"Simon Says"  

My Beloved Kinfolk in Christ,

It has been an interesting summer for us here in Tomah, and at First Congregational UCC. We have continued to endure the closure of our building and the absence of many of our ‘normal’ activities. But all things in life are temporary, and we will begin the process of reopening our building for worship in September. The reasons for continuing the delay are many: we need to have cleaning products to keep our space safe for those who use it, we need to upgrade parts of our technology to ensure that those who will continue to view the service virtually can continue to do so, we need to train some volunteers for cleaning, ushering, and setting up the spaces we will be using to maximize our safety. None of this is without risk; however, many steps have been taken by the Unified Board and the Trustees to be as safe as we can be. We have mandated mask wearing for indoor worship, and highly recommend it for our outdoor ones. We will be worshipping in the fellowship hall, to increase airflow, protect the wood finish on our pews, and to utilize the projector and screen, as well as to lessen the use of the elevator and for ease of entering and exiting the building. We will be putting out some videos to show you how the process will work in advance of our first indoor worship on September 13. I know that September seems a long way off right now, but with the way much of this year has gone, it will be here before we know it.

In the time between now and then, we will be offering a few opportunities, both virtual and in person to have some fellowship. Our book study will have already begun on So You Want to Talk About Race. The book is an accessible introduction to the issues surrounding the racial disparity that exists in our country, and presently is scheduled to meet via Zoom.

On Tuesdays from now until at least the end of August, I’m inviting people to join me by the peace garden to have lunch from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm or so. This will be an opportunity for people who want to see each other, and are missing that fellowship time together, to socially distance and share a meal. I believe that sharing a meal is a holy endeavor, it was one of the ways in which Christ marked the most important moments in his ministry, and I have missed the opportunity to share time and food with all of you. There is no discussion agenda, just a call to nourish our bodies, and an opportunity to nourish one another as we share in our daily lives. I hope you will consider joining us.

Finally, I want to encourage you, and myself, to continue to reach out to one another, and to hold one another in prayer, even in times such as these. We are stronger together. Even though we have been physically isolated, we are mighty when we stand together. As we seek a return to our building, we know it will still be different, but together we can continue to work for a world in which all people are loved, cared for, and seen as the truest version of themselves. We can work to be the Kin-dom that creates the Kingdom of God on Earth.  

Peace and Blessings to you all,

Pastor Bryan