Are We There yet??
Isn’t that the question we are all asking? Are we there yet? I mean in regards to this being over so that we can just be together again. But it appears that we are a long way from this “being over” which then means we need to figure out what works for us, as a community, as we step back into our togetherness.
The survey we sent out got a resounding response rate, as many of you weighed in on how comfortable you felt in this new way of being together. Your voices reflected that 70% of you are feeling uncomfortable with worshiping inside right now but 86% of you are feeling ok with worshiping outside. Hence the birth of our current Parking Lot Worship experiment!
We just had our second week of our new Parking Lot Worship and it feels amazing to actually see your faces! If you haven’t tried it yet, join us at 9:00am each Sunday. Our motto is “come as you are and worship in your car….or in a chair…or on the lawn.” Just come!
We also know that this worshiping model is only temporary, as colder temps will be visiting us again soon enough. So we will be revisiting our survey in a couple of weeks to see how you are all feeling about moving back into our sanctuary. Stay tuned!
We are also slowly reopening our building with some summer office hours, and reconvening our committee meetings and taking advantage of our ability to gather outdoors as much as possible. Bible studies will be held at Island Lake Park on Wednesdays beginning July 1. We will be at the park at 1:00pm and on Zoom at 6:30. Join us there at 1:00pm with a chair or blanket or on zoom at 6:30pm as we talk about God’s Word for us together.
As we have been saying all along, the church is not closed and never has been. We have been worshiping, doing Bible study, teaching our youth and our preschoolers, doing pastoral care, conducting church business and connecting through virtual gatherings in all sorts of different ways since this pandemic came to visit in March. And we will do all of those things in-person again…when we are ready. In the meantime we will
explore new ways where we can be together and all feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Good People of Shepherd, As we step into the month of June many things are still unknown. We have new guidelines from Governor Walz on when and how we can worship in-person, that came out on Saturday 23 May of our Memorial Day Weekend. These new guidelines were unexpected and take a very different direction than what we have been hearing for weeks, and as a result we were not prepared for this timing.
So, we would like to hear from all of you concerning the hows and whens of gathering in-person once again. By the time of this newsletter’s release we will have sent out a survey seeking your thoughts concerning your comfort level on worshiping in-person in our sanctuary. When might you feel comfortable doing that? What might you like to see happen before our in-person worship resumes?
Rest assured, the church is not closed and never has been. We have been worshipping, doing Bible study, teaching our youth and our preschoolers, doing pastoral care, conducting church business and connecting through virtual gatherings in all sorts of different ways since this pandemic came to visit in March. And we will do all of those things in-person again…when we are ready.
We also want you to know that your staff and leadership are operating out of a place of faithfulness and not fear. Please do not confuse the two. What we do know is that God’s love and faithfulness are unchanging and bigger than our fears and bigger than all the unknowns. It is into that love and faithfulness that we will lean as we listen for the Spirit’s guiding. And we will take these next steps together.
So, please look for and fill out the survey so we can hear from as many of you as possible. If you didn’t get it, call us. We want your voice to be heard. And remember, we are all in this together.
In God’s Peace, Your Shepherd Staff Pr. Renee, Jilene, Pr. Brice, Joe, Sr. Tashina, Miranda and Michelle
Good People of Shepherd,
As we step into the month of May many things are unknown. When will we be able to worship together in person? When can Bible study in person resume? Will graduations take place in person? Will we be able to travel to our favorite Memorial weekend spot? Will Confirmation and ReFuel be able to celebrate the end of our school year with pizza and a bonfire? How will COVID-19 impact our community and our families in the weeks ahead? We want to provide you with a webpage filled with information on what we will be doing in all of our program ministries. However, the truth is we do not know.
What we do know is that God’s love is unchanging and is bigger than our fears and bigger than all the unknowns we wonder. So, as we step into this month, we commit to keeping you informed each week via our eNews, emails, COVID-19 Update page on our website, and Facebook. If our local and state governments give us permission to be opening up in any way, you will be the first to know. If KidZONE resumes in person, you will be the first to know. If we need volunteers to set up and lead worship, you will be the first to know.
If you have any questions or concerns or amazing ideas, do not hesitate to reach out. We are all in this together. Praying for your patience and a promise, in good faith, to keep you as informed as we can.
Your Program Ministry Staff
Hello Shepherd People!
We hope this message finds you well! We want you to know that we truly miss being with you all!
So as we enter this Holy of Weeks even though we cannot be together face to face, we will be celebrating the Good News of our Risen Christ and hearing the message of God's unstoppable love through the Resurrection, both this week AND when we can gather together again. It's such Good News that we will be hearing it twice this year.
We encourage you to be pondering how you have seen and heard God's presence in this crisis and how the Good News of the Resurrection (and God's victory over all of this) has helped guide you in this difficult time. We would love for you to share how you have seen God in action by responding to this email or via our Facebook group (Shepherd Shoreview Community) so we can all share in that joy.
So, be well People of God and prepare yourselves for the coming of our Lord!
Your Shepherd Staff
As our world take pause for the next few weeks to engage in social distancing as a way to limit the spread of COVID-19 we here at Shepherd are seeking new ways to engage in intentional community, worship, and faith formation. Social distancing does not mean social isolation and as such, we have a one-stop website page where you and your neighbors can engage with your faith community.
We are so grateful to be in community with you and look forward to exploring new ways we can be church together while physically apart. This is not forever, dear friends, and God holds us tightly, we trust in God’s calming powers to sustain us.
With Love,Pr. Renee and the Staff at Shepherd