Dear South East District Friends,
Blessed Advent to you.
We made it to December, 2020. Limping, crawling, sighing, praying. We made it to the season of waiting, expectation, and preparation. Most of us do not know exactly what we are preparing for this year yet we know that God is with us – Emmanuel – and we are so grateful.
These have been incredibly trying times for each of us and for our churches. I have seen profound resilience in you and in the ways you have handled crisis and uncertainty. You have been creative, faithful, hopeful, and realistic. All of these things are really hard to accomplish in the midst of great stress. Yet you as church leaders and faith communities have done this so well.
It seems as though the new year will bring us into a new stage of this pandemic. We will continue to live in a metropolitan area where numbers are elevated and there is reason to stay safe, cautious, and distant from one another. This is our reality. Yet we are also hopeful for the news of vaccines to be distributed and a new reason to see a light at the end of this tunnel. For our churches there are still very difficult decision to be made. Each church is making a faithful decision in its context related to in-person worship, meetings, events, youth group, etc. There is a great deal of stress associated with all of these decisions and I commend you for the hard work involved in it all.
During these final days of Advent I want to invite you to return to the sacred practices of prayer, singing, scripture reading, and even fasting. May you encounter God in these ways as well as in the everyday actions and interactions of our lives. God is with us indeed – Emmanuel!
Let me close with this prayer from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals,
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Advent peace to each of you,
Cynthia D. Weems