One of you called last Sunday’s careful return to in-person worship a “soft opening,” and I think that strikes the perfect chord.  While we were diligent about informing the congregation about the service, we deliberately did not advertise it among the community, because we felt a gradual return is preferable to a sudden one.  Of course, when humans plan, God laughs:  the first person in the sanctuary that morning – besides myself and Ed Sypher – was a guest!  A familiar and welcome guest, to be sure, but not someone who receives our regular communications.  I should have known better, that in a town like Chester, there are few secrets!
 
There were about thirty souls present on Sunday.  And I know there was likely an equal amount who worshiped with us online (or perhaps more – 91 views, 101 people reached, according to Facebook).  Please know that even though the church is back in the building, we don’t want any of you to think you must attend in person.  If you are more comfortable with virtual worship, by all means you have our blessings.  We will see you when you are ready.
 
For me, it was wonderful to have your company back in the sanctuary.  Both Karli and I were tired of leading worship in a vacuum; when there is no congregation, leading worship, both in word and in music, felt more like a performance than a worship experience.  Your lively responses to the various parts of the morning were welcome and refreshing.  For even though you were masked and mostly silent, there was no mistaking your presence – and the Spirit’s presence – in the morning.  One more bit of evidence, as if any more were needed, that the church is not the building or the minister, but the people.  You.  I give thanks for every one of you, regardless from where you worshipped last week. 

 
See you Sunday, one way or another.

Sunday May 9, 2021 Bulletin
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