July 16, 2020
***Please note that the 9:30 Educational Classes are suspended.
The 10:30 service can be viewed online at:https://boxcast.tv/channel/bzioh0xyyacgq5fmjnoi
If you are interested in attending in person go online to EventBrite to reserve your place: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/109158933308
11:30 a.m. Virtual Fellowship: https://zoom.us/j/153605864?pwd=M2VSRjZsRDdFd1Q4bms0RExzam5SUT09&status=success PW: 007681
Last week, I realized that this was likely going to be the first year since 1999 that I would not be traveling to Europe to visit with church partners and friends.
Next week our youth and adults, along with our German partners, were scheduled to travel to the UCC National Youth Event at Purdue University. Due to COVID-19, this national event has been postponed to the summer of 2022.
Yesterday, I realized that this is the first year since I was 21 years old that I will not be attending a national gathering of the United Church of Christ. For over 40 years, youth events, General Synod, Faith Works, and other gatherings have been foundational in my formation as a Christian and as a clergy person. While I know in the scheme of things missing these gatherings for the health and safety of participants is critical, like other events that are being canceled or postponed there is grief. My faith and leadership was nurtured and formed through those national gatherings. The conversations, worship, Bible studies, and speakers have nurtured and challenged me personally and professionally.
The young people and adults of ERUCC have attended a national gathering of the UCC for the past 12 years. As General Synod in July of 2021 will be virtual, I am coming to terms with the fact that it will be two years before our youth have an in-person experience of the diversity of the UCC and be challenged, formed, and nurtured by these experiences of the national setting of the UCC.
Iâ€™m pondering how we will fill that void. The national setting of the UCC is working hard to provide virtual experiences for the wider church but we know that it is not the same. Just like the difference between live streaming the worship service from your home and gathering in the sanctuary in-person, itâ€™s just different.
There are a lot of experiences these days that we can say are not the same or just different. Sunday worship in our Sanctuary, sitting with masks on and not singing. Visiting with family members and friends with masks on and sitting six feet apart. Zoom happy hours. Facebook live parties. Itâ€™s not the same and so we grieve what we once had.
Once I have named the loss and understand that it is okay to grieve and give myself the time to grieve, space opens in my heart and mind for a new way of nurturing my life and that of our young people. While I know that youth groups gel when they have experiences away from home, we will need to discover new ways of coming together here at home. While we may not hear national and international leaders speaking live in a huge convention center and experience the energy that comes with a crowd, we can listen to speakers and have a thoughtful conversation about what we have heard. We can take the time to look around us and see where we may engage our time and energy locally, participating in events and marches as safely as we can.
Perhaps, in these months ahead, these new ways of learning, meeting, and growing will prove to be more than measures to fill in a gap. I anticipate that some of these new ways may become just as meaningful and fulfilling as attending a national youth event or General Synod. It will just be â€œdifferent.â€
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701