Next Steps

Blog Post byCraig in Alaska
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery Leader
choward@glpby.org


Since Friday, March 13 when the presbytery strongly suggested congregations no longer meet in their buildings, the presbytery and its members have been traveling a road no one asked to be on. A journey that began with significant disruption has been transformed. We have learned to connect with one another as well as support and encourage each other as never before. Congregations have become innovative, creative, and bold in their efforts to worship and remain connectional. Talent has come forward to lead, and churches have been reminded that God supplies the church with the resources that it needs.

The pandemic we are experiencing is not a sprint of a few months but a run of possibly several years. And we are at the beginning. Yet, we are already seeing patterns of adaptive and creative leadership that will guide us through to the end. God is our sustainer and strength. God is our provider and keeper. What we are experiencing is God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Our next step is to look forward to reopening our congregations. This is not an aspiration but a reality. Reopening will not be like flipping a light switch from off to on. Instead it will be more like a dial, which we gradually turn as we move forward. The pace of our reopening is created by the virus. We all desire to come back together and be reunited as soon as possible, but at all times, we must listen to our political leaders in balance with our scientists and experts. This may mean that sometimes we have to turn the dial back a notch. Whatever we are challenged to do, we know our God is is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.

I am strongly suggesting that each session meet within the next two weeks to discuss the document, “Questions to Consider Before Reopening.(found here) I am asking each session to create a plan for reopening. This document should include a future date in which the church will reopen or decide to reevaluate their status. Several congregations have already taken this step. Some have decided to see where things are in the middle of May. Others have decided to wait until June to reopen if it is safe. Remember, reopening should be done in phases and not all at once. Whatever decision a session makes should be communicated to the congregation.

The presbytery will continue to provide information and resources on the website. The content is constantly changing, so check back often. It is a blessing to be in Giddings-Lovejoy during this time. As we move forward together, I encourage you with the words of the Apostle Paul,

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 2:16 – 18.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

2 Responses to “Next Steps”

  1. Diane McCullough on

    Craig, Thank you again for your guidance in looking to the future for our congregations. The “Questions Your Church Should Answer…” document, though exhaustive, will be a major help for those of us on session at our churches as we make these upcoming decisions. Stay safe and well. Peace, Grace and Equal Justice for All God’s Children,
    Diane

    Reply
  2. Susan R Andrews on

    Thanks, Craig. The Session of Ladue Chapel will be considering a Next Steps document at our meeting next week. With staff input, Dieter Heinzl is creating a “blueprint” of gradual opening, with physical safety at every step – always respecting the guidance of our local political leaders.. Thanks for reminding us that God always gives us the resources and the spiritual strength that we need.

    Reply

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