Four hundred and seventy-six days. That’s how many days our church was closed during the pandemic. We held our last service prior to the lockdown on March 15, 2020, and formally reopened on July 4, 2021. When we closed in 2020 none of us had any idea we would be closed well over a year. I thought we might be closed for two or three months. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think how long it would be until we could worship together again.

In some ways, we were very fortunate. We quickly pivoted to broadcasting our services via Zoom and Facebook. We were able to maintain our community via technology, and a lot of help from Lauren Johns and Les Marsh. As much as we appreciated being able to gather virtually, we all knew it just wasn’t the same as being able to greet one another, worship in our sanctuary and share fellowship after service.

I’m grateful we are back in our sanctuary, even though we still have some restrictions, and pray that we will not have to go fully remote again. Even if we do, I believe we will be fine, because I have seen what our congregation can, and will, do in the event of a challenge like COVID-19. We never faltered, our community remained intact and in contact. Networks of communications were established for checking in with one another, making sure everyone had what they needed whether it was food, encouragement, money, transportation, or advice; we all knew we had a safety net with our brothers and sisters at First Baptist. Everyone stepped up to keep our church family healthy spiritually, physically, and mentally.

While we could not use our building, our congregation consistently supported the needs of the church. Pledges were faithfully mailed to the church to keep our ministries viable, and our financial commitments met. Many other faith communities faltered, we carried on.

Even though the past seventeen months have been filled with challenges, we have managed to carry on and continue to be strong, committed, and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful, humbled, and awed by each one of you.

In Christ, Pastor Sharon