Bristol United Church of Christ     "The Church on the Hill"
Bristol United Church of Christ         "The Church on the Hill"  

Pastor's Corner

Easter, Spring, and New Beginnings

 

            Spring has arrived on the calendar, and in the melting, and in the mud, and in the actual warmth of afternoon sunshine. I am glad to see these signs. Winter is a beautiful season but I do not get out and enjoy it as much as some do. For many, winter is an indoor season with indoor activities. It MAY be enjoyed but it MUST be endured. So it is with a joyful and hopeful heart that many of us look forward to spring, and even beyond. Add to this mix a whole year with uncertainty followed by fear and isolation; followed by a glimmer of hope for the normal; followed by more caution, isolation, and disappointment; and finally now some measurable progress. We are not simply emerging from winter to spring. We are emerging (hopefully) from a year of pandemic and societal upheaval. If we never needed Easter and resurrection before, we certainly do now. Easter and resurrection have, of course, been available to us since we came to faith, and even before that since God has made this possible and available to all through Jesus Christ.

            With the return of warmer weather, outdoor activities for church groups and services become possible. The COVID numbers have been getting better lately although there may be signs of a negative turn. This, experts think, may be a result of COVID fatigue. This is not a medical symptom but rather a social one. It is caused by folks no longer paying strict attention to the health and safety protocols, or even throwing them out altogether, either because of too much optimism or simply frustration. We WILL be worshipping together again in person. We WILL be gathering again in person for fellowship. The time and conditions are not yet right for this. Yet, with the rapid rate at which vaccinations are progressing, I am hopeful we shall be in the sanctuary before summer. Still, even then we shall need to be mindful that the virus will not be gone and we may need to continue to modify our worship and fellowship ways. If we have learned nothing else in the last year, we have learned that we can be and ARE the church even under pandemic pressures and protocols. We have done so many different things in different ways that I hope and pray that we will not soon forget how resilient, imaginative, and adaptive we have found ourselves and our church to be. Moving forward, such qualities will serve us well.

            Looking ahead, please know that in April, we (our church COVID team) shall be exploring ways to make in person worship work for us in our sanctuary. Having explored options, we shall begin to do the specific work making modifications where necessary to keep our space as safe as possible for those who attend.  Know too, that our church leadership has expressed a hope and desire to continue to make worship services accessible for remote participation as well. We are all more experienced at such things than we were before. Truly, the Holy Spirit is moving in the world.

            Finally, Holy Week and Easter are upon us. Here is the Holy Week schedule for church services beginning with Palm Sunday, March 28. Please invite friends and loved ones to participate with you, in person or remotely as all are able.

 

3/28 – Palm Sunday

            8:30 AM In-person, outdoor Palm Sunday service at the church with blessing of the palms and a

                                    palm procession. (about 30 minutes) Masks and distancing will be observed.

            10 AM Palm Sunday service via Zoom (recorded on YouTube for later) Bulletins and palms will

                                    be available outside the church office from Wednesday. A program by the                                               children will be included.

4/1 – Maundy Thursday Service at 7 PM via Zoom. We shall celebrate Holy Communion, hear various

                                    Passion readings, and sing hymns of Christ’s passion.

4/4 Easter Sunday

            7 AM In-person, outdoor Sunrise Service at the church. Masks and distancing will be observed.

            10 AM Intergenerational Easter Service vial Zoom.

 

Blessings,

Rev. Andrew