April 13, 2020
Easter Sunday afternoon a pastor friend of mine in Arizona posted on Facebook, “Here’s to the hardest Holy Week ever. Jesus is raised but I have collapsed.” As I participated in so many of the creative and inspiring worship services you have been offering over the past week, I am in awe of how hard you have worked to provide deeply meaningful worship and connection in this holy season. Just like that you’ve become televangelists!
But now, friends, I believe it is time to push the pause button (musicians, pastors, worship leaders, tech folk, I am especially talking to you.) Not the stop button, just the pause button. Take some time to recognize and appreciate how hard you have worked. And find ways to rest. The pace of this past week/season is not sustainable and I think we’re entering the time when we need to be considering how we sustain both our ministries and ourselves for the long haul in order to be true to our mission. To that end, the Board of Pensions is offering a webinar on resilience. It’s an hour long and you can download and watch it at any time. Here’s the link:
The stress of this virus is a real thing involving grief, anxiety, fear. It can take its toll and can show up in a variety of ways – withdrawal, irritability, sleeplessness, sleeping too much, substance abuse, prolonged weepiness. Place on top of that the stress of providing worship in the high holy days of the year while social distancing and, well, you need a break. I encourage, yea urge you, to take at least part of this week to receive the resurrection life to which you gave such powerful testimony on Sunday. We can talk about how it went when we gather for our standing presbytery gathering at 4:00pm on Thursday. The Zoom link is: https://zoom.us/j/201809351
In other news, for all you preachers and people who love to hear good preaching this year’s Festival of Homiletics is being offered online and is free of charge! This Festival brings together highly acclaimed preachers for several days of preaching and teaching about preaching. Here’s the link: https://www.festivalofhomiletics.com/?fbclid=IwAR1yCJXUqclvyjtcl7G1itMR2414OSDL0ENpXJtCehmwksIwY6Gi0X6Aorg
The Board of Pensions in conjunction with the Presbyterian Foundation has created a comprehensive guide to recent legislation to ease the financial burden of the pandemic. It may be that your congregation would like to take advantage of these opportunities. In particular, I encourage churches to apply for the Paycheck Protection Plan where you can apply for a loan for up to 2 and a half month’s worth of payroll and if, at the end of June you have the same number of employees as you do now, the loan is forgiven. It’s worth looking into for your church. Anyway, here’s the comprehensive guide: https://www.presbyterianfoundation.org/information-and-resources-on-covid-19/
Finally, if your church suffered damage related to yesterday’s fierce storm, PDA (Presbyterian Disaster Assistance) has a variety of grants to help recover. Give me a call if you did as it’s the mid council who initiates the grant.
As always, friends, you are in my prayers as you so faithfully seek to live out your baptismal calling. Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!