News from the Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
KEEP THE CHANGE?
On April 27, the Synod of South Atlantic presented a workshop on the post-COVID church featuring Tod Bolsinger (Passcode: WL0ee&&d), professor at Fuller Seminary and author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Resilience. During the workshop, discussion centered around how some people want the church to return to “normal,” but the prevailing opinion was that there is no going back to the way the church was in early 2020 before the pandemic ensued.
Some in the synod reported that they are getting pushback on this “return to normal” issue from certain segments of the congregations they serve. I agree that there is no going back, but believe our conversations about this issue is often inarticulately expressed. Let me share how I see things.
Rather than see change and the likelihood of a “new normal” as a problem to be resisted, can we see it as a great opportunity? We have the opportunity to re-shape our congregations in ways that serve our members, reach out to our communities, transform our possibilities for the future, and create the opportunity for significant growth. Now is the time for us to engage in conversations on how to merge where we have been over the past 15 months into the new possibilities we envision for our future mission. In addition to the Bolsinger books mentioned above, many of us have been reading on a recommendation by Mike Foley that came out of the Thursday pastors’ conversations, The Post-Quarantine Church, by Thom S. Rainer.
Our starting point is the recognition that God will be with us through the coming months just as God was with the Acts 8 church as they emerged from the turmoil of their time. As more people are vaccinated and we start to move beyond the virus and all of the restrictions it has brought, I believe people will not just want to embrace a return to normal, but will embrace new possibilities to be the communities of faith, hope, love and witness that God has called us to be.
Executive Presbyter / Stated Clerk
Rev. Dr. Dan Williams