From the Pastor – September, 2021
We are getting closer, but are not “there” yet!
While the ever-increasing numbers of fully vaccinated neighbors has made a huge difference in our ability to resume aspects of life suspended by the pandemic, the current rise in new COVID-19 cases makes clear we are not yet back fully. To be sure, we have been able to gather for worship in our sanctuary since May, many of us enjoyed travel over the summer and long-delayed reunions, some have returned to the office and in-person instruction has resumed in our schools. We celebrate all of those signs of progress even as are coming to accept the fact that in all kinds of ways we will be living with this disease for the foreseeable future.
With that reality in mind, your staff and officers have begun to make plans for the fall guided by two consistent themes. First, we want to provide ways to gather safely in-person for those who are ready so that we can begin to re-connect with each other. We have been apart far too long and need more face-to-face opportunities to gather. Secondly, we will continue to be in a season of experimentation. The pandemic forced us to try new approaches and moving forward we will hold onto the best of its lessons while continuing to adapt along with the way. Some of the things we try will remain and others altered as we continually evaluate and adapt. With those two principles in mind, let me tell you about how we are beginning this new program year.
Worship will continue with one service at 9:30 throughout the fall. We have made that decision so we can be together as we emerge from this pandemic, allow our new Associate Pastor and Music Director to connect easily with and learn from you, and give parents of young children time to re-engage in a way that works best for them, especially until their little ones are eligible for a vaccination. For those who are not yet comfortable to gather in the sanctuary and others who have come to value its flexibility, we will continue with our livestream, too, as worship remains in hybrid form moving forward. While my hope is that can add a second in-person service in the early winter, for now we will remain with one.
We have also begun to experiment with ways to gather for worship and education, fellowship and service that will offer a creative blend of old and new approaches. Conversations are underway now about which of our choirs and musical ensembles resume this month and which ones will come back at a later time. The children and youth Sunday morning classes will gather using a different time and style that focuses on re-connecting and learning the faith. Our worship service on September 19 will take place on Mechanics Street with a cookout to follow. Adult classes start in the weeks that follow with two occurring prior to worship and two afterwards, some in-person and some online. Youth fellowship and Club 456, the Senior Adult Ministry retreat and Matthew 25 initiative, Growth Groups, Movies with a Message, and the Feed My Starving Children packing event; all of those cherished parts of ministry and more will return.
As we take these first steps, know of my eagerness to see you again, my gratitude for your patience as we move ahead, and of the essential part you will continue to play in shaping the character of our collective life at DPC. For while we will never get “there” in a sense of perfectly embodying the love of God as found in Jesus Christ, it is also true that the journey will be much richer with you as fully part of it again.
Highlights of the Session’s work over the summer have included:
- Calling for a congregational meeting to extend a call to Becca Batemen as Associate Pastor for Education and Family Ministries and the hiring of Jason Moore as Director of Music and the Arts
- Learning of the settlement to our mold remediation lawsuit
- Reflecting on progress and the work ahead on goals related to the 2018-23 plan
- Inviting the Presbytery of Philadelphia to meet here in November
- Approving changes in the roll. Membership total as of August 31 is 1489