordinating with the musician and lay leader for how worship will flow on camera and who is in charge of technical issues that week.
A lot more attention has been placed on our church website, getting the new newsletter up and running creating bulletins that are meaningful worship aides since we no longer gather in our sanctuary space.
Ensuring that our Missions have continued and finding new missions that are relevant to our community and our special circumstances in history have been a priority as well.
Finding new ways to celebrate Advent and Christmas were unique challenges and upcoming Lenten worship will be so as well.
Thankfully, all pastors are in my same position so sharing resources and ideas has been easy to participate in with my colleagues. I certainly have not undertaken any of these challenges alone. I’m so appreciative for my ministry colleagues here at Bath!
The volunteer office staff of Deb and Val have been invaluable. Deb, and then Janet as Mission committee chairs have partnered with me every step of the way in ensuring that minis try in the community remains our focus and we do not hunker down as a church and just focus on our own survival.
Clerk of Session, Ethan, is my partner in ministry for sure. He keeps me straight on polity, policy and deadlines. Dan Geis has kept our building clean and safe. Pam Byrd keeps us updated with the sign board changes. Susan keeps our grounds beautiful.
Larry painted the basement walls while the church building was empty.
Verna keeps Bath connected with Greene county schools and FISH. Mabel keeps Bath connected with Presbyterian Women and many mission agencies in the Dayton metro.
The worship musicians, J.O and Brad (and special guests Jack Keeton and Monica Johnson) make online worship possible and meaningful. Deb has continued children’s Christian education even during lock down with online education and now we have come back in person with masks and social distancing.
Norma is our unofficial Deacon, always visiting shut-ins and using phone calls to keep up with members who cannot stay connected as easily. Susan, Janet, Sharon and Deb have been lay leaders through most of this pandemic, agreeing to come into the sanctuary, attempt to worship with a mask on and be on camera; no easy task!
Pam Byrd and Susan continue to count and deposit money after each service. Ethan, JO and Pam have kept our church finances afloat during this uncertain time. Donna is re-creating the congregational care committee to help me with pastoral care and ensuring all our members feel included and cared for.
I almost didn’t name names, because I’m sure there is so much being done behind the scenes that I am not even aware of...so, thank you...everyone! All together, I believe that Bath church has not only survived, but thrived during this unprecedented time. I encourage everyone to use this newsletter as a way to keep up with one another and the work of Bath Church more than ever before. Send us your input, give us your feedback.
Partner as we live out our Mission: Connecting through Christ’s love, Growing in God’s grace and Serving where the Spirit calls.
Christ’s Peace, Pastor Emily