June 2020 Tidings

Pastor’s Pen

Greetings, Mt. Carmelites!

OK, let’s name the elephant in the room: when will we be able to gather again within the walls of our beloved church building? We’ve just heard that our brothers and sisters in the Catholic and Missouri Synod churches are defying Gov. Walz and inviting people for in-person worship beginning May 26. However, our ELCA bishops—locally and nationally—are strongly urging churches to not gather in-person yet, and probably not for a while. This position is taken out of our collective calling to protect life! Therefore, we can say with certainty that for June, we will not be meeting in-person for worship and the building will continue to be closed for any events (the exception being the Child Care Center).

The good news is that church is not closed because “church” is people—you! The church is present wherever you are. We do in fact gather each week by means of our livestream worship. We will continue to worship this way into the foreseeable future, and probably even after we get the green light to gather in person.

The truth is, we can fully anticipate church rhythms being quite different for many months to come. Therefore, the church council has approved the formation of a COVID-19 task force that will be address Mt. Carmel’s immediate future. The intent is to address what Mt Carmel’s congregational life and mission will look like in the next 18 months in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are taking up questions like:

  • How can we bring people back together again safely?
  • How can we be fiscally agile and responsible in the next 18 months?
  • What is the best staffing plan for a time such as this and beyond?
  • What will our technological needs be in a time when we must depend more on technology?
  • How can we communicate most effectively to each other and the people we’re trying to reach?

And the big question, of course, is: What direction is Mt. Carmel headed? How are we going to grow deeper as a faith community and reach wider into the community?

In many ways, all the other questions must serve how we answer the last one. As you read this, you are aware of the Insight Listening Campaign that the church council has instituted for the first part of June. Some of you have signed up for an interview or already had the interview. It is our hope that by listening deeply to the stirrings, the hopes, dreams and concerns of our members, that we will have a better sense of where God is leading us in the immediate future and beyond.

Also, in June, I will be offering online the course I wrote, “GPS: Finding Direction for Faith and Life’s Journey.” This course is designed to help people get in touch with their own giftedness and particular callings from God. I hope you will join us for this twelve-week course, which will be held on Wednesday evenings from 7-8 p.m. (8-8:30 p.m. will be an optional discussion time), beginning June 17 and going through Sept. 3. Watch for sign up opportunities in the Candle and on our website.

This is a great time to sharpen our identity and grow deeper as faith community. Just as God led the Israelites out of the wilderness to the promised land, so, too, will God lead us through the wilderness of the pandemic induced, 21st century.

God’s peace to you all,
Pastor John

Download the full PDF of the June 2020 Mt. Carmel Tidings.


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