It has been a year now. I think this year has shown that our garden grows very well.
When I think back to all the different ways we made the Sunday Service available, each method kind of blends into the other. I believe the start of last year’s annual campaign was the first service we did not have in the church. My memories are contradictory as to what we did in its place. Tug had just started recording the sermon for Facebook a few weeks before the building was closed. In any case, after we stopped gathering in church, I think Jean was the first person to put the service on Facebook. I remember Tug working hard to try to bring me up to snuff on how to get the record button to work for Facebook. That was back when Dr. Fauci was telling people not to wear face masks.
The planned in-person visits for last years campaigns—it wasn’t just the annual appeal, it was also the capital campaign for the addition— had to be switched to phone calls and mailed packets of information. I remember people working hard to switch everything to a mailing, and then getting the mailing together, then delivered or posted, with no one allowed to gather. This was all during the toilet paper shortage, and roped-off garden supply departments at box stores.
It would be hard to believe in March 2020, that not only would the campaigns be successful, but that the addition would be completely finished, paid for, and the money back in the endowment by the start of the following campaign. With the remainder of the two year pledges, there is a solid foundation for when the “front of the church” plans begin in earnest.
Yes, our garden grows very well. For health and safety, we continue to observe our distance, but in many ways I have never felt closer to people. The Sunday Zoom Service is very well attended, and now includes people from all over the country, and is even international. Not only have we managed to stay together, but we have grown. Our activities continue, and develop, and then change again, to meet the circumstances. If it can be done electronically, we figure out a way to do it. If it needs to be done in person, we figure out a way to do it. Flexibility, strength, innovation, and stepping-up to meet the task will probably be my overriding memories for the time of pandemic.
Through illness, political upheaval, upended plans, and unexpected normals, we, and the church, have weathered four challenging seasons. There has been a lot of fertilizer for our garden this past year. We are the stronger for it. But the challenges have not ended and the growth will continue. The pledges this year will help People’s Church meet the needs and expectations of the post-pandemic world. We are forever changed, and ever changing. The good things we have learned will now be utilized as we go forward. Your generosity has sustained our church and allowed it to grow and expand, even in difficult times. Your continued generosity will support this People’s Church, a proven dynamic community, as it takes its message, attitude, and works, into a changed world.