The Covid-19 pandemic has made the possibility of our in-person worship very tenuous at best. Your leaders met on Tuesday evening, July 21, to discuss their thinking about next steps for our worshipping communities.
Each person was given the opportunity to express their hopes and their concerns. In general, the hopes of all were that things could be normal again. Unfortunately, the concerns shared indicated that normal is not possible at this time. While we here in Nebraska have been spared the uptick found in many of the other states, we are not seeing a decline in cases being reported. While consistency is often thought of as good, it would be better if there was a consistent decline in the reported infections.
Therefore, your leaders have decided it is best to not meet in-person for worship through the bulk of August. It was decided to try an outdoor worship on the west lawn of St. Luke’s on the last Sunday of August, August 30, 9 am. The hope was expressed that if there is a decline in reported infections through the month of August, we will be able to begin in-person worship in September.
There is much that will be different when we do return to in-person worship. The CDC guidelines promote that we will need to wear masks, stay appropriately distanced, use hand sanitizer regularly and limit our music to humming or a soloist. The guideline indicates that group singing is highly discouraged.
As we look forward to the outdoor worship on August 30, please note that we ask that those attending bring their own lawn chairs. We will not be bringing any chairs out of the building. We will have a small table for the offering plates. One for each congregation. You will be asked to drop your offering into the appropriate plate. It is likely that we will not share communion on that day.
We ask for your prayers as we continue to discern what is best for our worshipping communities. Please continue to support the ministry of Christ in our midst. Please be safe and know that you are important to God. May God bless our efforts at being church for the sake of the world.
These four people are only the most recent of a long list of individuals, God’s own beloved ones, who have died violently because of their race. Because they were black.
Arguments about the specifics of how each died are simply distractions from the reality of racism and its consequences. Their race contributed directly to their deaths.
As I watch protests in the media I see expressions of grief, rage, frustration, and despair. I also see and hear and feel those same intense expressions as I listen to people I know, to friends, to people I care about, who because of the color of their skin have lived with the reality of racism all their lives. And who are exhausted in their wait for change.
As a white man with a very privileged existence, I can’t pretend to know their experience, their pain, their frustration. I know only that it’s real and I know I cannot ignore it. The time for words alone has passed. It passed a long time ago. Now is the time for honesty and for action.
My honesty is in confessing how ill-equipped I am for such work, how overwhelmed I am when I acknowledge the pain I see in the streets and in the faces of people I care about. My action—my action is to step into the pain, ill-equipped but trusting God will get me, get us, where we need to go.
I don’t know what form that action will take. I am seeking the help of others in determining what it will be, so that it is not yet another half-step that lets us pretend we’ve done something. My commitment is to doing something soon.
In the meantime, I ask for your prayers. Pray for those victimized by racism. Pray for those whose lives and communities are torn by its consequences. Pray for the protestors and the police and for all who strive to stand as one with those who are suffering. Pray by name for the loved ones of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and James Scurlock. And pray that our church seizes this moment to confront the reality of racism, ready for the hard, hard work that that’s going to be.