A special message by Plymouth's Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Valerie Miller-Coleman in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dear Plymouth Church,
Grace and peace to you. I’m writing from a corner of our family room where for the last seven minutes no one has bothered to look for me. We launched our very first day of homeschool this morning. We’re calling it L’Academie Miller-Coleman. So far, I’m doing great with the preschool and kindergarten scholars. Ben’s putting our fourth-grade class through her paces on fractions and grammar at the dining room table, while simultaneously monitoring his work email. We’re actively recruiting teachers from the displaced college students on our speed dial. Pray for us. We need it. I am praying for you: praying gratitude for the gifted leaders who’ve already risen to the emerging challenge of a novel and highly contagious virus; praying for fortitude and strength for all who provide care to vulnerable loved ones; praying courage for all our beloved saints whose immune systems are compromised at this time. May the steadfast love of God be a fortress, a bulwark, and a shield. I am praying for all of us: for the Spirit’s guidance as we experiment with technologies and organizing strategies to weave a durable social fabric in this fraying time; for the serenity to accept what we cannot change and the ambition to tackle what we can; for rest and peace to sustain us in an unexpected season of Sabbath.
I don’t have all the answers. Right now, it seems like finding the right questions to ask is almost more important than settling on the right answers. In that spirit, you’ll find a survey by clicking the link below with a series of questions we’re asking everyone to answer. It’s focused on my most immediate concern: congregational care.
May God’s grace surround us. May the Spirit of truth be our light. May the Body of Christ be wholly manifested among us. In my experience, the sacred and the mundane are close companions. As we pray and discern together how God is calling us forward in faith, some housekeeping items need our attention right now. First, worship logistics. We managed the turn to broadcast-only worship this Sunday with relative alacrity. I’m proud of our worship team and particularly proud of our Communications Director, Jeremy Winfrey, who put in heroic hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to get the word out about our rapidly changing plan, organized an entirely new worship bulletin, and managed to deliver a high-quality experience of worship to hundreds of participants. You can find links to both our Sunday morning radio and video feed on the front page of our website. We plan to continue broadcast-only worship until the Douglas County Health Department gives us the clear to resume meeting in person. My guess is we’re going to master the form.
Second, programs. We’ve suspended all in-person programming at Plymouth until we are cleared to resume by our public health officials. At this time, the greatest service we can offer our community is keeping the building as empty as possible. If we don’t offer it, you won’t come. That’s the goal right now. Social isolation is our best chance to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please don’t take it personally. Third, staff. I’ve asked all staff who can reasonably shift to remote work to do so. Again, social isolation is key. You may not notice a difference unless you stop by the church building to see someone. He or she very likely took a laptop home. For now, email is the very best way to reach the staff. Face to face meetings can be scheduled that way or by phone. There’s a lot more we need to figure out. I don’t have all the answers. I do have faith that God is with us and that we have all the creativity and commitment we need to find good solutions. We’ll need to talk about things like how our Boards will meet, how we’ll support not only our vulnerable members and their caregivers but also our neighbors in need and families with children at home. I don’t have all the answers. Right now, it seems like finding the right questions to ask is almost more important than settling on the right answers. In that spirit, you’ll find a survey link below this message with a series of questions we’re asking everyone to answer. It’s focused on my most immediate concern: congregational care. Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey. It gives me great hope to remember Plymouth’s long history of tenacity and resilience. We’ve come this far by faith. I believe the God who set us on this course will see us through, refining us and cultivating the fruit of the Spirit among us. May God be with you till we meet again. Valerie Miller-Coleman Senior Pastor, Plymouth Church