Friends, our community is unlike any other. Throughout these past seven weeks, I see you again and again reaching out to one another, reaching out to our neighbors, reaching out to those on the margins and vulnerable. We have maintained and deepened our relationship to one another and to God in the midst of circumstances none of us could have ever dreamed even three months ago. I see God continuing to show up in our community in ways that are powerful, creative, and life-giving. You are amazing, beloved, beautiful people.
At our Worship and Family Meeting on Sunday, we wanted to hear from you: what is working in this time of dispersed community; what do you need more of; and what new things do you want to keep growing your connection to God and each other. I firmly believe God works in the desires and longing of each one of us, especially when we are in community. Our congregation is stronger when we share what God is prompting in each of us.
We asked, you shared and we listened. This week our team spent time reviewing the suggestions you gave and praying about how we can creatively meet the needs of our community. Today, I want to share some of our plans for the coming months with you.
I’ve heard from many of you that the idea of not meeting in person for two more months is very, very hard to accept. I’m right there with you––I deeply miss being together in person. I miss the hugs from our children, drinking Brian’s amazing coffee, looking at your faces, worshiping as we sing, and sharing communion together. But we know that it is still not safe to gather together in person. Suspending in-person worship for May and June is an act of love to our neighbors who are vulnerable, to our healthcare workers, and to those who have no choice but to go to work.
We will continue to gather each Sunday at 10 a.m. for worship on Facebook and YouTube. Hop on with us right at 10 a.m.––we have an active and engaged community that shares in the comments throughout the worship service. If you can’t make it at 10, the worship is on our social media channels and website all week long.
In May and June, we need your help! We’re leading a series called, “You Asked For It!”. What topics, ideas, Bible stories, or concepts do you want me and our pastoral team to talk about? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small groups are the heart of who we are as a community. It’s how we build strong friendships, grow in our relationship with God and serve our community. We want everyone to connect to a group for study, friendship, or solidarity.
Several of our existing small groups will continue to meet in May and June and welcome new members at any time. Contact Nicole at email@example.com if you’d like a weekly friendship or study group.
Look for several new groups in these months: a weekly check-in and prayer with me; a monthly book club; and a weekly DIY group that highlights different skills in our community like budgeting, coffee, gardening and tie-dying.
Looking to grow your connection with God? I’ll continue to offer weekly prayer on Tuesday mornings on Facebook Live, and we’re adding a sermon talkback and reflection time right after worship every Sunday on Zoom.
Our children are spiritual beings, too! Elizabeth will continue to engage them with weekly video lessons, small group conversations over Zoom, and more.
This community has never been more generous. Because of your incredible giving, we have provided hundreds of meals to families at Philip Simmons Elementary School; dozens of grocery trips for members of our own community; utility bill payment for a neighbor of Fresh Future Farm; and thousands of dollars shared with our solidarity partner Fresh Future Farm to support their food access efforts in North Charleston.
On Tuesday we will launch a Giving Tuesday campaign, a nationwide effort to support non-profits in this difficult time. We already have a 100 percent commitment from our Leadership Board to give to this effort. We will split our giving this day 50 percent to Fresh Future Farm and 50 percent to our congregation. Look for more details in Monday’s weekly email.
Our solidarity efforts continue and have expanded during this time. We will continue to tithe (give 10 percent) of all of our monthly offerings to Fresh Future Farm to support their work in May and June. They also need donations of canned meats of all types (Spam, tuna, chicken, etc.). You can drop off those donations directly to the Farm at 2008 Success Street in North Charleston every Saturday from 8-10 a.m.
We fulfilled our congregational pledge to the Charleston Area Justice Ministry several months early this year so their work continues strong.
I participated in a webinar on Parenting in a Pandemic with our partners Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) and We Are Family last week, helping support our LGBTQIA+ children and youth and the adults who parent them.
One of the most important things we can do during this time is stay connected not only with one another, but also the greater community around us. It’s important that we continue to share the Good News with those who are searching for a community like ours but haven’t found us yet. When we share our content throughout the week on social media, be sure to share it with your friends and family! In this time of isolation, we want to make sure that no one feels alone. We’re in this together, and we’re harnessing the power of technology to stay connected as a community even in these difficult circumstances.
You can also stay connected with us by downloading the Church Center app on your iOS or Android device and linking to Two Rivers Church. Through the Church Center app, you’re able to search for and connect with small groups, take a look at our upcoming events, manage your online giving, and make sure we have the most up-to-date contact information for you and your family.
Our community is here for you. I am here for you. Our leadership team is here for you. Our pastoral team is here for you. We do not walk this road alone, but we walk it together, with each other and most especially with God. I am thankful for the ways you continue to invite others along the journey. We are strong because of you.
Peace, dear friends,