Yep. On the 15th of March, we will celebrate the first anniversary of our first Livestream worship broadcast. There were still a few people in the house that morning for a single service at 9:30 am. But by the next Sunday, it was just a small collection of worship leaders. Worship went totally virtual.
Over the next week or so, there were additional online opportunities taking the place of our “normal” programming. Morning Devotions appeared at 8:00 am Monday-Friday…a Facebook Live gathering that continues to this day. Prayers for All People began on Tuesday afternoon. DLM shifted from a shopping event to a delivery service so that our client families could still be cared for. A variety of studies started happening online, too, as well as a spiritual wellness check-in every Friday. There was and still is a bedtime story and prayer time…now every Sunday night at 7:00 pm…while ministry teams, committees, and the Congregation Council discovered a Zoom way of meeting. A lot of folks…both staff and volunteers…put (and continue to invest) a great deal of time and effort and creativity into pivoting Holy Trinity into a whole new reality for ministry.
And here we are…one year in and still learning, growing, trying new things, and reaching well beyond our walls by digital means so that we might continue to bring Jesus to all people through love and the Word of God. What a grand opportunity we have been given. Who could have imagined it?
It was my privilege to speak recently with a newcomer to our community. He happens to live in Maine, but attends worship online each week, offers prayer concerns, prays for us here in Akron, and even regularly sends a check in order to help support what’s going on here. Even remotely, he has found a community where faith is active in love, and he has been blessed by it. Thanks be to God.
We try our best to peer into the future and imagine what might be coming next. How soon will the Covid restrictions be lifted? When will we be able to safely gather again…praying and speaking and singing together? What will normal look like even after the doors are open wide? How will we continue to minister with and to folks from all across the country? How has our congregation been forever altered by the pandemic experience, and what will that mean for us? I wish I had answers.
What I do have is confidence. Together we will get our priorities sorted out and our plans made so that the mission can faithfully continue. Even more important, however, is the context for that sorting and planning: the future that God already has in store for us…one that is visible by means of cross and resurrection where redemption and grace and joy are the consequence of divine and unrelenting love.
You know the prayer: Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. That works…no matter what comes next. †