May 2021 Tidings

Pastor’s Ponderings

Pondering is such a good title for my newsletter articles. When I looked up the meaning of pondering, it says to think on or reflect deeply about something. It also stated that some common synonyms of ponder are meditate, muse and ruminate. There has been a lot of things to ponder over the past year, months, weeks and days. 

With COVID numbers on the rise again; with the trial, and now verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin taking place; with mass shootings and more killings of black people by police; with conversations around when we should open for in-person worship, it seems all we can do is ponder all these things in our hearts, just like Mary pondered—in her heart—all that it will mean to bring the baby Jesus into the world. 

With all the disruptions, uncertainties and questions we all carry, we might ponder just what it is that God is doing in the midst of all this? Our Minneapolis Interim Pastor’s Group met on Zoom last week, and we talked about the hybrid church of the future. In other words, we asked the questions, what will the church look like after the pandemic? What have we learned? What are some new possibilities? Is the Spirit calling Mt. Carmel into something new?

Susan Beaumont is a church resource person. Her mission states that every faith-based organization has a God-given mission that is a unique reflection of the community it serves. Susan reminds us that we are in that liminal space—the space between that which we were familiar with and comfortable with, and the new unknown. All of us, in our interim meeting, admitted we don’t know what the future church will look like. 

Here are some predictions for the future church:

  • Some churches will close: They were already there before the pandemic.
  • Some churches will just survive: Will look back to the familiar past and what was.
  • Other churches will thrive: These forward-looking churches will welcome change.
  • Church buildings will be used more as a hub for mission outside the walls.
  • Can no longer avoid talking about current issues. Stop saying “political,” and start saying “gospel.”
  • Social media presence will continue.
  • Physical gatherings will look smaller.
  • 70% of boomers will be in-person. Most everyone else will have an on-line presence.
  • Congregations will partner in ministry.

As we ponder the future of Mt. Carmel, remember that first and foremost, we are called to be faithful to a loving and faithful God.

You are in my prayers. Please keep me in yours!
Pr. Christine


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