August 1, 2020

A Note from Pastor Mark

A note from one of your pastors, Mark:
The other day I was asked, “How is the congregation doing?” I paused as I struggled with the answer. How do you measure the vitality, mission and spirit of a congregation? They wanted to know how the congregation was doing with the COVID-19 epidemic. Specifically, how
were we doing without meeting in person for worship, meetings, and fellowship? So again, how does one measure such a thing?” It would be nice if there was a thermometer to take the temperature of a congregation.
I answered, “We are doing fine.” That is the usual answer we give when asked how we are doing, right? But I qualified that response with, “We are better than fine, we are alive and active.”

We cannot gather as we once did, but we are still worshiping (even if at home, looking at a screen in our pajamas, drinking a cup of coffee). We have communion together, thou not in the same site. We sing together even if we do not hear each other. We worship with one spirit, even though we do not share the same space. And so, I say, WE ARE DOING

We are living out the Kingdom Jesus said was at hand. I hear about the many ways you are staying in contact with one another and with those who are not the usual people who come to church. I hear that you are calling your neighbors and making sure they are OK. You are
listening to those who are depressed, and listening, and listening and letting them whine and moan. You are making and taking care packages, making meals, mowing lawns, picking up prescriptions, driving people to doctor appointments. THE CHURCH IS DOING BETTER

We are giving more in offering, and to special causes than before, we are attending church services more regularly. You listen to the sermons and give feedback, and even an AMEN or two. You attend Christian education classes. You give to mission projects, you invest in new
ministries, you are attending meetings, you are confident that our congregation has a purpose in the communities even if our communities are Lincoln City, Newport, Salem, Montezuma,
Flag staff, Fresno, and in other countries like Bangladesh. THE CHURCH IS DOING BETTER THAN FINE, WE ARE ALIVE AND ACTIVE!

We would all love to be able to be together like we used to. We cannot, so we make the best of what we have to work with. We are the church of Jesus Christ. We are a piece of the Kingdom of God at hand. We are together in love and we are the church wherever we are. We are not
apart when we are not in the same room. The church, is fine, not only because we are alive and active, but, more importantly, because we have always been most well when the going is tough, when we are out of our element, when we are aware that what we have we cannot take
for granted. When fear abounds in the world around, that is when the church gets up and lives with its God given love to those all around.

So, I ask YOU, how is the congregation doing?
In the grace and peace of Jesus Christ,

Chapel by the Sea

Grateful for God’s saving grace

Joyfully alive in Jesus Christ! We are grateful to be a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination with its focus on inclusion, spirituality, mission, education and justice work.
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