"Simon Says"  


My Beloved Kinfolk in Christ,

   Life has continued to come at us fast. By the time you receive this, the information I am writing it with will be obsolete, and we’ll all look back and wonder how I was so naive. I was looking back at my letter from March, and was reminded that we had a completely different outlook on what the months and years would have in store for us.

   COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, that has swept the globe, has fundamentally shifted how we are all living and going about our daily lives. We are sheltering-in-place, bars and restaurants are mostly closed, and many people’s jobs are being done remotely for the time being, all in hopes that our nation can weather the storm of uncertainty around when and if we will catch it ourselves.

   I know many of us are not the most technologically savvy people in the world, but technology has allowed us some sense of normalcy in these times. Depending on the restrictions of the coming directives from Governor Evers’ office, our continued virtual worship services may take on a different look as I shift to my home office and attempt to have something more than just 30 minutes of my face on the screen. Many of us pastors have had to learn on the fly how to do our jobs so very differently, and we keep trying and supporting our communities of faith. Our buildings may close, but the true church was never the building-it always was the people.

 I encourage you to call me on my cell phone. I keep trying to find ways to reach out in fun interesting snippets on Facebook, follow our Facebook page Ucc Tomah, and share with each other all of the struggles and successes that come with living in a moment of isolation such as this. We will be looking at setting up call-in times via a teleconferencing service so we can all hear each other’s voices. Make no mistake, even as an introvert, I have missed seeing all of you on a regular basis.

   We grieve the losses that we are experiencing, our loss of time, our loss of feeling free. Others have experienced loss of jobs, loss of health, loss of routine, the list goes on. But our faith reminds us that all of these things are temporary. We will continue to make our joyful noise to God with shouts of praise and thanksgiving! We will, safely and smartly, be there for each other in times of need. And we will give to others from the love and light that we all have received from God and Christ Jesus.

   Yes, these are worrying times, and we may wish they hadn’t happened to us. To paraphrase JRR Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings series, so do all who live in these times, the question is what we will do with it. I cannot tell you when we will be able to safely meet, face-to-face, again. But I can promise that we will do all that we can to keep our connections and continue to hold our world and each other in prayer. We will support all of the people we can, and we will look for ways to make this whole experience one which we can learn from and develop a greater appreciation of our connectedness.

                  Peace and blessings to all of you, Pastor Bryan