Last Sunday, I was able to listen to the entire service by Zoom as I drove from North Andover to Holyoke to officiate at a wedding; now that’s an amazing thing! Gail Forsyth-Vail spoke about creating “islands of sanity” and what happened recently on Martha’s Vineyard. Following the service, NP member Nancy Starks-Cheney shared that her daughter and son-in-law live on Martha’s Vineyard and were part of the helping group for the migrants there. We are all interconnected.
In her sermon, Gail also noted that our infrastructure at North Parish has taken a hit due to the pandemic. True! To put it more boldly: There is no Caring Team (although I have one volunteer to help re-start one.) There is no Welcoming/Membership Team (although we have three people willing to email newcomers a friendly hello.) There are no teams to help plan Faith Exploration for children or adults (although we have a few folks willing to help out with children’s RE on Thursdays during the day). Half of these volunteers are also Board members.
It is clear that we- as well as just about every other congregation- need to reimagine volunteerism and our ministries post-pandemic. We may even need to reimagine or streamline our mission. Yet I can’t imagine a mission that doesn’t have at its heart a community of people doing simple, concrete things to care for one other… sending an email or card, keeping tabs on our elders, listening to children, spending an hour with newcomers, standing at the door with a smile.
As the poet alta says, there are many kinds of courage. Among them is the courage to make new connections with folks we don’t know so well! The nice thing is that demonstrating such courage has immediate, tangible rewards. Congregations are about people, and people are so interesting!
Yours, in courageous connectedness,