|Dear Holy Trinity Church,|
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I write to you out of deep sympathy for all that our world and community is going through right now, and out of a pastoral concern for the ways in which we as the Body of Christ choose to speak and act and relate as the effort to re-open our country and states is under way. So, I offer the following spiritual and missional reflections about how I think God is inviting us to respond to the pandemic and one another.
First, we need to see our situation within the larger story of God’s creative and redemptive purposes. This means resisting the temptation to allow partisan politics and cultural voices dictate our response to this pandemic or our relationships to one another. God’s story narrates the defining realities of our lives: This is our Father’s world; he remains its Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer from beginning to end (Gen 1-3). We belong to God, our good Shepherd and gracious Keeper (Ps 23, 121), who will see us through every valley. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, placed in the world by God to enhance the flavor of life and bear witness to the hope of the gospel (Matt 5). And Christ, who reigns over us and all the world, will make all things new (Rev 22).
Second, we need to acknowledge the loss and cost endured in this pandemic. Some have lost jobs, lost loved ones, lost community; others have lost psychological and emotional health; other economic security. We need to recognize and grieve this, treat each other and our neighbors with sensitivity and compassion, and be willing to bear one another’s burdens so that no one walks this road alone. We also need to remember that the ‘other’ we are serving is not some vague abstraction, but includes our friends and neighbors, our brothers and sisters in Christ, the names we cherish and faces we long to see. So let’s be present to one another in the ways that are available to us, be transparent about what is going on in our lives, encourage and support one another through this.
Third, we need to cultivate a social imagination shaped by the virtues and values of the kingdom of God. We live in a culture where many believe unlimited freedom of choice is what it means to be human. But what if real freedom is the ability to choose love? It seems that the social imagination of Jesus (Matt 7:12; John 13:34-35) and his followers (Phil 2:1-5; 1 Pet 3:8-9) was not primarily animated by the ideals of individual rights and self-preservation, but by love and responsibility for others. They consistently commend the virtues and actions of those who care for the weak and needy and defenseless, and do not merely look out for their own interests. So should we.
Finally, we need to care for one another deeply and relate to the world missionally. What would it look like in this time to bless others – whether they are like-minded or not? How do we pursue unity of heart and mind in our church family, in our neighborhoods or places of work? In what ways can we invest in the interests and lives of others? How can we position ourselves for creativity and generosity in the days ahead?
As our beloved Bishop Todd Hunter has said, “If you cease gathering for a period of time, you have not stopped being the church; you are ever more poignantly the church, serving others by denying yourself. Love (2 Cor 5:14) and service for the most vulnerable (Rom 15:1) are the reasons we are changing our behavior, not pressure or fear or self-protection.”
With this spiritual and missional posture in mind, I will be communicating with you in the upcoming weeks about plans and guidelines to gradually restart some of our church ministries and physical worship gatherings in the months ahead. Meanwhile, the pastoral staff and I are here to support you in whatever way we can. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. May the Lord bless you with peace, creativity, and generosity.
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Because transitions start with an ending, there needs to be a time for letting go, a way of dealing with the loss before we can enter into the “neutral zone” of realignment of what will come. We invite you to participate in a Soul Care Luncheon this summer. The intention of the lunches is to create a safe place for those in the Holy Trinity family to share both their sense of loss and their hopes for our future. Stop by the Community Table on the patio or contact the church office.
Saturday, July 20, 10am-12pm
Dottie Pickett’s Home
For more information and to RSVP contact Dottie Pickett at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Holy Trinity Church Council is pleased to announce the hiring of our new Rector, Jordan Senner. Over the past 14 years, God has been equipping and empowering Jordan to fulfill the calling that he had laid upon his life as a young biology student at Biola University: to be a pastor, to shepherd and build up the Church. Jordan has served in ministry capacities at St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church in Vancouver, British Columbia while obtaining his Master of Divinity from Regent College. While in Vancouver, Jordan also met and married his wife, Susie, who was born in England and raised in Vancouver. For the last few years, Jordan has been pursuing, and is near completion of, his PhD in Theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. As an ordained priest in the Anglican Network in Canada, Jordan brings his depth of understanding of liturgy and sacraments to our congregation.
Jordan and Susie have two young children, Annabelle, three years old, and Jeremy, one year old, who will be a part of our Family Ministry. Jordan’s depth of biblical knowledge, humble wisdom, and thoughtful listening were stand out characteristics to the Church Council. Jordan has demonstrated, both to the Council and through strong personal recommendations, that he can communicate truths of God’s word with inspiration in a way that encourages spiritual formation and maintains biblical orthodoxy. Jordan’s shepherd’s heart was evident to the Church Council in empathetic listening, genuine interest, and relating to each Holy Trinity person he met with kindness and care. With joyful anticipation, we are excited to have the Senner family join us in shepherding our Holy Trinity family beginning in September.
Joshua Busch, Jerri Gerard, Jim Heim, Steven Hoehner, Lindsay Murad, Susan Rigby, Meghan Taylor