by Marty Loman
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to teach! I found that Frederick Buechner intersection of greatest passion and greatest need about fifteen years ago when I started teaching 6th grade Sunday School and I am so thankful that the church has allowed me to grow that passion. The past year has taught me so much as it relates to my ministry, things about my church community as well as things about myself, and I am not just referring to my mastering of Zoom!
From the very beginning, I saw an almost desperate yearning for opportunities to connect within our church community. I dare say I could have offered a course on the interpretation of Levitical Law and I would have had takers! I first saw that as a desire to be in community even if it was virtual, but then I began to see something else. I have seen a renewed thirst by members of our Wednesday Morning Bible Study as well as other topical classes we have done, including offering an adult refresher on Confirmation. I have seen a desire to go deeper into study, to listen to what God’s word has to say and why it was important when it was written, as well as how it continues to be relevant today.
As with any social experiment I also witnessed newness – newness that I dare say would not have been afforded if we had not had to adapt to the realities of the pandemic. Members of our Bible study who had moved from Dallas were able to rejoin with us in study. Friends and neighbors of regular attenders started dropping in because of the relative ease and “less-scary” reality of appearing on screen as opposed to in person. We have more people now on Wednesday mornings than we have ever had, and I dare say that entering back into the church might require us to find a bigger space!
And that leads to the other lesson, one that I hope we do not lose as we rush back into the building to see one another, hug one another and be in physical community. We have afforded a part of our larger community to be equal participants in our church this past year, people who are not able to or don’t feel comfortable entering our doors. My prayer is that as we leave the wilderness, we don’t leave behind those we found during that time, that we carry them with us forward into the next chapter of our church community.