A recent post on Facebook asked this question: During the pandemic, has your church leaned more into production and entertainment or into ministry to the hurting?
It’s kind of a skewed question. For one thing, what the questioner calls “production and entertainment” is online worship. Every church I know of is offering online worship now, some more professionally produced than others. I don’t know of anyone who considers that entertainment. (Although there are some unintentionally entertaining moments, like a cat attack in the middle of a live service.) Worship is at the heart of the life of the church, and all the clergy I know have worked hard to make worship as inviting, engaging, and reverent as possible in often challenging circumstances. Common worship, even if it’s online, ties the community together.
So if you substitute “worship” for “production and entertainment” I think St. Dunstan’s answer to the question is “both.” It is not an either/or situation. In fact, we have increased our worship offerings and increased our “ministry to the hurting.” We have continued our usual outreach through Family Promise (more on that below) and supporting the medical needs of the Msalata Theological College in Tanzania, we have partnered with RIP Medical Debt to forgive $6.5 million worth of medical debt for families in Atlanta, and have provided financial support and/or regular food donations to four area food pantries. We’ve also worked to support our own parishioners in various ways. In truth, I am in awe of all that you have done in these past seven months. It makes me proud to be your priest.
I’m also very proud of one of our parishioners, Thaddeus Caldwell, grandson of Harriet and Whit Smith. Thaddeus is in the Navy, stationed in Augusta, GA, where he works in cyber security. In addition to that full time work, he is a full time student at Augusta University, majoring in cyber security. Next month the university celebrates “Values Week” to highlight the values of collegiality, compassion, excellence, inclusivity, integrity, and leadership. The university recently informed him that he has been chosen as the student who most embodies Integrity. In addition to working full time and going to school full time, Thaddeus also volunteers on the Navy’s funeral detail and in a program mentoring kids. Congratulations, Thaddeus!
If you would like a copy of Day by Day, a pamphlet with daily reflections on scripture readings, please contact Claudia at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have extra copies of the pamphlets for the three months beginning November 1. Claudia is happy to mail one to you.
A couple of reminders about worship and outreach:
This Sunday’s 10 a.m. service will be both online and live from the Beech Grove. In person attendance is limited to 50 people, including clergy and those leading the service. If you want to come we ask that you RSVP by 6 pm tomorrow (Friday). Here’s the link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050F49ACA822A1FD0-church
And remember that we are hosting Family Promise the week of November 1. We still need people to spend the night with the families at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody on Tuesday-Friday nights. We also still need $25 gift cards to Kroger and gas stations, and a few supplies. You can mail cards to the church, but remember that mail delivery has slowed down significantly. You may also drop them off at church. Here is the link to sign up to help: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b48aaa72ba2fa7-family19
See you for Compline at 8 tonight.