“Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy.” + Psalm 98:8
“Together.” We used to think we knew just what that word meant, didn’t we? We never used to wonder, most of us, how the definition might be stretched, how important togetherness might become or how clever we’d need to become in order to make it happen.
But my oh my, hasn’t 2020 changed and challenged things? Amid a sea of confusion, fear, and discord, we became desperate for some kind of joy, precisely because we couldn’t turn to most of the ways we knew like being at church for worship or gathering in the homes of our friends. So we stretched, hard. Flexed more than we thought we could. Groaned and reached and complained and expanded and continued to move forward (a lot!). The Vestry called me as your new Dean. Staff and volunteers have learned video production and new skills; Your clergy have stepped into the spotlight with weekly meditations.
And in the end, we were together, weren’t we? When we logged on for Zoom coffee hour and Wednesday night socials, we were together. When we gathered in our homes around laptops and TV’s to worship and organized new online support groups [have you joined the Friends of St. Paul’s Facebook group yet?] to ward off loneliness, we were together. When we gathered our youth together on group messages to keep in touch AND WRAPPED OUR CARS AROUND 3 CITY BLOCKS for a welcome parade just a few short weeks ago, we were together for joy, weren’t we?
Our togetherness may not have happened in the sanctuary or in the Sunday school rooms like we would have regularly, but it happened! And through it all, we were together with God, whose love covers every distance and heals every heart. We have proven that a pandemic cannot keep us apart, only social distant. We will continue to adapt, be creative, and endeavor to find new ways to live into our deeply cherished traditions.
Enclosed you will find a pledge card, a discernment prayer, and a calendar of events for us to gather Together for Joy. As your Dean, I long to come to know you and and hear your stories and I hope you will join, online or in person, the gatherings we have planned for October and November. I hope you will join me and the Stewardship Team in praying the prayer regularly as we discern together our giving for 2021. So much is different; so many circumstances have changed. But here’s what I know: with God’s help, the music we create, in person or in spirit, will be well worth the rejoicing.
See you at one of the Stewardship gathering events!
Dean Churchwell and Robert Dennis, Stewardship Committee Chair
Great One, for you the floods clap, for you the hills sing. You know my situation better than anyone. Take my credits and debits, ins and outs, my pluses and minuses, surpluses and lacks, and show me how to use them to join the great chorus of Creation. Amen