05-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: You’re all amazing. Let me say that right up front. The ways you’ve all been living into this moment in your homes, churches, work lives, and personal lives have not been easy but you’re pulling it off. The days to come are going to be a challenge, too, but the fact we’ve done this well this long speaks to the faith, creativity, and support we’ll be able to draw on to make it through. The actions you’ve already taken have saved lives. I know these days are not easy ones and I’m missing sharing in-person worship … Continue reading 05-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

05-4-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: I’ve just finished reading this week’s lectionary reading from John and am drawn towards 14:15.“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The gift and challenge of this pandemic season is that, sometimes, it’s like a mirror I’m staring into. I’m not talking about a quick glance to see if everything’s in place. I’m talking about looking at every wrinkle or spot. I’m talking about noticing the differences between the memory of my face and the face that’s in front of me and what that face says about me. It’s that observation of the room … Continue reading 05-4-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

04-29-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: The reading from Psalm 23 always brings me back to the basement of Church of the Cross United Methodist Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. My Dad was the pastor there and the Sunday School teacher was, for some reason I don’t remember, trying to help me memorize this verse. Almost all the time the church used the Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible but, for this, the King James Bible was pulled out and I remember feeling a bit annoyed. It didn’t really make sense to me with the weird “eth” sounds at the end … Continue reading 04-29-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

4-16-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. This is going to be my longest email to you about this pandemic season, yet, but it needs to be. It addresses one of the questions I’ve been hearing a lot lately, “When will be it OK for us to gather, again?” The time after the resurrection was a fraught one. The disciples were hiding in this room or that unsure if the murder of Jesus was the end of something or the start of something. They didn’t … Continue reading 4-16-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Worship Liturgy for 4-19-2020

Consider this an open-source liturgy! Use as much or as little as you’d like based on your form of worship these days. Feel free to change it in any way that suits your context and practices. One important note, all the hymns are suggested here are ones from the New Century Hymnal. Your use of them will depend on your church’s copywrite privileges. Call to Worship One: Take a deep breath, then let it slowly.  All: (Inhale, exhale) One: Take another deep breath, then let that out slowly. All: (Inhale, exhale) One: The days after the death and resurrection were … Continue reading Worship Liturgy for 4-19-2020

04-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Take another deep breath, then let that one out slowly, too. In every season of significant grieving or change, there is always that year of firsts. The first Christmas without a loved one. The first spring in a new community.The first trip with a newborn. The first day month of retirement. The days move on, regardless, but we experience them differently. All the regular subtlety of letting go and experiencing newness falls to a new clarity that has very little subtlety, at all. This Holy Week is … Continue reading 04-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

4-2-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Part of what I like about Palm Sunday is that it’s just a little ridiculous. It was meant to be. This was protest theater by Jesus of Nazareth that intentionally flew in the face of those messianic-like heroes of war that came into town on huge war-horses to throngs of cheering thousands. This moment was full of common people throwing common things into the road to make way for a teacher who was riding a common donkey to overthrow the common order. Jerusalem was in an uproar about this weird protest march heading towards the center … Continue reading 4-2-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

As morning breaks…

Dear Siblings in Christ:As this morning breaks, I’m thinking about all of you. We have all had to learn so much over the last few weeks to adapt to this pandemic season and we’ll learn more about worshipping together and being apart from each other this Sunday morning, too. Bill Grace worked with our conference in my early days here and he’s become a good friend. In his and Patricia Hughes’ book, Gracious Space they talk about the idea of “learning in public.” Essentially, this idea recognizes that there are somethings that we can only learn when we’re together so, in those … Continue reading As morning breaks…

3-25-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Today at noon, is our weekly call about pastoral care in this strange moment (you can join using this information: Click on this link – https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/8278690536 or call 773-231-9226 and use Meeting ID: 827 869 0536). Since our very first conversation, those who gathered recognized that this period of social distancing would be hard for everyone at points and be particularly hard for those already facing a sense of isolation. Many churches and church members have begun to put together systems to reach out to those members of their congregation and community who might otherwise be … Continue reading 3-25-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update