Simon Says"  

My Beloved Kinfolk in Christ,

      What a time to be alive! As we look to the rebirth and renewal that Spring promises, the long winter ending, and outward signs of Hope in our lives, I would like to lift up to you a few different things this month. First, I want to encourage all of you to continue praying for one another in this time. As more people are getting vaccinations, as the state opens up and looks to relax the social distancing guidelines and requirements that we’ve grown to live with this past year, we can let hope grow again.

     We’ve had an eventful year, as we’ve tried to find our feet throughout this year.  We’ve found common interests that have helped us structure our opportunities for connection in these times. Our devotional group remains strong, meeting weekly for prayer, support and study. Our bible study is growing, and finding its feet; we focus especially on the Older Testament readings for the week, as they are often not the focus of my sermons, but many participants have indicated that they are learning a lot about the Old Testament and why and how it was written and how we as Christians have come to understand its place in our lives. We’ve enjoyed movies and discussed the themes we saw as people of faith. The participants in all of these groups are seeking connections, to talk to and to hear people they’ve missed, but also are seeking to deepen their faith and the community we feel with one another.

     Those groups are in addition to our (almost) monthly meal that we have been sponsoring and serving at Gloria Dei through Tomah Mobile Community Table. While numbers have been slowly dropping lately, which is a hopeful sign, we have been serving over 200 meals since the beginning of the pandemic. The many volunteers we have had to assist in planning, cooking, packaging, and serving have participated in a needed blessing and a herculean effort to ensure people have not gone hungry in these difficult times. Additionally, Neighbor for Neighbor has seen an increase in need, but also an outpouring of grace from the community to meet the need in these times. Neighbor for Neighbor is in the midst of their annual Spring into Action campaign. They are a vital part of our community all the time, but have risen to these challenging conditions marvelously. My deepest thanks to those of you who support their efforts.

     Finally, as we find our new normal, I want to place a few possibilities in your minds as we move towards returning to in person worship. First is that our initial return, whenever that is, will be with the protocols from last fall, and will include mask wearing, enhanced cleaning, and meeting in the fellowship hall. Second, is our long awaited and delayed installation of the pastor and our delayed 150th anniversary celebration. We are currently at year 152 according to the dates I have seen, but I think we can find a way to have these celebrations be connected and joyous even as we seek to assert what our new normal is. Pray on what we can be together going forward, let us be a beacon of hope and love for the world.

                                       Peace and blessings, Pastor Bryan