Dear fellow Grindstoners,
These are trying times to say the least. First and foremost, I do hope this letter finds you and your families safe and healthy. There is no doubt that this pandemic tests our faith and our sense of community. In many ways we are challenged as we face the economic and mental fatigue that isolation brings. But in other ways we are brought together in creative ways, strengthening our sense of family, reaffirming our beliefs and redefining what community really means. And that is ever true as we hope to return to our beloved Island and the many we love who share that special bond of being “River Rats”.
We do not know what the summer holds for us as a Church or greater Island. We do know that for the immediate future we need to continue to take precautions about gathering together and giving the hugs of welcome we wish we could do. To that end we have determined that Church for the month of May, starting on May 3trd, will be a virtual Service and Coffee Hour. Jeff McArn, Joan Flint and Charlie Moehs are working together to craft services that can be recorded each week and shared on the Internet. This will keep us safe while beginning the Church season as planned. My thanks to the Worship Committee for working out a solution that allows all congregants to participate while keeping us safe. If you have any other ideas of how we can virtually support each other, please share them with me or other Council members so we might reach out to others on the Island, as we have always done. More details on how to join us for the Service and Coffee Hour to follow by e-mail. If you are not on our e-mail list please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to the e-mail list. Your e-mail will not be shared.
Enclosed you will find the Church calendar on the back of this letter and a separate Community calendar for you to keep for the season. We do not know if we will be able to hold any or all of the events listed in our very busy Island plan but we hold out the hope that we can return to normal by June. If that turns out not to be true we will proceed with utmost caution as an Island to determine a way forward and each entity will decide what is in the best interest of the people they serve.
However, regardless of this virus, the work of the Church must continue:
As many of you know, in January, The United Methodist Church proposed a split which would allow “Traditionalists” who oppose same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy to form their own churches and the remaining Churches to adopt an affirming stance and remain. This negotiated approach is to be voted on by the General Conference when it is held. Once that vote is taken we, as a congregation, will determine what is right for our church once a path forward is approved.
Closer to home we still face the Herculean task of determining how to save our Carriage House. We cannot defer this challenge or we will not have a Carriage House to save.
In closing I call on the words Ken Deedy said in the past “We are a unique and diverse Congregation. Our strength is in our unified love of God and in our love for each other. With your support we can look forward to many summers of worship, fellowship and reaching out to communities near and far. Until we gather once more at our most beautiful river-may the peace of the Lord be with you”.
Betsy Fitter Church, Council Chair
Rev. Jeff McArn, Summer Minister
Jim Helpinstill, Church Treasurer