Everything takes longer than we think!
When we first started learning about COVID and the many ramifications it would have for our lives, I had no idea all the changes that would mean for our church, the world, our homes, and the grief we would experience during this year. March of 2020, I wasn’t yet serving the community of Lyons. So, I was first introduced to my new possible church members via Zoom. We met on an evening, and I was so glad to recognize some friendly faces among the group.
Zoom meetings have taken over almost ever other form of meetings during this past year. The Lyons congregation chose to worship on Zoom from the very beginning; and started gathering at 10:00 a.m. for a meditation, and check in with the previous Pastor Emily Kintzel (currently meeting at 9:30 a.m. online). I know, we have had a string of pastors named Emily in the Lyons Community Church, and no that doesn’t have to be the name of any pastor serving from here on out. We have learned to live through the comments about “you are muted,” and “see that button in the…”
Communication has always been a central role of the church, but there are other important parts of our community life too. Praising and worshiping God and loving one another. We have been able to worship God in our own homes and various places instead of meeting in the building. One of my favorite things was meeting people in back yards over the summer, and some via Zoom. We also got to worship in person at the beautiful River Bend venue. We had planned to collect “flood buckets” (with supplies) around the seventh year anniversary of the flood of 2013, when the town was shut down due to very close wildfires.
So much of our ways of doing and being church has changed. We meet via Zoom and Facebook, and we collect video recordings of people so we can share music and experiences together. We continue to be the church. We continue to seek ways to love one another. We continue the conversation on how to love one another due to the reminders of racial inequity which surfaced in June nationally and in our own community. Pastoral care comes through phone calls. Emails are a large part of the way we connect.
We celebrated Christmas, and have great volunteers who continue to improve the function and aesthetic of our building. It does take longer to do things. As we get ready, thinking about worshiping in person, I anticipate more conversation, more meeting people, more hearing stories that have been left untold for months, or weeks. We continue to live out our connections with food, community, caring for one another. We keep loving God, and loving one another.
The strongest way we have continued to be church is from the members of our church. — The people who serve in LEAF on a weekly basis. The preschool and its family continuing to support our community needs for our youngest ones. People caring for one another. Someone has crossed off each month, and put the next month we anticipate coming back together.
The pandemic has made everything harder. The thing we continue to pray for are those who have lost lives, and family members to COVID. We pray for people who have had to care for patients. We pray for people as they get COVID and get better, get tested and get results. We are starting to share the joy of getting vaccines, and sharing how to get a shot. We look forward, but still have very little idea about how we will look in the future, next month, six months, a year from now. Ministry will continue to change and grow. We will continue to serve our community.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Emily Hagan
Serving God with the people of
Lyons Community Church
& First UMC Lafayette