Dear Friends:

I hope this letter finds you doing well and staying safe!  My what a different reality we have been experiencing these past two-and-a-half months!  Who could have imagined!

Well, with things “opening up” a bit now in Michigan, and with President Trump’s announcement last Friday calling for the immediate opening of churches and other religious gatherings, I have been asked how soon we would be opening our FCC sanctuary to people for worship.  My short answer is, “I really don’t know.”

However, let me tell you what I do know.

First, beginning on Sunday, June 7, and after weeks of meaningful worship services that were videoed from our different homes, our worship team will be back in the church sanctuary to live-stream our 10 a.m. morning worship services.  As we do so, we will be following our Governor’s recommendation that allows for groups of 10 or less to meet for “business purposes,” while honoring safe social distancing, proper masking, and appropriate handwashing and sanitation practices.

Second, we have created an “Opening the Church” task force that will begin meeting this week to consider how, when, and under what conditions we will begin to open the sanctuary again for public worship.  As a task force, we will be utilizing the recommendations of the CDC, our State, and best practices of other churches and denominations.  Whatever recommendations the task force will make will then be passed by our Executive Committee and then our Council for adoption.

Third, you should know that I, as your senior minister, will remain solidly on the side of being cautious and mindful before we decide to do anything too quickly.  Likewise, let me add, our staff, as well as our Council, board, and committee leaders share the same strong sentiment as mine.  As your leaders, our collective job is to make responsible decisions on behalf of FCC, keeping in mind our charge to make sure the most vulnerable among us remain safe and healthy.  And even though we are all thankful and hopeful as we see the number of new cases of Covid-19 diminish, and even though we are now able to get back to some activities we enjoy so very much,  nevertheless we all know we are not out of the woods quite yet…and most likely will not be until after an effective vaccine is available to the public and widely distributed.  

Fourth, and lastly, we need to remember that even though we may not be physically together as we would like to be, and as we sincerely long to be, nevertheless we are not alone.  We are, and will remain, one in spirit and unified in our love and care for one another. 

So, then, as we move forward together, please know I will keep you informed of our next steps.  Please continue to join us for worship online at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The link to the Sunday morning worship services can be found each week on our Church homepage (fccannarbor.org).  Please stay connected with us through our daily devotionals, social videos, small group meetings, church school Zoom gatherings, and so much more.  Finally, please call upon Darcy or myself if there is any way we can help, give pastoral support, or answer questions.  As much as possible, we want you to know we are here for you even when socially distanced!

Let me leave you with a story:  

There is an old fable about two frogs who jumped into a bucket of cream.  “May as well give up!” croaked the one frog, after trying in vain to get out.  “We’re goners!”  

“Keep on paddling,” said the other frog.  “We’ll get out of this mess somehow.” 

“It’s no use,” said the first frog.  “The cream is too thick to swim in and it’s too thin to jump!  We’re bound to die sometime, so I guess it may as well be tonight.” So with that, the first frog relented and sank to the bottom of the bucket.  

Well, the second frog did not want to give in to that, so she just kept on paddling, and paddling, and paddling…and by morning, she was perched on a mass of butter, which she had churned all by herself!  There she was eating juicy flies that came swarming to the butter from every direction!  

You see the second frog discovered what folks sometimes miss…that being, if you hang in there long enough and just keep paddling, you will eventually overcome adversity and therefore be a survivor!

So, my friends; let’s just keep paddling!  

Live with hope, and please stay safe.

Affectionately,

Bob Livingston

Senior Minister

       

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