From the Senior Warden
Well, we are two months into the Coronavirus response. As a society, a parish and as individuals, we have endured some dynamic and interesting changes in how we interact. I applaud the efforts of so many in our parish. We have shifted the structure of our services. We continue to increase our internal reach to the parishioners. I recognize that these times pose some personal challenges caused by loss of work, reduction of hours or pay and the general uncertainty of what “normal” will look like. Throughout everything, you have helped to maintain Church of the Good Shepherd as a viable, thriving community. Financially, we maintain a healthy outlook. Your contributions have remained steady. Our expenses have been reduced. These two factors, combined with a federal aid package, have reduced most of the financial threat. We all have a stake in stewardship and we are meeting the needs. I ask that you continue your support through envelope giving, direct donations, or the electronic debit service. All of the parish leadership is working to reduce costs and expenses.
The Vestry recognizes that the societal impacts do not hit everyone equally. Some of us have been hit in the purse. Others have lost social connections. Some may be unable to maintain their homes. Some may feel a loss of humanity. The parish is available to help with some of these matters. Some of our members have asked the Vestry to assemble a small group to manage a specific donation fund to aid our members in financial distress. If you need to confidentially request assistance, please reach out to Mother Susan or Deacon Carl. The intent is to get you “over the hump”. The Senior Class of Pitman High School has approached us with a program they call “Seniors Helping Seniors”. It is limited to Pitman residents. If needed, the PHS Seniors will come to your property and provide free lawn services – mowing, edging, raking, etc. while maintaining safety and social distancing. Please reach out to me, if you need this assistance. With the suspension of normal church activities, many have lost their ties with each other. At the last Vestry meeting, we have asked a couple of our internal ministries to take the lead on reaching out to you. The goal is to maintain our contact, but it will be at your convenience. Some may want to check-in each week. Others might want this twice monthly. Others might appreciate the effort, but require nothing more than the initial call. Please discuss this when the member contacts you and set a schedule that works for you.
The big question is “When will we be able to return to services and our regular church activities?” The lousy answer is I do not know. The Bishop has discussed this topic and has candidly stated not until at least the latter part of June. The other thought I have is “what does the new normal look like?” Will services be the same? What about gatherings and meetings? Of course, many of us want to know what does the sacrament of Coffee Hour look like. I wish I could tell you and answer all of your questions. I do know some things. We will do what we can, when we can and maintain a safe and secure atmosphere for our parishioners, staff, and ministries.
The third verse of God Be With You (Until We Meet Again) by Jeremiah Rankin works well in this instance —
God be with you till we meet again,
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put His arms unfailing round you,
God be with you till we meet again.