Lectionary Reading: Psalm 23
Within Oklahoma, Governor Stitt has outlined a plan for houses of worship to reopen on Sunday. At the same time, Bishop Nunn, who oversees the Oklahoma Conference, has determined that United Methodist churches in Oklahoma won't be reopening this early. We will have further evaluation after May 17. My guess is that we are looking more toward June for reopening the Edmond and Guthrie sanctuaries provided that coronavirus cases don't spike again.
We will do our best to communicate in advance when we will reopen as soon as a decision is made.
|Even when we do our best, we often|
break the six foot guideline in public.
We must be clear that even though the disease may wane in Oklahoma, it is still possible for people to catch it. As we reopen businesses and see more mingling, we want to make sure that there is not a new surge of cases. Even as we consider opening our church doors again, it is likely that guidelines will still be in place to leave every other pew open. Our church nursery will not be available until we get the okay. We won't be offering children's church until the nursery is available. We won't be passing the peace with one another during worship and coffee and donuts won't be served before and after worship. Offering plates won't be passed but rather people will deposit their offering as they exit the sanctuary. The staff is still trying to figure out how we will offer Holy Communion while keeping everyone safe.
Some may look at this list and say, "Why bother?" It is a part of the frustration we all feel in trying to get back to normal. As Oklahomans, our economy is also impacted by the unbelievably low price of oil. Even as the United States gained energy independence, our energy sector was driven by a certain amount of oil consumption. With the pandemic, the demand for oil has dropped dramatically as people are not commuting to work, not traveling in airplanes or taking vacations on cruise ships. This further complicates things for state economies that are enmeshed with the oil industry.
For many, this may be the last straw to set off frayed nerves. It certainly can feel like the "Valley of the shadow of death" as per the King James version of Psalm 23. So even though we are not able to meet in person, we are doing our best to offer the ability to worship as individuals or families as you shelter at home. For those who don't have internet capability, we are happy to mail you a DVD of Sunday's service at no cost. If you know of someone who doesn't have a DVD player, we have a limited number that were donated to help with our isolation. Please leave a message on the church office phone at 405.341.0107 if you want to be added to the list.
We are going to great lengths to provide worship because we recognize that our faith is vital to sustaining our spirits during this time. On Sunday, we'll explore the most beloved of the Psalms. As the Lord is our shepherd, it tests our faith to declare, "I shall not want" in a time when our desires are so evident.
I continue to pray for you as we seek to do what is right while at the same time looking to the safety of as many as possible. If you're on Facebook, I would invite you to follow the Edmond and Guthrie church pages to easily find our online worship Sunday mornings at 11 am. If you're not, I would invite you to subscribe to our Edmond YouTube page. You can find Sunday's worship here. If you watched on Facebook Sunday, you may have missed a surprise at the end of the service that you can see on YouTube! Blessings to you as we move through this together!
Photo by Joey Bird via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.