Update from Rev. Chris Henry - September 4, 2020
Hello Second Family,
This week, I celebrated a birthday. As has been true for all celebrations since March, it was different this year. But welcoming a new year always offers the invitation to reflect and the opportunity to look ahead. In reflecting on what has been, my mind turned again to the deep and abiding faith that has held this congregation together. For the last six months, though separated out of care for one another’s safety and health, you have embraced anew the call to be the church, to keep growing as a welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives. In my looking ahead, I was filled with hope, anticipation, and wonder for all the ways we will build on God’s work among us since March 15.
Indeed, we have been holding faith, together. And, as a united community of hope, we journey faithfully into a new chapter—the opportunity to begin, again.
Steadfast in our call and renewed in our faith as disciples of Jesus Christ, we’re going to look at September as the on-ramp to a new beginning, culminating with the opportunity for in-person worship.
Here are the details:
- Beginning next Thursday – September 10 – we will introduce “Sacred Spaces at Second.” In three holy spaces at Second – the sanctuary, a guided prayer walk across our 20+ acres of beautiful grounds, and the labyrinth – we invite you to come and visit during the week. These Sacred Spaces at Second will provide time for your own personal prayer and reflection. We have all been on a journey together, but the path has been different for each of us. These spaces are intended to serve you, to anchor you, to strengthen you. Your staff team has crafted resources with scripture and devotions to chart your course along the grounds, to guide your prayer in the sanctuary, to lead your feet through the labyrinth. For all three spaces, you will be asked to register online, to wear a mask, and to maintain social distance. We will share all specifics, including how and where to register, in next week’s Monday Memo (look for this on Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday).
- Rev. Mike Samson, our new associate pastor of engagement, will officially join the staff of Second on Sunday, September 13 – a wonderful addition in a hopeful moment! For the families and elders who participated in last weekend’s parking lot Confirmation ceremony or our Bible parade and celebration for first graders – these are examples of the intentional ways we will seek engagement with one another in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for more opportunities like this at Second while we have beautiful fall weather!
- Beginning Sunday, September 27 – we are planning for in-person worship at 11:00 a.m. Mindful of ever-changing conditions and circumstances beyond our control that could necessitate change, our intent is to offer this new way of gathering of Sunday, September 27. With thoughtful restrictions and clear direction – honoring our commitment to our collective health and the guidelines from the medical community – we believe we can faithfully live our call to care for all and proceed into this next chapter with hope and expectation. We will continue to worship at 11:00 – preserving the unity of togetherness during worship for those joining online and in person and enabling us to ensure safety as we return to an in-person worship option. Online registration, masks, and social distancing will be required for in-person worship. There will be capacity restrictions and other important guidelines to follow. We will have controlled traffic flow only through the sanctuary doors, with welcoming faces from Second ready to greet and direct you. We will share all details, provide instructional how-to videos on registration and on-site arrival, helpful Q&As, and more over the coming weeks. At this time, we do not plan to offer childcare or Sunday School for in-person worship. We will also continue our 11:00 online worship broadcast. That will always be available to you.
- Until the 27th, worship will remain online only. We have no other in-building updates at this time. Stay tuned for more on that front.
Holding fast to the promises of faith has been part of this congregation’s story since the beginning. As followers of Jesus Christ, rooted in God’s faithful providence, we stand firm on generations of new beginnings and a commitment to renewal in every age. In a time of unexpected challenge and opportunity, we have been equipped and called forward in faith. Sunday morning services have offered hope and sustenance, the stirring beauty of music and the power of God’s word, to a growing congregation of online worshippers. Connections have been deepening within existing small groups, and new ones have been formed. Our faith has been stretched and grown through opportunities to engage in meaningful study, important conversation, and impactful mission. Our call as a welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives has never been clearer. This is being the church. This is our work.
In the weeks ahead, we will prepare for this new chapter with energy, enthusiasm, faith, and hope. We will pray for the wisdom to use what we have learned in these months to shape our future. We will, of course, stay in close communication and answer your questions leading up to the dates above. We are hopeful, and we are busy with the details to ensure clarity, safety, and a welcoming environment for all. Together, we will look ahead to where God is calling Second Presbyterian Church, and with faithful and discerning hearts, we will walk forward together.
I give thanks to God for the deep compassion, grace, and faith you have displayed. I remain hopeful, assured by God’s promise to walk with us in all the days yet to come.
Much more to follow.
With peace and grace,
A welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives