Holy Cow! It’s August and that means the back-to-school ads are starting and Target has a school supply section set up in the back of the store. I hope that you are enjoying a time of rest and refreshment knowing that the Fall will be here shortly. The church has typically taken June, July, and August as a down time, and I am thankful for that change in schedule. I am getting excited about September and a return to a more normal routine in my life and in the life of the church.
As I have talked to clergy friends and colleagues over the past several months, everyone mentions that about 30 percent of members have not reengaged back into the church following the pandemic season. I am hopeful that this Fall, we will return to a more regular schedule of worship, Sunday school, task force meetings, community dinner, Bible studies and service opportunities. It finally feels like we are emerging from the Covid season.
My sister, Emily, works in communication and storytelling in Northern Virginia and in a recent blog post, she talked about the idea of emergence:
“As I think of emergence – becoming exposed after being concealed – it is both a physical and emotional act. In many ways, the physical is easy. How are you showing up and what actions make you feel safe? Where I hear and feel the struggle in conversations is on the emotional side. The exhaustion to emerge. The fear that lingers about emerging. The loss at a multitude of levels (death, long COVID, milestones, connections, health, goals, jobs, income, time). The sadness. The disconnect. The loneliness. The anxiety. The wariness.
People (myself included) are not good at talking about emotions and sharing troublesome feelings. The vulnerability required is not often provided in the room. It takes effort to make a sacred space for emotions to emerge. Sacred space requires someone to set that intention with time, with mindfulness, with sincerity, with openness, with trust, with active listening, with creativity, with honesty, and with hope. But most off, it requires space for meaningful conversations.”
I agree with her and believe that we need space for meaningful conversations about what we have been through as human beings. I believe that the body of Christ is the perfect place to have those conversations. I think the church must emerge back out into the world, because our message – THE GOOD NEWS – needs to be shared with our neighbors! I would invite you to join your church family in worship, study, service and meaningful conversations!!