Last night, our church's session met online to discuss the next steps for our church. They were grateful for your feedback through the congregational survey and for your prayers as they listen for God’s leading. Overwhelmingly, what they heard from you was a call for careful and cautious planning for the protection of our community.
After a lengthy discussion, the session has decided to continue with online ministries for church at home at this time. They will discuss next steps again at their stated meeting in June. This means for the next 30 days there will be no groups or activities on site at the church. You may have noticed when you are out that there are cars in the parking lot closest to the FLC. The teachers of Center Academy do not have sufficient internet access at home and have been permitted to work in their individual classrooms to facilitate online education for their students. While our buildings will remain closed, church online activities will continue to grow as we connect with one another in new ways.
Like many of you, the session and both of us are longing for the day when we can be together again. We miss worshipping together, have fellowship together and praying together. What we hoped would be a short sprint through this difficult time has turned into more of a marathon as the timeline has grown much longer than anticipated. If you talk to marathon runners (which is certainly not either of us!) they will tell you that there is a moment toward the end of the race when you will be tempted to quit. Just a few miles from the finish line, you will feel like you can’t possibly keep going. What you decide at this point determines who will finish the race. We have hit that mile marker as a community. We feel like we can’t possibly keep going like this. We want to give up or make reckless decisions. But as people of faith, we have every reason to hope and to keep running. Hebrews 12 says this:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We will get through this as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who calls us to keep moving forward. We are always available to you if you have questions and concerns, or if we can be of support in any way. If there is something you would like to share with the session that you did not include in your survey, you can send it to us or to clerk of session Debbie Horn to be included in the next session packet.
One last item from the session meeting we want to share with you. The city of Maitland is beginning a large construction project to run new utility lines under the roads. This project will impact the church’s facility over these next two months. They will be removing the trees along 17-92 to install the utility lines and then planting new, smaller trees once the project is completed. There will be significant construction along the front of the church property as well as periodic closures of George Street as the utility lines turn from 17-92 toward Maitland Avenue. We will keep you updated on time lines as we are provided them. The timing and specifics of this project are not under our control, but we will send out any information we have as we receive it. We anticipate the project will begin in about a month starting with tree removal.
There is a lot of change for us all right now, but we are grateful to be in this season with such a strong congregation. Let’s keep running this race together!
- Megan and Dave