For the Living of These Days—A Word from Carol Harston

“We value a healthy community, where honest relationships provide all people safety, encouragement, acceptance and healing, and challenge us to practice gentleness, forgiveness, and continued growth.”

When the church worked to create the mission, vision, and core values for “Vision 2020,” how could we have known that 2020 would  include a global pandemic, social distancing, and suspending in-person church gatherings? We are living through strange days with high risks and unknown outcomes, but we still cherish the mission, vision, and core values that the church adopted in 2017.

We value a healthy community where all people might be safe and well. For this season, living out this value requires us to reimagine the church as we follow the guidelines from the CDC and the recommendations from our governor. Our staff gathered on Monday, reimagining our congregational life in light of the CDC’s recommendation that groups of 50+ people do not gather in person for eight weeks.

To be a healthy community, Highland Baptist will not gather in person for worship or study for eight weeks. We hope to resume worship on Sunday, May 10. We are committed to keep up with the news and adjust our plans, as needed. In the meantime, we are working to creatively consider how we will work to continue the church’s work during this time.

As a staff, we are considering how to recreate our week-to-week worship schedule, faith formation, community building, and pastoral care. We are also discerning how we celebrate Holy Week and Easter, move forward with our HVAC plans, utilize our Fellowship Fund for those suffering financially, and conduct our church business. We appreciate your patience as this work is new and complicated by social distancing. As we go, we will seek to keep you informed through our weekly newsletters and online streaming platforms.

Family of faith, how might God’s wisdom and courage form us in the living of these days? There is no doubt that these days contain a level of anxiety and uncertainty that many have either never experienced or not experienced for decades. In your own home, what might it look like to live out our values? How might you live with gentleness, forgiveness, and continued growth?

We encourage you to take Highland’s mission, vision, and core values (found here) and consider how we might be the church embodying these values during this season. If you live with others, gather as a family to discuss how these values might shape your weeks together.

Let us cling to what we have always believed: the church is not a building. The church is its people living out the worship that is their very lives. What a unique opportunity we now face to live into this truth!

When the time comes to gather in person, your ministry staff cannot wait to hear all about how God has transformed you, helping to heal the world through your very life. We will hold hands again and sing, cherishing every hug and living out this faith together.

Until that moment comes, peace be with each of you, as it is with us.