Month: August 2020

Letter to Congregation – 8/10/2020

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There is a lot right now that we are hoping to do or are afraid that we might have to do. Going to school (I think) is a perfect example of that. I think some people are looking forward to going back to school, some will go but not really sure how they feel about it and others are simply just to scared to go back into the school building.
If we only knew more about the virus, if we only knew when the vaccine was coming, if we only knew…
And in many ways that if/then struggle is what makes this time of decision so difficult, so difficult for schools, and to be sure so difficult for churches.
From a leadership perspective the struggle is always how do we keep the congregation safe, how do we respect the different feelings that are represented in the congregation, and how do we do that when the rules change so often and so quickly. Of course, the easiest thing to do is simply to stay closed. But the easiest answer is not always the best answer and does not take into account how the entirety of the congregation feels. And because as Christians we need to accommodate different feelings rather than the majority rules, it is important to make decisions based on how the entirety of the congregation is feeling. Therefore we have listened to the results of the survey and are opening the church building for worship on September 6th, We are maintaining Zoom worship in its current form, We are offering Scheduled Eucharist and will be holding worship outside on September 13th.
We need your support to make sure these offerings go well. We will need ushers and people willing to take temperatures at the in-church building services. We need a willingness to follow the guidelines so that everyone can feel safe, we need a willingness to accept that changes that will be a part of worship at this time, AND we also need your financial support. We cannot move forward without your support in all of these areas.
There is so much we do not know about the future, but two things I know to be true, we are still the wonderful church of St. Andrew’s and God still loves us and walks with us.

Letter to Congregation – 8/3/2020

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I would like to take a moment to comment on the “Black Lives Matter” movement. No, I am not trying to become political here, that is not my role as your pastor, it is not now and will not be in the future.
But I do think it is important to note that by saying Blacks Lives Matter, it does not mean that other lives do not matter, and neither does it mean that you do not like or support police. I support our police department; I do not support awful actions by anyone.
Please we must start from that prospective. To be sure it is not okay for police to abuse people and it is not okay for protestors to be violent. But I do not believe that police or Black People want harm, rather I believe they want peace and justice. I believe that some individuals want to do harm, but not whole groups of people.
We are all God’s children, equally loved by our God. But the problem happens when segments of society are treated differently than other parts of society. As a gay man I can say I have experienced that different treatment, and it hurts. That is why when St. Andrew’s welcomed me it meant so much and helped to heal the hurt. And in the end, it helped me to know very specifically that it was okay that I am gay.
And see that is an important understanding in this movement. When you have been hurt you need to know that you are okay… not, yes, we are all equally okay, but you need to know you are okay. Hence, Black Lives Matter. It is okay to say it. To be sure that doesn’t mean all other lives don’t matter, it simply means that we in a loving way are saying that Black Lives Matter, That Blacks Lives are precious children of God, because that is what is very important to say right now.
And, this is why I don’t feel this is (or should be) political because it is a Christian reaction to respond (in a loving way) to one of God’s children who are hurting to help them understand they are loved and care for… it is only when all parties involved know they are loved and respected that we can come together and work for peace.
Pastor Neel