As a church, we are in the midst of a season of change. Even before the coronavirus hit, we were in a season of transition. These changes have included:
the retirement of Pastor Nancy Ebner after 15 years of ministry here
going through a search process for a new pastor
the arrival of a part-time Interim Pastor
waiting for new Pastors to arrive
Then add to these changes a pandemic, social distancing and the suspension of our worship services and in-person church meet-ings. Talk about changes! The impact of the Coronavirus has been so massive and widespread, it could easily overshadow the transitions happening in the church. However, the changes at church are still real. Talking about the changes at the church can help us recognize what we’re experiencing and invite God to be at work in us and in the church.
I’m told that the Chinese character for “crisis” is made by combining two other characters. Those two other characters are “danger” and “opportunity.” Think about that for a moment: a crisis is both a danger and an opportunity. That’s really true, isn’t it? While a crisis brings the real risk of danger, it also brings tremendous opportunity because it shakes us up, gets our attention and opens us up to new possibilities. This is especially true when we invite God to work in us and guide us in the midst of changes. What I’m saying about “crisis” is true for the Coronavirus, but right now I’m referring in particular to the changes Orchard Covenant Church is facing after the retirement of one pastor and calling of new pastors.
While it’s easy to think of Pastor Nancy’s retirement as one change, her departure actually means many, many changes. Just about all the ways she ministered and led at the church will be at least somewhat different from now on. From preaching to chat-ting after church, from leading meetings to leading worship, all these things will be somewhat different with a different pastor. The way Pastor Fred does these things isn’t the same as Pastor Nancy did. Pastor Karen and Pastor Nick will each bring their own personality, style and gifts, too. It’s not to say any one is better or worse—it’s just to acknowledge that there will be many different changes with new pastors.
And yet, part of being a healthy and missional church is taking stock of changes, reflecting on how those changes are affecting us, how we are responding, and how we believe God is leading us as a church. That’s what these three conversations we’re calling “Memories and Hopes” are about. It’s a chance to look back together on the ways God has worked at Orchard Covenant Church, to take stock of the changes we’re experiencing, to respond in healthy ways to change, and to share the hope God has given us for the future of Orchard Covenant Church.
Some examples of the questions we’ll discuss are:
1. Describe a time when you really saw God at work at Orchard Covenant Church.
2. What did you really appreciate about Pastor Nancy?
3. What are some of your hopes and dreams for the future of Orchard Covenant Church?
I hope you will participate in one or more of the “Memories and Hopes” conversations. Your participation and presence is valuable. The first two conversations are Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, May 6. The third date is to-be-announced. All of the conversations will take place on Zoom Meeting. If you haven’t tried Zoom Meeting before, ask a Church Council member and they will be glad to help you!