Wondering What the New Normal Will Be
As the weather grows warmer, I've noticed that the neighborhood has become more energized by the arrival of Spring. At the same time, as the Governor allows the state to re-open in small stages, we perhaps feel heartened by the news of some return to normalcy.
At St. Paul's we've begun to wonder what the new normal will look like even as we have adapted quickly by offering on-line worship and formation classes beginning in mid-March. The response has been wonderful with nearly 1,200 views of our worship and videos on Youtube during April alone. These numbers do not include our equally well-attended twice weekly Evening Prayer, Bible Study, Adult and Children Sunday classes or Virtual coffee hours. Clearly we as a parish have quickly responded to this change. We experience our faith and our community in ways that even a few months ago would not have been imaginable. I believe we have been nourished and supported in new ways as we seek God's presence in our hearts.
Our ability to adapt to change will continue to be necessary as we explore in the months ahead what it means to be church in the age of pandemic.I participate weekly in a bishop's meeting to learn about ideas and suggestions from other Connecticut churches. I'm also in contact with clergy here in Town and in other places to share ideas for best practices. The wardens and I have formed a Re-opening Team to help us consider how and when we may begin to welcome people back to the church for worship, programs and meetings. Holden Sibley and I will be joined on the team by Nancy Cooper, Jonathan Wells and Skip Parker. Our top priority will be the safety and well-being of all people, but particularly the most vulnerable. In the weeks ahead, we will keep you apprised of our efforts.
Jesus says in Matthew 9:17 "Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." In this passage, Jesus reminded his followers that the old ways of being needed to be re-imagined to reflect a new reality, namely the arrival of Jesus into the world. Today we are called to re-imagine our lives together with new purpose and possibility. I'm excited to see and learn how God is calling us into this new reality, while recognizing the wonderful, deep traditions which have made St. Paul's a faithful and loving congregation for countless generations of people.
With Eastertide blessings,