OUR WORK CONTINUESMake a pledge to RCC for next year!
October 1, 2020
Grace and peace, members and friends of the Rehoboth Congregational Church!
On Thursday, March 12th, I sat in my office and wrote a pastoral letter informing everyone that, due to an increasing concern surrounding the coronavirus, we would be suspending in-person worship. Some might say this was the moment our church closed; but I actually think this was the moment something really powerful and grace-filled began.
We very quickly moved worship online, using a model that was simple at first, but has evolved over time. What started out as me in my office alone with my phone propped up on some of my grandfather’s old commentaries has evolved to Nathan and me in the sanctuary, with slightly better technology and a setup that gives us the flexibility to offer live music, communion and blessings in our worship services.
On March 16th, we began our 9PM nightly prayer services on Facebook, which have continued (and will continue!) throughout the entire pandemic. Seven months after the Board of Deacons thought, “let’s try it and see what happens,” we still average of 30-40 live viewers together each evening, with many more participating after the live service airs.
We plastered Rehoboth and the surrounding towns with over 100 Peace Be With You lawn signs, offering a message of peace, hope and encouragement from our church during these unprecedented and scary times. These signs sparked a small movement within the United Church of Christ; since photos of our signs went online, over a dozen other churches have printed similar ones for their communities.
Our Church School students have been the lucky recipients of activity bags and buckets delivered right to their doors. They participated in a back to school scavenger hunt where they collected a bag full of supplies, received backpack and device blessing tags and stickers and then kicked off Virtual Church School in September.
Music has brought us all a sense of peace and calm. In addition to Nathan’s beautiful live piano music during worship, our weekly gathering music, posted prior to worship every Sunday morning, is provided by our own members. On Rally Day, we were blessed with an anthem from our Virtual Choir, a piece individual members recorded separately in their own homes and then sent to Nathan, who edited it together.
The Missions Committee has remained committed to serving the community, sending a small (masked and socially distanced) crew to help at the Taunton Area Community Table, hosting a drive-thru supper to raise funds for the causes they support, organizing a collection of sunscreen and bug spray for the McAuley House and participating in a town-wide food drive.
A women’s retreat planned for October in Craigville has been reimagined and will take place that same weekend, all online so women can participate from their own homes.
In September, the Board of Deacons hosted their first monthly Drive-Thru Communion, serving 55 individuals the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the safety of their cars.
The Youth Group had the opportunity to gather for an outdoor movie night and is in the process of planning a scaled-back, but safe and meaningful Homeless Awareness Weekend.
The bazaar will be moved entirely online this year, with a silent auction, drive-thru turkey supper, bazaar sampler boxes and more that will bring our community a beloved tradition in a safe way during this time of distancing.
Church family: Without our building and the ability to gather in person, look at all that we have accomplished!
Our building may be closed – but our work continues.
This year’s stewardship theme – our work continues – comes from a scripture we looked at in worship back in August.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
These words from the Apostle Paul remind us to rejoice in the hope that is real – to rejoice in the things that we, as a church family, have accomplished this year despite the unprecedented circumstances surrounding us. They remind us to be patient in the suffering that we feel – to be patient as we wait for the day when we can gather in person again. They remind us to pray in the meantime – to sustain ourselves in the kind of prayer that brings us to our knees, shines light into the world and moves mountains that once seemed like impossible obstacles.
These words assure us that we will get to the other side of this pandemic.
But – they also remind us that there is still so much work to do in the meantime.
We have entered Stewardship Season, a time when we ask you to prayerfully consider your level of giving for the 2021 year. The amount you pledge will be used to help us estimate our income as we prepare next year’s budget.
A lot has changed at the church this year, but our financial landscape still looks very much the same. While not being in the building full-time has decreased some of our operating expenses, others have continued. For example: Staff compensation and benefits make up approximately 70% of our operating budget, while Sunday worship and fellowship supplies only account for approximately 2%. In other words, despite the fact that much of what we are doing is online these days, many of our big expenses have not changed.
We know that this is not an easy time for anyone. In year’s past, we have pushed for everyone to increase their pledge and we are not going to do that this year. Instead we are asking that everyone pledge an amount they are able to give.
If you are able to maintain your same level of giving this year, thank you!
If you are able to increase your pledge this year, thank you!
If you find yourself in a position where you need to decrease your pledge, we understand! Thank you for still making some level of financial commitment to the church!
Our prayer for this stewardship season is that it will be a bold and powerful declaration, that despite this time of uncertainty and distancing, the work continues.
And we are ready to get to work.
If you are ready to make a pledge to the church for next year, please click here to fill out an online pledge card. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Whatever you give – and however you give – thank you. You have – and continue to be – my inspiration and my hope throughout the pandemic.
Our work continues!
With love and angeltude,