A Little South of the Western Reserve

I love that a little part of northeast Ohio was once part of the state of Connecticut.  It was surveyed, on behalf of the Connecticut Land Company, by one General Moses Cleaveland, whose name, slightly respelled, was given to the region’s largest city.  The land was set aside, originally, for those who had lost property during the Revolutionary War.  And if you’ve ever traveled through the area, you will have noticed there are parts that have a distinctly New England look.
 

Right now I’m in Ohio’s opposite corner, the southwest, to celebrate Debbie’s mother’s 95th birthday, but I plan to be back - on your screens, at least - with you on Sunday morning for worship.  Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, was one of the first to institute restrictions at the outset of the coronavirus.  As a result, the state is also among the first to re-open under reasonable guidelines.  When I picked up a few groceries yesterday, I was glad to see that probably 75% of the shoppers continue to wear masks in spite of the easing, but I have to confess to tossing a reflexive nervous glance or two toward those who went without.  I imagine it will take a while to feel otherwise.
 

So to ask a question I haven’t posed for a number of weeks, How are you?  I know the answers are likely all over the map.  Surely some are growing weary of being cooped up and are beginning to pop our heads out of our nests with the relaxing of isolation.  I do know that many are still reluctant to get out in public this early in the transition, while others welcome a return to some semblance of normal, whatever that is going to look like.  As I’ve written and said often, it will be interesting to see what normal looks like for the church as we try to find our way there together.  Above all else, we want to be very careful about how we get there - the virus has not gone away, and there is currently neither vaccine nor cure.  Already it is showing an increase of cases in places where relaxation has begun, and we need to pay attention to this.  And we will.
 

I’ve had a few colleagues reach out to one another in the past week, clergy who are planning some much-needed time off this summer, asking if they could direct their congregations to our virtual worship service for the weeks they are away, and of course we told them they are more than welcome.  (Now we have to figure out how to make that virtual offering plate work...). So if you “see” a guest or two in the ethereal pew in the next couple months, be sure to offer a friendly wave and say hello to them.  As for this Sunday, we’re going to be talking about journeys, both physical and spiritual, as we consider the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel at Peniel in Genesis 32.  The bulletin is here and you can find us here on Sunday morning.
 

And a reminder:  Wednesday June 24 the Valley Clergy are hosting an interfaith service of penitence, healing and hope in the face of racial division and the ongoing national conversation around prejudice and injustice.  It will be a live service beginning at 7pm.  Details will be available next week, and I hope you will be part of it. 

See you Sunday!

  ~ Alan

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