I was sitting at my computer, with a definite thought about where to go in this month’s newsletter article; and the Monty Python song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” kept coming into my head. Now, while I think it best at this time not to travel the background to the tune which first came out in 1975; I think the sentiment, in this time and in the circumstances which surround us; is somewhat fitting some 46 years later.

For many Americans, this has been a difficult and challenging 16 months. Lives disrupted, loved ones lost, plans diverted, jobs removed and our state of mind threatened. Even the sanctuary of church, the assurance of a place of rest, protection, peace and hope has not escaped the need to put on hold so many of its core missions and outreach. We have been forced to reexamine on a weekly basis how to best approach the challenges before us and to serve our congregation in their time of need to worship, pray, connect and be comforted. Not everything has always gone smoothly, but we all have to remember this is the first time in 100 years we have faced such a task.

I would like to offer now, that we do look on the bright side and realize where we started and where we are now. The service itself has taken on a totally new dimension with live streaming on Facebook, the ability to watch the service at any time, new cameras and sound system to enhance the presentation and two screens to help worshipers during the service. Pastor Phil has worked hard to create this new and exciting worship experience; along with our tech helper Ryan.

With no congregational singing, the challenge of a continued music ministry arose; but Jack has provided the answers; in part utilizing a wonderful group of young people who not only provide a choir for us; until our full choir can return; but young people who actively participate in the service as well. Our Sunday school program is basically on hold until, we hope, September; but Kristen has provided learning packets, books, puzzles and more for all families with children each month. And we are grateful that Dave Platt’s class is back meeting after worship. Our missions continue as best they can; because volunteers show up when needed and on a moment’s call. I would like to thank all of the congregation who have been such a help with the care and well-being of their brothers and sisters in Christ. People who have kept Phil and I notified about those who are ill or really struggling. In some ways I feel a renewed vigor because of their care and concern.

The bottom line is that things are looking up, because we are looking out; looking to be the disciples we are called to be. I would add here, that Sunday, April 11; when we saw many attend in person who have not been able to come; was such an emotional and heartwarming day. We all look forward to a full opening; but let us keep a smile on our face and in our heart as Day by Day, we see all things more clearly. Thanks be to God!

Milt Fredericks
Lay Pastor of Congregational Care