Friends in Christ,
As this newsletter arrives in your mailboxes we will have been under a stay-at-home order since March 28. Our beloved organist has died, losing his battle against COVID-19. Dave’s death is a tremendous loss, more confounding by the distance that keeps us from grieving and remembering together.
Underlying that loss is a low hum of grief: We have not been together in our sanctuary since March 8. You are missing grandkids, neighbors, classmates and coworkers. Those of you who live alone have been especially isolated in the name of safety.
Our able state and federal leadership have made bold and life-saving decisions and have argued about whose right it is to make those decisions. And yet, we know Minnesota outcomes reflect the benefit of social distancing, staying home, shuttering church buildings and movie theaters. Saving lives is the least we can do to love our neighbor. And you have saved lives.
The road back will be a long one. Fred Anderson, retired Washington County Epidemiologist and Trinity member, assures us that this won’t end quickly. It will be stutter steps back to anything resembling normalcy. (See his article in our May 2020 Trinity Today.)
We won’t go from closed doors to everyone back in the sanctuary. Which means that Dave’s grand celebration of life is at some unnamable date in the future.
We aren’t sure yet how we will navigate a slow return but have begun those conversations. Whatever the plan, it will continue to require of each of us grace, patience and generosity. We may be called on to shift our favorite worship times, where we sit in the sanctuary, who we sit near, how we receive offerings and share communion. Everything will change for a good while to come.*
And yet. You have done a holy and grace-filled job of being church throughout it all. You have made being your pastors and staff unbelievably rewarding. You have “shown up” for worship and faith formation. You have supported Dave’s family from a loving distance. You have been faithful financial stewards in an economically uncertain time for all of us. You have offered help and have sewn masks. You are making calls and sending cards. You have left “gifts” at the front entrance.
The church of Christ in every age has been called to new frontiers of leadership, witness and worship. In our unprecedented time, you have continued to bear witness to the irrepressible Gospel of the Risen Lord in the face of doubt, fear and uncertainty.
Trinity has a bright future. Jesus is calling us forward to continue to be the church. We will need every one of you as we make the journey together: your love, your engagement, your resources, your prayers, your pictures, your bright hope.
You, Trinity, continue to be a source of light and love. Thanks be to God.
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
*Many of you have asked about the drive in. As this newsletter goes to print, St. Croix County in Wisconsin (where the drive-in is located) is following the state’s original prohibition against all worship gatherings, including drive-in style. We will have an update from them by the end of April. However, to manage expectations, it is important to note that Wisconsin has extended their closing of most businesses until May 26. We will not open ahead of the end of a Minnesota Stay-at-Home order; nor will we open ahead of a Wisconsin Stay-at-Home order without express permission from St. Croix County. But when that is lifted and the county gives the go ahead, we hope to reopen the drive-in with a modified style to continue safe practices. Stay tuned!