Pastoral Letter #17


Dear Members and Friends,


A word about our livestreaming worship. It is meant to:


1.Give us opportunity to worship God together, as a congregation;

2.Follow a familiar order of worship. With the threat of infection, the economic crisis, and the necessity for us to remain in our living quarters, perhaps worship can be stable and reassuring;

3.Serve within our means. We are not technologically sophisticated enough (yet) to record music and integrate it. We do not sing hymns because our current online presence is not interactive (we can send a video of worship to you, but we cannot talk back and forth or sing together). We are obligated to limit the number of people leading worship to as small a number as possible.

4.Acknowledge that our severely limited worship is temporary and that we hope for a speedy return to worship in our sanctuary.

5.Discover that we are, whether assembled in the building in the hundreds or at home as one or two, the church together.

6.Show respect for each other by not naming names and giving details about our lives because our livestreaming goes onto the internet and can be seen everywhere, by anyone, for a long time.

7.Prompt us to call and write to each other with ideas that will enable us to move from lesser to greater technological savvy in the weeks ahead.


This Sunday, April 5, is both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. The first emphasis acknowledges Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey with people shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Passion Sunday emphasis centers on events after the Passover meal in which Jesus is betrayed, tried, and crucified.


Today is the day to prepare for Sunday worship by beginning to read the lengthy lessons. The Palm Sunday story is Matthew 21:1-11 and the Passion story is Matthew 27:11-54. Here’s a way you could read them. Read all of the Palm story. Close your eyes for a time of quiet. See if a word or phrase from the Matthew readings comes to your mind. Let it remain there. Repeat it over and over silently. Let that word or phrase take you wherever it will. Trust the quiet and the word or sentence or several sentences and then end your prayer with the Lord’s Prayer. 


* * * * *


At its March meeting, Session approved a motion from the Finance Committee to enhance electronic giving, a motion from Personnel to prohibit hiring church members for the church staff in the future, to elect Lois Foster and Marta Pumroy as commissioners to the July Presbytery Assembly, and to accept Doug and Tammy Gardner’s request to be removed from the membership roll.


The Mission Committee is sponsoring a “How We Have Responded to God’s Call” personal testimony or mission history statement each Sunday. Terry has asked Presbytery leadership if we are authorized to have an electronic congregational meeting (and we are), and Karen is working on an integration of the various snail/email lists into a master document.


We will have coffee chats tomorrow and each weekday next week. If you would like to connect, drop me a note. The Thursday 10 a.m. Bible study has completed its study of The Song of Songs (a dynamic book about love, sexuality, consent, and mutuality) and will turn next Thursday to Ecclesiastes.


With gratitude,



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