Our Community Meeting on Nov. 8th is worth reflecting on both for its content and character. Several important decisions were made regarding our journey towards online and in person ministry. Equally important, however, was our collective approach to making these decisions, which have reflected and continue to reflect maturing striving that includes prayerful deliberation, building consensus, and the flexibility to continue changing and adapting along the way.

Our collective deliberation also continues to reflect care for one another, and a desire to be an outward facing Church in service to God and to the world. For even as the apostle Paul reminds us, we do not live to ourselves, but to God. (Romans 14:7, 8) And as Jesus reminds us with the Greatest Commandment, loving God naturally flows into loving our neighbors.

So, what were the decisions that were made?

We are living in extraordinary times. We are living in extraordinary times and these extraordinary times call for extraordinary ways of living in order that we might make a difference for the good of the whole world. But where do we start? Do we join a local or national non-profit? Do we help our congregations organize anti-racism Task forces, linked into the work of the Anti-racism Task Force of the MNYS? What will we do to make a difference?

It can seem overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, but then again… Goliath was taken down by one well-aimed stone.

Redeemer, New Paltz is prayerfully working on our plans to enact online and in person ministry as we continue to “Share Christ’s Welcome,” organized through Worship, Service, and Learning. Please take the time to read through these updates and join us for a brief Community Meeting on Sunday, Nov. 15th for further discussion. And please join us in prayerful support of moving forward with online and in-person ministry for the sake of the Gospel!

 The Council at Redeemer is recommending that we move forward with a hybrid model of online and in person ministry beginning in Advent (the last Sunday in November and the start of the new Church year)! More on what this means for Online/In-person Worship.

At our Community Meeting this past Sunday, we were invited to re-frame the ongoing building re-entry discussion within the larger context of Church Forward Visioning. This will help us to think about organizing Worship, Learning, and Service, as well as the encouragement of Community Partnerships not in terms of “when we can get back to the way things were” but “how is God in Christ calling us to become the Church of today and tomorrow.”

It is becoming clear that becoming the Church of today and tomorrow needs to include both online as well as in person ministry. Some ministry, such as picnics, Sunday School for Youth and Kids, and some pastoral visits have already begun in a physically-distanced manner outside, while worship, Bible Study, Justice and Equality organizing, Homelessness/Hunger organizing, meetings, the posting of inspirational messages, and other pastoral visits continue online via social media, zoom, and the old-fashioned telephone.

Let’s face it. Jesus can be really inconvenient.

I mean, sure, it looks all nice and lovely the way Jesus is described in the Bible to be healing and teaching and preaching and dying on the cross and being raised again so that we and the whole world might have new life. But then, when we really start listening closely and watching closely to what Jesus is saying and what Jesus is doing, we hear things like his answer to the disciples about how often we should forgive someone. Not just once or twice, but seventy times seven, which is basically Jesus saying forgive times infinity and forever (Matthew 18:21-25).

Jesus can be really inconvenient.

But what if I don’t want to forgive?