Presbytery leader suggests seeing God already at work
With things rapidly changing, Sheryl Kinder-Pyle, executive minister of the Presbytery, said, "It's been a difficult challenge to continue to be able to connect with folks for worship as well as reaching out to our neighbors. The situation is changing daily.
"Many of our churches went to a Facebook livestream format for worship on March 22. Now with Gov. Jay Inslee's 'Stay Home Stay Healthy' order, we can't even gather a team of worship leaders for livestream worship," she said.
Sheryl expects that adaptations and creative ministries will continue to emerge.
"The pandemic has revealed some deeper questions about the meaning of worship and what does it mean to be the Church," she said. Without a building we are forced into a deeper understanding of Church.
Congregations are a community that is part of a larger community.
"We need to grow in our capacity to see God at work in the community and join in with what God is already doing," Sheryl said, quoting scripture: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult."
"I pray for pastors as they address the fear and isolation many are feeling," she said. "I am available via my cell phone for encouragement and counsel.
"In our theology, worship is not restricted to the sanctuary and we are all called to care for the most vulnerable," Sheryl said. "I'm so encouraged by the creative ways churches are offering worship opportunities for members and beyond. I'm also grateful for the many food distribution ministries which are "essential" and must be continued to feed the community.
"We are in the midst of a huge shift in our understanding of our culture and the Church. As we continue to manage the present, my hope is that we will also wrestle with the questions, 'How do we see our church as part of our community?' and 'What does it mean to be the Church without a building?" she said.
Steve Lympus, lead pastor at Shadle Presbyterian Church, said a church elder proposed doing a drive-in service with people sitting in their cars in the parking lot. They set up a small FM transmitter inside the church building. People in cars tuned to 87.7 FM while a small team of musicians and Steve led the service, and he preached. They also livestreamed the service over Facebook with a cellphone on a tripod. Forty cars were in the parking lot. Communion was served in prepackaged small cups.
Pastors and staff at Hamblen Park Presbyterian plan to live stream from multiple locations. Head pastor Steve Watts said a video at https://youtu.be/7YnWffwxLSU tells how to do that.
The presbytery continues to update its website with resources for worship, spiritual resources and how to love neighbors.
Missional expeditor Katie Stark is hosting weekly Zoom meetings at 2 p.m. Wednesdays with pastors and program staff on doing ministry amid the changes happening.
For information, call 924-4148 or visit presbyinw.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2020