“Hey Mom, can we read the Bible together?” Something was missing in my son Isaac’s life. He was astute enough to sense it and even put a name on it. It had been months since the start of COVID-19 – and so it had been quite a long time since we had been at worship together, since he had participated in Learning for Life at Highland. Isaac was missing spending intentional time connecting with God, and learning about God.
So, we started a new habit of reading the Bible as a family after dinner a few nights a week. Genesis! (Why did we start there? I have no idea.) It’s been quite an eye-opening experience to explore those old stories from the perspective of our young sons. We’ve seen great moments of faith and obedience. But we’ve also watched Cain kill Abel, Abraham lie to get out of trouble, Sarah mistreat Hagar and Ishmael, Jacob steal Esau’s blessing, tattle-tale Joseph get sold into slavery by his brothers. If there’s one thing my sons are learning from Genesis, it’s that our loving and patient God keeps moving good plans forward, even when there are only incredibly imperfect people to work with.
That’s one of the great things about approaching God together. When we’re with other people – whether they’re just kids or grown-ups – we help each other remember old lessons and see new things. We can widen each other’s perspective and we can deepen each other’s experience. If I had to pick the one thing I miss most about gathering together in person for worship, it would be our communal response time at the end of our service – the way we layer our stories and struggles and questions together, so that we all see God at work a little more clearly. As much as I like reading the Scriptures with my boys, I am really looking forward to reading Scripture together with all of you!
What about you? What do you miss? It has been over 14 months since we worshipped all together at Highland. Since then, we’ve connected, gathered, and worshipped in new ways. (Scattered Prayers, outdoor gatherings, Emmaus walks, Digital Commons, Learning for Life on Zoom!) Maybe there are aspects of our ‘new’ rhythms that you appreciate. Maybe you can’t wait for us all to be in the same room, singing and passing the peace and rekindling friendships over coffee and cookies.
At the end of March, we held our first-ever virtual AGM. A large number of you joined us on Zoom – thank you! In that meeting, we affirmed Art Hoehn as Chair of the Board of Management, re-affirmed Eugene Klassen as our interim treasurer, and approved a conservative budget for 2021 – a year that remains full of uncertainty.
But despite the ongoing uncertainty, we do see signs that life may start to go ‘back to normal’ sooner rather than later. New COVID-19 cases are slowing and BC's numbers are improving. We may see the lifting of restrictions on larger indoor gatherings starting in September.
As elders, we’ve been reflecting on how our church will look as we start to emerge from this pandemic and all its restrictions. What will change? What will stay the same? What should change? What shouldn’t?
We want to hear from you. Our June 13 Digital Commons will be a Highland Listening Post – a chance for us to have a conversation about our reflections, questions, and feelings about our Highland Church community as we move past the pandemic. What lessons has God been teaching each of us about “church” and “worship” and faithfully following the Way? What new things might God be inviting us into? What old things might God be calling us back to? We hope you’ll be able to join us for this conversation. If that date doesn’t work for you, please always feel free to email the elders with your thoughts, or to invite one of us out for a walk or patio coffee.
We’re praying for you, and looking forward to the day when we can connect in-person again!
Stephanie, along with Jim, Audrey, and J.