In recent weeks, many of us have wondered: When will this pandemic come to an end? When will our county move to “yellow” status, or even “green”?
When will we be able to come together for worship again?
If you’ve been wrestling with these questions, you are not alone. Throughout the past few weeks, the leadership teams of Wesley Church have asked these questions as they’ve reviewed information and recommendations from conference, state, and federal sources.
We’re all eager to move into the “yellow” stage — and yet, the procedures and recommendations for congregations in the yellow stage are not “back to normal” or “church as usual.” Our conference recommends that any churches in yellow counties limit gatherings (even Sunday worship) to twenty-five individuals or less, while wearing face masks, observing social distancing guidelines, maintaining aggressive sanitizing procedures, and refraining from congregational singing (which can lead to the spread of COVID-19 even when masks are worn). Certainly, that is far different than the Sunday morning gatherings we were once accustomed to! Given those recommendations, the Wesley Church Council and Wesley Church Board of Trustees have elected to wait until Northampton County reaches the “green” stage before coming together again for congregational worship. We believe that the reduced kind of worship we could offer under the conference’s “yellow stage” guidelines would be far less meaningful than the fuller and more vibrant worship we currently offer through online platforms (Facebook and church website).
Yet even while we do not gather in person, we remain connected to one another. I can speak from experience, church: the very air in the sanctuary feels different, and fuller, and more energized in the midst of the livestream. We can sense all of you, as the Body of Christ, even when we worship in separate spaces!
Of course, this news may come as a disappointment to you. You long to be together with your church family in our beautiful sanctuary — and I long for that, too! I miss you, church. Still, I am reminded that a pastor of a church is a shepherd of her congregation — indeed, that’s the very root and meaning of the word “pastor.” A shepherd’s first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the flock. As promised, our Wesley leaders and I are placing your safety above all in making decisions about building access and worship schedules.
In the coming weeks, as we journey through red and yellow stages, we’ll continue to seek new and meaningful ways to connect as a congregation… and at some point, in God’s good time, we’ll come together in person again. Until then, church: reach out to one another. Pray for one another. Find ways to bless one another, and our community, and our world. Continue to be who we’ve always been at our core: Wesley Church — People Blessing People.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and give you peace. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and be gracious unto you.
For more information on the conference’s guidelines for red, yellow, and green stages, visit