“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you — declares the Lord — plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” – Jer. 29:11
““No one hopes for a crisis, and rightly so. Certainly, this applies to teams and organizations. Most leaders would probably say one of their primary responsibilities is to prevent a crisis from occurring. However, a powerful lesson for organizations can be found smack dab in the middle of a crisis. It isn’t uncommon for a leader to say, “our team had never pulled together more than when we were facing a crisis.” Maybe it’s the prospect of going out of business or dealing with a public relations catastrophe or even a natural disaster that causes people to rally.” – Pat Lencioni
It is hard for me to express how grateful and proud I am of our parish, our leadership teams, staff, and of each of you. Our staff has been working from home since March 19 and have been reaching out to parishioners through calls, learning new skills, making sure the bills get paid and gifts are deposited, praying, creating networks, posting on facebook, creating flocknotes, shooting video, supervising new equipment, learning to live stream, proclaiming the good news, providing hope and healing… all from home (mostly) and in an incredibly challenging environment. We are even putting together an all parish mailing for you soon.
I’m also proud of the entire parish community. I have seen and heard people reaching out to those within and outside our community. We have started online meetings of our committees and commissions to stay connected and move forward together. And for many of us, our prayer lives have gotten deeper and more real. There is so much good happening in the midst of the crisis.
Being Catholic is about being a part of a community and we are weathering the storm well. But the storm has changed us. The people who began social distancing over a month ago are not the same as the people who will be reentering the church whenever that day comes. Each of us has been profoundly changed by this experience. Some of us have been traumatized. Some have lost loved ones. Some of us are overwhelmed and some of us are lonely. Some have grown closer to God while others have new questions. We have withdrawn and reached out, cried, laughed and learned. Our families have shifted. We’ve eaten together as a family or alone, in front of a computer with a loved one. We are not the same people we were. None of us is.
And the crisis is not over. It appears that we will be living in a new world and learning new ways to interact for quite a while. Now is a good time to begin to turn our attention to “reentry.” What will it look like and how will we care for one another and live the mission of Jesus in this newly emerging world? As the summer approaches and new guidelines for interacting are introduced how do we care for each other? How do we make disciples in this new environment? Who is God calling us to become? These are questions we must start to grapple with now.
The good news is that God has a plan. God is still God and he loves and cares for his people. Together we look to the future full of hope because God is with us and we are with each other. I would love to hear how you are doing. I miss you all very much but I trust in God’s plan and move into the future full of hope.
Parish Pastoral Leader