It’s been a very Zoomy day. 4x so far, with one more to go. Put another way, despite physical distancing, it’s been a day of meeting with others to listen, discuss, pray, and plan.
1) This morning was the monthly gathering for faith leaders through the Interfaith Justice Table, organized by Faith in Public Life. I counted 33 participants – more than one 5×5 screen could hold. The bulk of our time was spent discussing “defund the police” efforts. Those who have been working a long time on police reform remarked how much things have shifted in the last several weeks, an open door rather than banging on a closed door. Several pastors commented that they feel our current police chief has no substantive commitment to antiracism, calling for his resignation. Another noted that the FOP, police union, is the major barrier to change. There were impassioned pleases from black participants to not let this opportunity fade.
2) Mid-morning I joined our CMC Covid Response Team which Leadership Team has tasked with doing research and giving recommendations for how to safely open our building during the pandemic. Much of our discussion focused on Sunday morning worship, informed by a 36 page ecumenically-produced document titled “Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic” (attached). Upon reading this, and hearing some analysis about our own building, it appears that in order to follow current social distancing guidelines we would max out at about 50 people in our sanctuary at a time. After beginning to consider all the logistics to do this well it became more and more clear that investing time and efforts into doing in-person worship under these circumstances will not yield proportional benefits for some time to come. Sighhhhh.
3) Noon was the weekly small group I’ve been helping facilitate based on Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations emails. This week Rohr is writing about cosmology – a convergence of science and faith that sees the pattern of birth, death, and resurrection in all things (including stars, life-systems, Jesus, and ourselves), and invites participation in this unfolding of Christ among us. The material was a bit headier than usual, but we shared how important this perspective can be for us. Our smallness in the grand scheme can serve to lower our fears and anxieties in the moment, someone commented. The wonder of all this starting from a singular point billions of years ago deepens our sense of awe in the mystery of all this, another commented. We ended, as we always do, with prayer for our world and those dear to us.
4) Early afternoon was a discussion with Adult Christian Ed leaders about how to go about this work. We sense a convergence between the purpose of adult ed and small groups, and a rising importance for how these groups can keep us in meaningful relationship while physically distanced. Although this small leadership group didn’t initially sign up to help form something that might be so central to congregational life, we started naming some of the possibilities of weekly virtual groups gathering around themes that could range from personality inventory to Bible study to storytelling to antiracist parenting to sermon discussion. For starters we look forward to tracking the worship theme of Parables in July and early August, offering multiple groups on Sunday mornings for discussing the parable of the day and sermon content.
With good hopes and appreciation for our common life,