Gabriel's Horn, Pastor Tom, June, 2020

posted Jun 4, 2020, 8:39 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jun 4, 2020, 8:40 AM ]
Dear Church Family,

In recent weeks you have likely been wondering: When will this pandemic come to an end? When will our county move to "yellow" status, or even "green"? When will we be able to come together for worship again?

If you've been wrestling with these questions, you are not alone. Throughout the past few weeks, the Coronavirus Leadership Response Team and I have wrestled with these and other questions while reviewing information, updates, and recommendations from our Conference and government leaders.
No doubt we are all eager to move into the "yellow" stage -- and yet, the procedures and recommendations for congregations in the yellow stage are not "back to normal" or "church as usual."

Our conference recommends that any churches in yellow counties limit gatherings (even Sunday worship) to twenty-five individuals or less, while wearing face masks, observing social distancing guidelines, maintaining aggressive sanitizing procedures, and refraining from congregational singing (which can lead to the spread of COVID-19 even when masks are worn). Obviously, this is not what we prefer or have loved about our Sunday morning gatherings!

Given those recommendations, the C.L.R.T has elected to wait until we in Leola have reached the "green" stage before coming together again for congregational worship.

Why should we wait?

It is our belief that the restrictions and requirements under the conference's "yellow stage" guidelines will actually lead to a worship experience that is less meaningful than the fuller and more vibrant worship we currently offer through online platforms (Facebook and church website).

We may be wrong, of course.  But if we are, we believe we are wrong for the right reasons. We believe that even in these less than ideal circumstances, God is with us.  We remain connected.   If fact, we are growing as we share the “exile” experience we have read over and over in God’s Word.   Our reunion will be ever greater when that day arrives. The C.L.R.T and I also feel a pastoral responsibility.   We are called to serve as shepherds.

A shepherd's first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the flock.

Keep the faith! We will come together again. Until that time, let us continue to reach out to one another, pray for one another, bless one another. Let us continue to be who we've always been: Leola U.M.C.: Sharing the Love!

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,

and be gracious unto you.

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,

and give you peace.


Pastor Tom