We live in an interesting time.

This week alone, I have been juggling local, regional and conference wide preparation of the ever expanding anxiety that COVID-19 is causing all of us.  The questions sound like this:  Do we meet?  Do we postpone?  Do we continue as plan and live-stream the events?  Do we cancel all together and video the presentation to be shown at a variety of gatherings?  How do we engage and connect with people, hold their hands, give them a hug, grieve with them if we are to maintain appropriate social distancing?  

Normally as a people of faith, we would care for each other by drawing close together. In times of loss or threat, we respond by coming together to pray and to sing, to hug and hold each other tight.

Pandemics are different. During an outbreak such as the one we are facing now, we are called to care for each other by moving further apart, creating what is being called social distance. We do this not only for our own safety and the safety of the people around us, but as a way of truly loving our neighbor as ourselves.

At a time of heightened fear and concern, wanting to compassionately respond in such a way that keeps us all healthy and whole, the co-chairs of Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Sue Powers and Carl Mittnight, the chairperson of Church Council, Pam Reeve, and Crawford’s Lay Leader, Laura Myers and I share these decisions:

We Will Not Meet for In Person forTwo Weeks But Have An Alternative Opportunity to Worship!!

We will not gather for worship or programming for the next two weeks.  This includes Adult Study, Christian Education, Bell Choir, Chancel Choir, Afternoon Tea, Sunday Worship and Fellowship.

Instead we will have several opportunities for weekly worship and conversation.  I will offer a Facebook Live family devotion service on Sunday, March 15 and March 22 at 10am on the Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church Facebook page.  Gary Richards (Belmont-Watertown UMC), Bill Hoch (Woburn UMC) and I will offer a Lenten on-line worship experience too.  More on that later.

For now, we encourage you to stay in your pajamas and gather as a family, sharing coffee, tea, hot chocolate on Sunday mornings and join together in this new way at 10am to worship God together.

Please know that we are not cancelling church, we are canceling our worship service. The church is the people and there are many ways to gather and stay connected as church even if the precautions we must take in this time of pandemic keep us at a social distance.

If you are concerned about someone who isn’t connected by technology, please let me know so that we can reach out and connect with them.  I am also available by phone/text (617-584-5713) or by e-mail at hope@crawfordumc.org.

Friends, these are interesting times.  We never know what tomorrow will bring.  For me, I am trusting that God is with us now, that God will be with us tomorrow, and that God will be with us forevermore.

“See” you,