Dear Saints of Good Shepherd,
I realize this has been an incredibly frustrating time for all of us and we would all love to return to our pre-virus lives. Personally, I can barely remember what life was like prior to March 13th when it became necessary to go into isolation. I miss going into work, I miss hearing the laughing, and yes even the crying, of the children in our pre-school. I really miss dropping my daughter off at school. What I miss the most is Sundays. I miss worship and communion. I miss hearing the choir sing. I miss coffee hour and hearing all of your chatter. I miss living.
I would love to tell you when all of this will come to an end and we can return to gathering as a community of faith, but the truth is at this time I don’t have an answer for you. I check the Oregon Synod’s website multiple times a day looking for a clue. I click onto Oregonlive.com hoping there will be an update. At this time it looks like the plan is to return to some form of normalcy in phases, but I don’t know what phase churches will be placed. I don’t even know when phase one will begin. Everything is in limbo and I am powerless to make any changes. The only thing I have any control over is how we remain a community of faith in isolation, and it is difficult.
Larry, Penny and I continue to record and post our Sunday worship services. The church is incredibly thankful to both of them for coming in and providing this service. The church is thankful to Patsy Chinn, Dave Vandepass, and Kris Eskridge for providing vocals. We are trying to provide the best service possible with the resources we have at our disposal. Believe me it was strange to shout, “He is Risen” on Easter Sunday to an empty sanctuary, but we got it done.
Aside from worship the church is trying to stay true to our mission to the greater community of Albany. The council decided that it was safer and healthier for people to use a limited number of locations to collect food so we have donated a large portion of our food pantry to Fish. We have also chosen to give one hundred dollars a month to Fish to help them purchase food. These funds come from the Community Dinner offerings that we have collected over the years. Prior to the shutdown the Community Dinner was donating a hundred dollars to our own food pantry and we thought those funds could be better used by Fish of Albany.
The church continues to function and we still need to pay our bills. Good Shepherd thanks all of you who continue to send in your offering. We realize that it is an incredibly stressful time right now and that you continue to make your offering only speaks to the faithfulness of our community. As a reminder you can either mail in your envelopes, or go to our website where there is a link for Tithe.ly where you can give directly.
I truly believe we will get through all of this; however, we will be changed. Just remember what Paul writes in Philippians 4:13 “All things are possible through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.” Through faith, hope and love Christ will see us through this crazy time.
Pastor Laura O’Brien