Being Church In A Pandemic: February 2021 Vestry Papers

February 3, 2021

Dear Friends,

No matter who you are or where you live, we can agree these past months have impacted us in difficult ways. As humans and Christians we thrive and grow in the company and fellowship of others. As COVID-19 cases in this country rise to above 25 million, we continue to mourn the loss of physical community and our inability to be present with each other in person. But even as we mourn the losses, we have learned how to be Church during this extraordinary time. Our stories this month are about communities and individuals being and experiencing blessings, sharing their grief and continuing to look to hope during this time.

This past year has been a lot about grief and loss. In Pitching Our Tent With God In the Pandemic, Reagan Humber shares his experience of being a pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, and reveals the mercy, holiness and hope he encountered in these darkest days.
Our experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is very much dependent on where we live. In Pandemic Learnings in Navajoland, Leon Sampson and Gerlene Gordy narrate their story, sharing how life has been a struggle and a blessing for them and their community. This article is available in English and Spanish.

In a time of continuing loss and deep hurt, have we forgotten how to lament? In Lamentations and Learnings, Haley Bankey compiles wisdom from leaders across the church on navigating this time by lamenting in prayer and cracking ourselves open to new possibilities.

Human interaction is such a significant part of our life together, particularly as the Body of Christ. In Pastoring in a Pandemic, Angelo Wildgoose shares a heartbreaking story of a couple in his parish who had been married for more than 50 years, the pain at not being able to offer support and comfort in community, and why grief ministry is so important.

Are you looking for stewardship and fundraising resources to prepare for the year ahead? I invite you to explore ECF360, our new curated fundraising resource including Annual Stewardship & Giving, Capital Campaigns & Special Appeals, ECF Financial Resources and an upcoming Membership Database. Access all these resources and more here.

Our next two issues are special editions focused on celebrating our partnership with the Gathering of Leaders. Gathering of Leaders (GOL) is an organization committed to connecting young, creative, proven clergy-leaders in the Episcopal church. Through their focus on peer learning they are dedicated to growing the Church in both numbers and spiritual expression. GOL’s clergy participants are local and national leaders who connect and collaborate through events and tools, and who understand the necessity to empower and support laity as partners in growing the church. The March issue will also feature a guest editor to introduce the Gathering of Leaders. Keep your eye out for these special issues.

To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website.

Faithfully,

Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices