Rearranging Some Spaces
As many of you already know, we are gearing up for a return to in-person worship, albeit in a limited capacity and with a number of safety restrictions in place. And it is so very tempting, in our excited anticipation, to allow ourselves to think of this new phase we’ll be entering into as if we’ll be “finally getting back to normal.” That, unfortunately, will still not be the case for some time. Covid is yet with us, and while more and more people are getting vaccinated against the virus every day, the risks are still far too great for us to jump back into life as it was prior to March of last year.
Even so, grace—and good news—abounds! If we continue to mask, to observe social distancing, to get vaccinated as soon as we are able, and to follow established safety procedures, there is every reason to believe that we will continue to see improvements in the numbers. And one day, we will reach a point at which we can finally come back together in our beautiful church to pray and to worship without restriction. It will happen.
But there is even more good news than that. Namely, that we now have before us an incredible opportunity. We have the opportunity at this time to do more than merely try to “get back to normal”; we have the opportunity to determine with faithful intention exactly what we want our “new normal” to be.
As we finally begin to move through and beyond this time of pandemic, we can explore, imagine, brainstorm, and otherwise faithfully discern what we’d like to get back to … and perhaps also what we’d like to do differently. We have an incredible chance, now, to lay the foundations for an exciting new chapter of vitality and growth in the life of All Saints Episcopal Church. Now, that might sound like a tall order, but I’ll tell you truthfully that I’ve seen this parish accomplish amazing things over the past twelve months, and I’ve seen y’all do that under the worst conditions of this pandemic. Grace does indeed abound in this place!
So on the teeniest, tiniest scale, I have begun my own little experiment in exploring how things might be different as we come back into our church building. In preparing to resume in-person worship, I’ve transitioned from working completely from home, as I have for most of Coronatide, to working two days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) from the church. And when I started coming back into the office on a regular basis a few weeks ago, I suddenly had an idea about rearranging the space in which I was working. Basically, I decided to try switching out the “office” and the “library/conference room.”
At the moment, then, my office is now in the room that used to be the library/conference room. It’s my intention to try out using the old office space as a library/conference room/project room. The transition isn’t complete; there’s more arranging to be done to make it all work. But thus far, I think it’s going to be a good change. The new setup already seems to me to be much more conducive to pastoral care and counseling, for one thing, and with doors that open directly into the hallways, I believe it will also be more inviting to anyone who stops by and wants to talk to the priest. Take a look and see what you think.
Now is a fantastic time for reimagining, for re-envisioning, how we see the treasures and assets that have been entrusted to us, for considering exciting new ways to appreciate and utilize the resources that we have, as well as for remembering and preserving everything we love and cherish about our parish. I invite you all to enter into this period of discernment with faith, joy, and eagerness. God is here, in the midst of our parish; who knows what the Holy Spirit is already working to stir up in us as we come back together and rekindle our shared faith in our shared space?
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