A Message From Pastor Margaret
Grace and peace to all of you, members of Barre Congregational Church,
I hope all is well with you and your loved
ones. It is now approximately five months
since we stopped worshipping together
face-to-face in our church building because
of the Covid-19 pandemic. The deacons,
our office manager, our organist, and all
of you who contributed to the music have
worked diligently with me every week to
bring to the congregation an online worship
service via YouTube, and during the last
three weeks we offered two Zoom services
and one outdoor service. Our services
have been posted on the website and our
Facebook page, and many of the sermons
have been published in the Barre Gazette.
Having our services available on these platforms are ways for you to go back, view and read them. It has been quite extraordinary teamwork to make all of this happen.
We know we have not been able to come together, because of safety issues. It has been a challenging time for all of us, how we have to navigate our daily lives with all the safety protocols, and hearing how the virus has affected so many lives in the country and the rest of the world, with loss of life and terrible illnesses and after effects of the virus on people’s lives. We are still not out of the woods, and we still need to be careful in how we live our lives and how we think about our worshipping experiences together. We also need to continue encouraging our loved ones who may have been affected by the constraints of the virus, who may feel alone, and not receiving the visits, or kinds of visits we are used to.
Despite these difficult times, I hope that through our worship services you have felt inspired and encouraged. We have tried our best to create services that emulate our in-person services, and as a pastor, I have found myself wrestling with God every week to find a message that would speak to you during a time like this. We have been doing church during an incredibly unique, historic, and painful time in our lives, and I want to thank you for your patience, as we are figuring out the way forward for us.
The two Zoom services were quite lovely! We allocated a 15-minute slot before the service for people to chat, and enough time afterwards to have a Zoom “coffee hour”. We also made sure that we incorporated communion during our zoom and YouTube services, in order to have the full worship experience in the presence of God. Our first outdoor service this past Sunday was attended by approximately 18 people, including my husband who filmed the service, and two visitors. Everything was well-prepared with all safety protocols in place. We had a good speaker system for everyone to hear well, including the visitors who stayed in their vehicle, beautiful music by our organist on our new piano keyboard, and we encouraged people to hum softly during the hymns.
As you can see, we have worked hard to respond to God’s call during such a difficult time, bringing God’s word to you as a congregation, and to many others who have watched our YouTube services as well. Yes, it has been difficult not to be together in person, but I hope that you will be able to treasure these moments we brought to you, even though we have been apart. Millions of people are in the same situation, and many faith communities are working hard at being creative with their worship services. I ask you to pray with those of us who are in conversation with one another about the way forward during the colder months ahead. May we all move through this period together in prayer and guidance from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and may God bind us together in a stronger love than ever.
With much love and care,