Since the last Ad Board meeting where we decided we hoped to get back inside for Advent, we have received a couple of new pieces of guidance from state leadership. Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health released a new wave of restrictions on public gathering spaces and new recommendations. Alongside those new guidelines, our Bishop also released a statement giving guidance to the United Methodist churches of Michigan on what we should do for the Advent and Christmas season.
“Today, I am asking you in the strongest way possible to refrain from in-person indoor worship for the Advent and Christmas seasons.” “Remember, the Christmas story is about a God who arrives in surprising places and in surprising ways. When there is no room in the inn, a manger will have to do. When being together inside is not safe, good news of great joy still arrives.”
If you would rather read the Bishop’s statement you can read it here. I strongly recommend reading it as the Bishop’s words have brought me some needed peace and comfort as we have had to have some tough discussions.
Taking the Bishop and Governor’s recommendations seriously, the Ad Boards of Hopkins and South Monterey have come to the tough decision to remain virtual through the end of December. This means that Advent through Christmas will be held on Zoom. This is disappointing for all of us. I know how much we would all love to be back to normal inside worshiping like we are used to. Zoom worship is not the same and does not spark the same joy and comfort, but we are working to bring some joy, cheer, and advent feelings to you at home and during our Zoom services. We will try some new things and find Christ’s peace in new and important ways during this year of ongoing upheaval.
Some of the ways that we are staying connected and alive as a church during this time include:
- Advent-at-home packets
- DIY Advent Wreaths
- Ongoing Advent Calendar on the church Facebook
- Different ways to have Blue Christmas and Christmas Eve services (more details soon)
I know we are all exhausted with this year and all that it has brought with it. That said, I hope we can all find some ways to bring Advent and Christmas cheer into our lives in new ways. How can we connect with each other and still make the holidays special even though we cannot gather together? How can we come together as a church family like never before during this time? COVID has brought us a lot of losses, but we can still find and create joy. Perhaps we need that Christmas joy more than ever this year. Come, Holy Spirit, come and help us make that happen.
As we will remain on Zoom for the next few weeks please let Pastor Kelsey know if you need any help figuring out the technology. We would love to have you with us on Sunday morning whenever you can. It feels more like home the more of us that are together.