Happy Independence Day weekend everyone.  It’s going to look a lot different from July 4ths past, and I’m guessing it will be somewhat quieter as well.  But still, I hope you are able to take a moment to pause and celebrate our nation’s 244th.  And while on the topic of independence, we’re going to be looking at the biblical notion of freedom and liberty this Sunday, specifically freedom in Christ.  Along the way we will be picking the minds of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Langston Hughes and Fyodor Dostoevsky. 
 
At last Sunday’s meeting, our Church Council agreed that while a September resumption of in-person worship remains a possibility for us, there is also the very real possibility that the spike of coronavirus illness and deaths in places like Florida, Arizona and Texas eventually finds its way to New England.  In my opinion, our region’s governors have done a commendable job in getting cases of Covid-19 under control, and I hope and pray with fingers crossed that we do not see a resurgence of similar degree as those current hot spots.  Still, we will need to be watchful and to take the temperature of the level of infections in our area before making any decisions.  As well, I have lately had some of you tell me that, due to health issues, even if we were to reopen in the Fall, you would likely continue to worship from the safety of your own home for the foreseeable future.  If you are among them, please know that you do so with our blessing.
 
On the topic of reopening, I want you to know that I have agreed to serve on the Chester Long Term Recovery Task Force, a group of about 35 folks working to carefully reopen our community.  As I read the roster of the group, I was gratified (and not at all surprised) to find that 8 members of our own UCC community are participating.  I will be a part of the Social Services, Spirituality and Emotional Wellness sub-group.
 
As you will read in the Summer edition of The Uniter (which you will receive tomorrow), the Deacons have decided to keep the time of worship at 10:00 for the summer, instead of moving up one hour as has been our custom.  There are a lot of folks who worship with us who are not on any of our mailing lists, who just pop in Sunday mornings because they can, and we don’t want to confuse the issue (or lose them) by changing times.  Here is the link to Sunday’s bulletin and to the service itself [link].  And remember, this will be a communion Sunday, so have your cup and grain of choice at the ready!
 
Next Sunday July 12, worship will be led by Karli and Lol Fearon.  I’m taking a week off – it will be my first Sunday off since September, and I admit I’m ready for it!  Nonetheless, Lol has already given me a sneak preview of his theme and message, and I just may have to tune in…
July 5, 2020 Bulletin 
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Finally, feel free to send along any prayer requests for this weekend; even though we can’t be together physically, we feel so much closer whenever we hold one another in prayer. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
 
Blessings all,
 
  ~ Alan

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