Yesterday our daughter Claire sent a picture she took with her cell phone on March 8, 2020 at church. Max, her youngest, was sitting on Dee’s lap. We are all getting tired of hearing how much things have changed, but consider that for Max, the last 12 months is 30% of his young life. For me, its less than 2% of my life. I have lots of Highland memories from before March 8, memories made in the past 12 months and I look forward to experiences in the months and years ahead that will create new memories. Our youngest Highlanders will have changed so much when we see them again; maybe we’ll all need name tags when we can meet in person.
Change is a constant. That’s like saying “nothing ever changes; we’re always experiencing change.” One of the changes I’ve experienced is longer conversations with Highlanders I wouldn’t typically interact with. With some people, these conversations have been longer and more frequent than ever. The pandemic gives all of us the motivation and opportunity to connect in different ways with different people.
At our most recent Elders’ meeting, the difficult decision was made to eliminate the Worship Coordinator position at Highland. We had input from the Board of Management who had prepared a budget for this year, 2021. After the pandemic began last spring, Katherine was temporarily laid off with ‘no return to work date.’ On February 22 we gave Katherine the difficult news that this lay-off would be permanent.
We don’t expect to be holding church services this year, in 2021, that will look anything like our services up to March, 2020. Some of the information we are getting suggests that we might be able to meet with few or no restrictions in September, 2022.
When we do return to ‘doing church,’ we don’t know who will return or how many will return. We consider our situation now to being almost a church plant mode. We don’t know what we will need in terms of staff when we meet again; and we don’t know what financial resources we will have. The decision to eliminate the Worship Coordinator position will have an impact on our budget this year and will give us some flexibility in the future.
So many of us have been encouraged by Katherine’s work as Worship Coordinator. Please let her know what a gift that has been to us.
Dee and I have enjoyed Scattered Prayers for so many reasons. There have been Sundays when we’ve ‘done church’ in our pajamas and others when we have been dressed and ready to go for a bike ride or … whatever by 9 in the morning! We haven’t always tuned in on Sundays. And I think everyone was encouraged by the number of screens and the number of people who “tuned in” to Digital Commons on Sunday, February 14.
If you have thoughts about what post-pandemic life might look like at Highland, or have feedback about how you and our church are currently doing, please contact the Elders. The Elders will be phoning each Highland household over the coming weeks, so you can take that opportunity to give your input as well.
Don’t forget to pray for and support Johnny and June Janz. Gary and Karolyn Toews need our loving support and prayers at this time as well. These are people we have worshipped with, and their situations have an impact on so many people we don’t know. Consider all of them when you pray.
--Jim Van Meer (for the Board of Elders)