When we pass through this season of Covid19 we will all have things we want to do! See family! Get a haircut! Go back to church! In due season, these things will come.
Just as well, in due season the priorities of our church in ministry will emerge again as well. In the fall, we hope we’ll be able and ready to relaunch our Family Ministry Night. Through this crisis regular giving has continued to the Grow to Serve campaign. The day will come when we can decide to move forward with those proposals as well. The Church Council and I feel confident enough about the future and Ford Street Church emerging from this crisis with strength that we’ve been asking, “What’s next?” One idea is for me to have a sabbatical time in Norway in later 2021. (Mid August-Mid November). The leadership of Ford Street Church has been strongly supportive of this dream. Even though it is not a reality yet (and may never be) we thought now would be a good time to begin to get this dream on your radar. That being said, I am sure this might raise some questions:
- Why Norway? Norway is a society experiencing an advanced state of secularization ( a term which means many people are non-religious, in Norway 90% of people do not attend church). Norway is a place we can see how churches are transitioning and transforming to continue to offer Jesus Christ to their communities. Norway, it could be argued, resembles what the USA may very well look like in another 20 years, religiously speaking. Going to Norway can greatly expand my vision for possibilities here in Lapel and help me think of our challenges differently. We are a church constantly endeavoring to make connections with our community in new and different ways. This will help us discern those actions more carefully and give Pastor Glenn a chance to see how we can do some of what we do even better.
- Is this a vacation? Not exactly. As you can see above education is a key component of the experience. That being said, this is a time of renewal in which I will get to spend time with my family and with God as we discern what is next for Ford Street Church and Lapel. After the Covid19 crisis, 4-5 years of very active ministry and potentially building a sanctuary in 2021, I will need a time of renewal to make room for the Spirit to speak. The Church Council appreciates this need for renewal and has been strongly supportive of this dream.
- Who will take care of Pastor things while Pastor Glenn is gone? Pastor Susan Hobson from Trinity UMC will be available for visitation, emergencies, funerals and weddings. We have a team designated by the Church Council to line up exciting guest preachers, including some familiar faces from the past, perhaps. Our staff can see to most administrative details.
- What about the kids? We’ll take them with us! We’ll plan on homeschooling them for that semester. This will be an incredible, life-changing learning experience for them if it happens.
- Is this a sure thing? NO! Our church council is working with me to apply for a grant that would help this experience happen. While members of the Council have expressed support for us going on a shorter trip if we don’t receive the grant, it is hard to imagine this happening if I don’t receive a grant. The grant is awarded by the Lilly Endowement and we will not know if we will recieve it until October 2020.
- Why are you telling us about this now? We want Ford Street Church to have time to plan and do this well. The Church Council and I believe this can be an enriching, learning, growing experience for all of us if we do it well and communicate often.
- Does CS Chris Nunley know about this?! Yes! He has been extremely supportive! In fact, he took a sabbatical time like this as a pastor about 10 years ago to Israel and has enjoyed the fruit of the experience in his ministry ever since.
- How can I help? Let me know your thoughts! How can we be connected? What are your concerns? What pitfalls should we make sure to avoid? What kind of things can we explore before then to help Ford Street Church understand the purpose of this time? Share your thoughts with our SPRC team also- Michael Thompson, Linda Hormell, Holly McClintick; with others who are helping plan this time, Greg Scott, Jimmy Hormell; and with other Church Council members.
So, now is a great time for feedback! Let us know what kind of things you think Ford Street Church could do to do this well! Keep in mind, it may not happen, but…. ‘wouldn’t it be great?!’