This is the pastor’s report I have prepared for our upcoming church charge conference. I thought I would share it with you.
“As we have nearly finished our second year of the pandemic, none of us are who we once were. The church universal is not what it once was. Wesley Chapel Short Gap is most certainly not what or who it once was. And whether any of this is good or bad is yet to be determined. Common things we once took for granted that we have been able to resume are now cherished all the more. There is much uncertainty in other area that had such momentum 20 months ago that have yet to re-start.
Pastoral visitations have gone from normal to impossible to impractical to permissible, then back to impossible and impractical. Our weekly dinners that were busting at the seams with crowds are now a very easy place to practice social distancing with a mere 1/3 of the crowd we had before. Yet the people who come, 2/3 of which are from the special needs community, are so grateful to be back no matter the restrictions. Our outdoor worship at the time of our charge conference, will have held our 86th gathering in 87 weeks, only missing once last winter for a stifling snowstorm. After one prior period of attempting indoor worship, earlier in the summer we were finally able to begin and continue one indoor worship gathering. Our attendance between the indoor and outdoor has pretty much been divided evenly.
During the valley of Covid, we the people of Wesley Chapel have found ourselves in a similar spot as the disciples the time Jesus was being abandoned by the crowds to the point that He asked the disciples if they were going to leave Him as well. Their answer was the answer of those that remain connected to Wesley Chapel: “Where else would we go? You, Lord, have the Words of Life.” There is indeed nowhere else to turn. In the past 20 months we have been reminded that our hope is not found in government or health officials. It is not found in our possessions or our employment. Our hope is in Christ alone. And He is always doing something. At a funeral I always quote 1 John 3:2 – “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed.” That seems a pertinent thought as we wait to see the good that God brings for His children that make up the church universal and more specifically those of us at Wesley Chapel Short Gap. This hope we have even as we continue to muck through and, awaiting God’s mercy, wrestle free from the valley of Covid.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~ Romans15:13