Happy New Year! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a better, safer, more normal year ahead.
Many of you joined our parking lot activities on December 12, and watched our Children’s Christmas Pageant from outside the building (in the rain). Despite the wet weather the event was a great success – kudos to all the Ministry Boards who worked to pull it together. I hope you have all had a chance to view the taped version of the Pageant, either live on Facebook or on the Church website.
As you know, in November and December we conducted a survey of the Congregation. The objectives of this survey were twofold:
To get feedback on how we are doing as a ‘virtual’ Church, and what we might do better.
To get a sense of the Congregation’s thoughts on returning to in-building worship.
We had 50 responses – thank you. You can see a summary of the survey results on the Church website (Reopening Task Team page under the Members’ Corner tab). Some highlights:
The great majority of respondents (77%) view Rev. Biedron’s messages on Facebook. Among the other 23% there is a mix of members and friends who either do not have internet connection or who do but are not on Facebook.
For those who have seen Rev. Biedron’s virtual messages on Sunday and Wednesday, the response is extremely positive – although many commented that they miss the fellowship of worshiping in person (and miss the Choir).
The great majority of respondents prefer email as the method of communication from the Church, although 12% still prefer printed materials.
We will continue to provide printed materials and work to communicate with members and friends who do not have internet access.
A bit over half of respondents have participated in a North Church social activity since the pandemic moved us to a virtual Church.
The Fellowship Ministry Board is working on future events, we hope to get more people involved and participating.
We asked people about their connection to the Church, whether they feel more or less connected. Half said “about the same”, but 47% said they feel less connected.
The lack of in-person interaction and fellowship was frequently cited as the cause.
In our last series of questions, we asked when people would feel comfortable returning to in-person worship. There were two scenarios, vaccinated and not vaccinated.
Under ‘vaccinated’, a majority of respondents would return to in person worship once the local area fell to the ‘moderate’ risk category, as determined by the State.
Under ‘not vaccinated’, a majority would not return to in person worship until the area fell to the ‘low’ risk category.
I have shared the results with Executive Council and the Reopening Task Team. The Ministry Boards will take your input under advisement as they make plans for next year.
Concerning the pandemic, there is hopeful news of vaccines, although they will not be widely available until next year. Based on the survey results, I would not expect us to return to in-person worship until the majority of the Congregation has been vaccinated.
Through all this, the work of the Church continues. Rev. Biedron continues her virtual Sunday worship and Wednesday inspiration series. We continue to support charities such as Adopt a Family and other benevolences.
Executive Council Notes
Executive Council met on December 28 and considered the following:
Assets & Resources: This Board continues to monitor our Church finances. Earlier we received a CARES loan of roughly $43,000; we are still on track to have this forgiven. Our stewardship campaign is under way, you can see the status on the Church website. Please complete and submit your pledges for 2021, either via mail-in card or on the Church website. This is vital input into our budgeting for the coming year.
Diaconate: The Diaconate continues to reach out with cards and phone calls to our shut-in members and friends – they will be looking for some volunteers to help with this activity (check out the planner and emails from the Church).
Education: As noted, the Christmas Pageant was a charming success. Virtual Sunday School seems to be going well. The Board is looking at new curriculum materials for Sunday School next year.
Fellowship: Our Fellowship Board is planning additional ‘virtual’ events next year.
Missions: The Church supported two families for Christmas under the Adopt a Family program, as well as collecting a cornucopia of socks and mittens.
Worship: The ‘traveling’ Advent candle lighting was a lovely part of our Advent worship, it’s something we will try to continue. Hopefully everyone has seen the video version of our Choir, more to come. The Board is now looking ahead to Lent. We will still be worshiping remotely, but we may do something different for Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.
Budget: Assets & Resources presented a proposed budget for next year. Council reviewed, discussed, and approved. We will have our annual business meeting on January 31 (mark your calendars), wherein the Congregation will be called upon to approve the budget.
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)