Greetings from Rev. Mike Woods

Greetings St. Liz,

The Woods family is very excited to begin our time with you this coming week. It has been a long hot summer for us as I am sure it has been the same for you.

I am writing this after standing outside with our oldest daughter, Harper, as we watched a nice little summer rainstorm pour down upon us. It was just long enough that it knocked the heat out of the air and left a cool breeze in its wake. It was cool enough that we actually felt like spending more than ten minutes outside after the storm passed. ...Read More

Answers to Some Questions

by The Rev. Daniel P Strandlund on August 20, 2020
Today I want to answer some questions about Youth Confirmation, worship, Godly Play, and adult formation.  Most of this will also go out in a print letter this week, with a handy and concise ‘refrigerator friendly’ calendar card.  We will also send out reminders via Facebook, text, etc. as we usually do for events of various kinds.
Youth Confirmation:  For a variety of reasons, we will not have youth confirmation this fall.  Needless to say, this is a big disappointment.  While we have several families ready for confirmation, many of them affirmed that an online format just loses a lot, particularly when so much of everything else is already happening online.  Plus, we were scheduled to have a visiting bishop this year (not Bp Reed), and our visit was scheduled fairly early, too (October).  Given the pandemic, and that the Diocese was unable to hire an assisting bishop as planned, it seems to me to be a good ‘team player’ move for us to wait.  I am happy to talk more about this with anyone who would like further conversation.
Worship: Our primary worship service will continue to be live streamed on Sunday morning at 10am.  In addition to our live stream service, we will hold outdoor, in-person worship on the Sundays of August 30 and September 20.  To avoid the heat, these will be ‘not-quite-sunrise’ services at 7:30am.  We plan to broadcast via radio into cars, but you are welcome to bring a blanket or camping chairs to sit in the open air.  Masks and social distancing are required at all times.  Outdoor, in-person worship on these two Sundays will include prayer, readings, and a sermon, but not communion.  If these go well, we will continue outdoor, in-person services through the fall.  Once it cools off, hopefully we will not have to gather quite so early.  I am grateful to your Bishop’s Committee for their support, questions, vision, and wisdom in discerning with me this small but significant ‘next step.’
Godly Play:   Godly Play will begin on Sunday, September 13th and will meet every other week through November.  Godly Play will gather via Zoom at 9am on Sundays, lasting roughly 30 minutes.  The Zoom platform (as opposed to prerecorded YouTube videos) allows kids to experience the Story together rather than individually.  Parents are encouraged to participate.
Godly Play will begin on an every other week schedule for two main reasons.  First, we’re all learning new ways of being Church right now, and it’s important to me that St. Liz only make commitments we are confident we can uphold.  An online, biweekly schedule is manageable.  Second, we’re maximizing flexibility.  Much still remains unknown about the fall, and an every other week schedule gives us additional space to change directions and adapt programming as needed.   Plus, if it goes well, we can easily shift to an every week schedule.
Godly Play Sundays for the fall are 9/13, 9/27, 10/11, 10/25, 11/8, and 11/22.
Adult Formation: This summer we began a midweek bible study on Romans, meeting Wednesdays at 7pm via Zoom.  When we finish Romans, I (and possibly others) will continue to lead at least one midweek adult formation group/class throughout the fall.  Topic is TBD, but I hope to invite the whole congregation into a study of some kind.  To keep everyone safe and to prevent hosts and participants from feeling pressured into awkward situations, St. Liz’s normal Life Group calendar is suspended for the fall.  Having said that, if you want to invite your neighbors over to your porch to pray or talk about God, well, that’s your business J
Baptisms, etc.: Bishop Reed has given congregations permission to handle baptisms, funerals, and other unique pastoral occasions on an as-needed basis.  While we cannot celebrate baptisms as fully as we normally would, I am happy to schedule them in smaller groups outside of a Sunday morning.
God’s Peace,