September 15, 2020

Dear Friends,

I wanted to add a few words to what Pastor John had to say last Sunday in our worship service about our "New Beginnings".

As you know, we are re-entering our church building for worship on October 4. There will be certain protocols we will have to meet such as continuing to wear masks, social distancing, and not having our café open (no donuts yet, ouch!!). Those protocols will be listed on the website, bulletins, newsletter, etc.

The inside of our Worship Center will also have a brand new look! When you are sitting out in the congregation and looking around at the four walls and the front, you will notice freshly painted walls, the badly worn old carpet replaced, and the re-working of our front platform to enable flexibility and different ways of worship that were not previously possible. You will also see that, due to the brightening of our walls, the stained glass windows that are so iconic to our space now are really "popping" and much more noticeable!

We will also be employing new technology that will be used at both the Pendleton and Ingalls campuses which will nicely enhance our worship experience! This expense is covered by the tech grant that was received in the Spring thanks to the work of Ryan Coyle.

And yes, you'll be sitting in brand new chairs, not pews. I know this is the biggest of some big changes. It will be ok! This decision was not something that the Church Council just now thought of. It's the result of literally years of study, prayer, and planning. When it became clear that replacing the badly worn out pew pads involved a huge expense, and that at the end of the day we'd still have a single-use space (worship services only), the decision became clearer. Add to that the ability to do this work while the church is "shuttered" due to the Covid pandemic, and it became clear that now was the time.

Chairs will allow us to have a great deal of flexibility with our Worship Center. Think about Sunday school class space, gatherings of our church and other groups, possible ways to configure our space even for Sunday worship. There will be things we have yet to even think about that simply can't be done with pews in place. And, it will allow us to honor the protocols that we must, for the time being, follow in order to gather inside.

Pastor John is basing our New Beginnings on the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17. "When someone becomes a Christian, they become a brand new person inside. They are not the same any more. A new life has begun!"

These changes do have a price tag. Right now we hope to not borrow money to accomplish them. I ask that if you feel you have been blessed even during these challenging times, and you can come along side us to help with the cost, then let us know that—you will be a blessing to the church! Thank you in advance!

I will leave you with one last thought, and I know you all know this in your hearts. Our church is not the bricks and mortar and glass. It's not the walls and it's not the pews. Our church is us! It is the gathering of friends and family and fellow Christians to worship our God through prayer and study and singing and fellowship with one another! We have proven that this can be done even in our parking lot!
But the fact is that we do need a building in which to congregate, we do need a flexible worship space that will attract new people, new families and children, and be as inviting as possible here on the most visible street in our town! Why not make it as welcoming and inviting as we can?

Finally, as Pastor John said, please be patient. Both now and in the future, we need patience as we work through the changes and the inevitable "bugs". It will be worth it!

May the blessing of our Lord be with you all.