As of yesterday, our Zion families are in completely in “staycation” mode in our homes until at least midnight April 10. I am not sure what these times will bring, but we have canceled “at-the-church” services until at least May 9. The church office may have limited hours starting the week of April 12, but that depends on how fast COVID-19 spreads.
There is a Holden evening service from last Wednesday on YouTube, Facebook, and our website. Another will be posted this week. At this time, there is also today’s Sunday service for all to enjoy and even participate in. We have recorded Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, most of Easter Service and they will be put online at the appropriate time, including children’s sermons. They are about 20-30 minutes in length. We talked at Council about putting on a “take-out” Palm Sunday Breakfast, but decided to do it in person, instead, when all this is over.
My intention is to meet with a small group on Wednesdays to record, have weekly services posted until the time when we can meet in person again, however long that may be. The governor has allowed such gatherings to record, even in the next two weeks, as long as they are 10 or less people and we only record and get home. Many thanks to April Lindstrom, Chris and Andy Nelson, and Jeremy Mikla for recording the services in two massive sessions on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Thanks to Karen Edmison for all the communications with all of you.
Even more thanks to Jeremy for many more hours work after the sessions. He pieced together the recorded portions of the services and add such enhancements as additional music, words on the screen for liturgy, and moving hymnbook pages. With his efforts, the services look professional, and are infinitely easier to watch and participate in.
It was a strange, almost dreamlike experience this morning to watch myself and the others in the service for today. It is a rarity for me to worship side-by-side with Erika, and never before have I been in two places at once, both leading and in the virtual congregation. It’s normal for pastors and actors when watching a recording to spend more time evaluating the “performance” rather than worshiping. But as a result of Jeremy’s work especially, I found myself in a spiritual, rather than critical mood. It FELT like worship.
People are wondering what I will do with my time since I can’t visit folks or go to the church. This week, it was putting together 7 services in 3 days including sermons (three with children’s sermons) before I was certain we could meet to record only during “shelter-at-home” time. I also called many of you and stayed in touch, so that it didn’t feel like you were cut adrift. I will continue to call, email, and perhaps do some devotions. I will continue to write sermons, and could write my sermons for the next 2-3 months if I have time after communication and services. I will continue to plan as the COVID-19 situation evolves. That way I can spend much more face-to-face time with folks, and in the community time when all this sheltering is done.
Please feel free to call me to express concerns and problems! I want to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org and 507-269-9079.
Keep the Faith! Pastor Glen