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May 31:

From Pastor Andy

where are we? Cautiously emerging.

There’s a lot of talk about “opening up” again. I’m sure there’s a lot of questions about when CLC will begin to “open up.” In short, it’ll be a long time, I think. Even the words “opening up” don’t seem quite right.

I think what we’re doing right now as a culture is slowly emerging and watching very closely to what happens with daily tracking numbers. The Wisconsin Council of Churches has put together a detailed document about how we begin to emerge in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It’s the best I’ve seen so far. You can read it here. It lays out 3 phases to emerging. We are now at the “phase 1” level. What does this mean for how we live our lives, and our life together at CLC?

It means that we are able to leave our homes for a few more things. We might be able to gather cautiously with extended family, if we feel safe doing so. At church it may mean that some small leadership meetings have the option of happening in person if they involve fewer than 10 people able to be distanced at least 6 feet apart. Bible studies and small groups should continue to meet virtually. Outdoor meeting options, which involve social distancing, are probably the safest ideas for this time.

Singing is not recommended. Pew bibles and pew hymnals are unsafe. Handouts and bulletins are discouraged. Much cleaning is necessary. Spaces need to have plentiful airflow and circulation. It’s tough to think about but we likely won’t be singing together or even a lot of unison speaking again in worship until there’s a widely-available vaccine to protect against the virus.

But, there’s definite room for some creative community-building in the months ahead. We talked about a puzzle exchange during zoom coffee hour on Sunday. Look for information about that coming up.

Our long slog through and emerging from this Pandemic is something we would never have imagined just a couple months ago. Yet here we are. The good news is, the Bible speaks good news clearly into our situation.

Think of the story of Noah’s ark. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. We all remember that. But then what? They sent the dove out day after day. For a long time, the dove returned with nothing. Until it brought back an olive branch, and they knew that dry land was emerging. And then, it was still a long time until the water fully receded. God gives us the strength and endurance to get through this.

There’s a lot of good places to go for more information. If you’d like to read a document from the ELCA on reopening, there’s one here. This website from our very own University of Minnesota is a very good place for more information as well. We’re all in this together, and we will get through this!

The CLC Tree

The trunk of the tree is the cross, the pillar of the church.
The differently colored leaves mean that ALL are welcome here and their placement says that we reach out to everyone.
The top three leaves represent the Holy Trinity.
The roots are strong  and supportive, but also moving outward to nurture and grow.