This past year required lots of change! Here, for example, you can see how Council President Kitty Dombroski rigged up a basket on a pole to collect drive-by votes from a pandemic-safe distance. (Photo by Cheryl Denneny)
I am writing this on Ash Wednesday, 2021. By the time you read this it will be later, but while writing I am reminded of this past year.
Last year, Ash Wednesday was February 26. Our first Lenten Wednesday service (remember those?) was March 4. We gathered for soup and salad. I brought a salad. Jan brought olive bread. Vicki made ham and bean soup. Ann and Kevin made chili. I think I got that right. I used the cheddar cheese from the salad and put it in my chili. There was more and it was really good. Food, people — fellowship. We were talking about the Transition and when were we going to get our new Pastor.
It was the last “normal” in-person event at St Mark’s. Quickly, all the energy in the world was around COVID-19. Or at least it felt that way. Cancelled Wednesday services, cancelled Sunday services, cancelled in-person meetings. WHAT ABOUT EASTER?
Along with the rest of the world we were scrambling and mourning. How do we worship? How do we have Bible Study? How do we have meetings? How do we have all those things that make us St Mark’s?
Enter ZOOM. For most, this was a new concept. Virtual meetings were not “normal,” but we quickly learned. And along the way we learned that the MUTE button is really important.
We purchased equipment for pre-recorded services. John has gotten really good at them.
We were hurled into the technology of the 21st Century. Not without some kicking and screaming and, yes, whining. Or maybe that was just me? Masks, hand sanitizer, CDC recommendations. Oy vey.
And like the faithful Christians before us — we carried on. Is it easy? NO. Is it comfortable? NO. The safety and comfort of our world has been shaken to the core. The world outside our doors and the world within our doors is not the same. We are grieving for the life we had and the people we have lost. We may never be exactly the way we were.
But I have hope. There are lots of good things happening in 2021. The days are starting to get longer. There is a vaccine. Our Call Committee continues to meet and is moving rapidly to the interview phase. We have a lot to look forward to.
The most important part is to keep praying — for the world, for our country, for the Church, for St Mark’s, for our interim Pastor and our new Pastor and, also, not unimportant, for us.
President, St. Mark’s Leadership Council