About the Road Ahead

by Pastor Carol Tomer

The Pilgrim building is currently closed for gatherings and will be during June, while we develop safety protocols for our phases of return. Please contact the church if you have questions. Meanwhile, our ministries continue! Here are some except from my June Pilgrim newsletter pastoral musings:

This extraordinary journey continues, each step along the way carrying us on paths we never imagined, even as our liturgical season on this side of the Day of Pentecost is called “ordinary time.” Nothing ordinary about these days. So, we’re offering a special frame at the beginning of our journey through “ordinary time,” with a worship series focused on hope in this month of June, inviting us into the extraordinary nature of these days.

We also are entering into a season when faith communities are reflecting on what the phases of return to various levels of in-person gatherings might look like. Our governor has been offering such thoughtful, bridge-building leadership in the midst of complexity. And our Saint Paul Area Synod Bishop, Patricia Lull, has been inviting leaders of our synod into ongoing reflection. Most recently, she wrote:

Lutherans often refer to one of Luther’s teachings on justification, which addresses freedom from and freedom for. (Freedom of the Christian, 1520)… While we have a greater measure of freedom from a size limit of 10 or fewer for gatherings, we are also called to consider how our actions reflect our freedom for attending to the needs of our neighbors and their safety, including those most vulnerable to infection in our own communities. I am not urging any congregation to speed up their plan for larger in-person gatherings…. Note that a safety plan needs to be developed and posted for each congregation that plans to re-open its building or host an outdoor service. Governor Walz is a realist about the dangers of spreading this coronavirus in religious gatherings…. Friends, we remain in a dangerous time for the spread of COVID-19. I have no desire to put others at risk and trust that you don’t either. Pay attention to your values as you craft your plan as a congregation. Continue to use all the creative ways you have developed for online worship, parking lot worship, outreach to your congregation and care for your most vulnerable neighbors. We have a long way still to go. Let’s get there together.

Each congregation in our synod has now been encouraged to form a “smart team” (as the Bishop calls it), to develop safety protocols for phases of return. In another article, you can read the invitation for you to consider serving on our Pilgrim smart team. But, in the meantime, we are continuing to explore varied avenues for ministry, connection and care, outreach, spiritual growth, advocacy, service, and justice-making.