This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
For Friday, June 12, 2020
This week my schedule changed enough that Wednesday afternoon I was able to join the first half of a Zoom meeting, with nearly 60 other clergy from across our Horseshoe Falls Region. Hosted by some of our Regional Staff, it was a time to hear more about the latest provincial releases and restrictions. Congregations of all shapes and sizes are working, like us, to interpret and adapt to this ever-changing reality; and we’re seeking all the wisdom we can, all along the way.
When the gathering opened, we were reminded that, with such a large group, preserving bandwidth had to come at the expense of seeing each other. All cameras but the presenters’ were turned off, and until the breakout rooms, we were left to see only each other’s names. At first, it felt disappointing and impersonal… and then it also lifted that vain pressure of being seen. Other colleagues said the same. We’re all feeling rather tired; and looking less than our best. Even more evident is Zoom fatigue, across this online culture. There’s a growing, very real longing to be together again, properly gathered and in each other’s real-time company – even as there’s growing acceptance of how much is still to be done, to be ready for that day.
This past Monday’s provincial announcement may have brought some excitement for different sectors of Ontario. For plenty of clergy and congregational leaders, it brought a renewed level of concern. As much as we look forward to our congregation reuniting, there are layers on layers of consideration first. We are just at the earliest stages of that process.
So here’s what we know for us, here at Trinity, Beamsville: while the option of re-opening is now there for all places of worship in Ontario (even in zones deemed Phase 1), our building remains closed and present practices remain unchanged. We’ve recorded the service for this Sunday, June 14, and it will only be available online or in printed copy, as we’ve done since March 22. I make no predictions about what will change and when, but I can say with confidence, and deep gratitude, that Trinity’s leaders are working through a process, discerning our best ways forward.
Please read Council’s official release, included below and repeated in this week’s Announcements. Please know how much you are treasured and needed. Please trust and pray for patience, for us all. We’re not quite back at the beginning of it all, but with every new step, there’s so much to learn and absorb. We will get there, and God will continue to stay with us, every single step of the journey.
With love to you all,
As you are no doubt aware, the Ontario government has given permission for places of worship to open at 30% of their building’s capacity, effective June 12. Trinity Church Council as a whole, and our Return to Church Committee in particular, are working through what this could mean for us, here. There are many unanswered questions and concerns. We are taking advice and direction from United Church of Canada leadership, and local health authorities, and keeping in mind what would best suit members of our Congregation. This will not be a quick or easy process. We will keep you posted. In the meantime we hope that you will continue to participate in our online worship services. We all long to be back in our shared space, but even more so we long for health and wellness, for all our community.
The Return to Church Committee (RtCC) will be sending out a brief survey to see how you are feeling about coming back to the church building. The RtCC is so thankful that our faith-filled leaders have never left us without church but we need to explore how we might be able to come together once again.