Bishop Hughes looks back at these eight Sundays that we have not been in our church buildings and that we have worshiped from at home, and asks, "What is God doing with us right now?" (Time: 3:35.)
Members of the diocese will have an opportunity to discuss that very question with her at the upcoming regional Zoom meetings (May 12 through June 4, 2020).
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. I wonder if you are like me in this way, that I look back at these eight weeks, these eight Sundays that we have not been in our church buildings and that we have worshiped from at home. I look back at these eight weeks and I can't help but ask myself – what is God doing with us right now?
Let me be clear about something. I don't think God did this situation to us. I don't think God is using coronavirus to do something with, for, or to us. But I do think God has an extraordinary way of taking any kind of circumstances, especially circumstances that are meant to be harmful, and can be quite upsetting and disturbing to us, that God can take those circumstances and find ways to redeem those circumstances for our best good.
So I can't help but wonder what good might come out of these eight weeks and longer that we will be out of our churches? What is it that God is doing with us as individuals? What is it that God is doing with us as communities of faith? What is it that God is doing with us as church?
I'm looking forward to having just that conversation with you, to getting together to talk about the things that you've been experiencing over these last eight weeks. To talk about the things that you're wondering about in the future, what happens how much longer will this go on? What happens when we start thinking about going back into our churches? What might be happening right now that we want to make sure that we hold on to into the future and probably even more importantly, most important of all, what is it that the world around us needs so much that we've been missing before, that we are much more open to now? I think all of us are very aware of the needs around us and who is God calling us to be with all of those needs as church and as believers right now?
Those conversations will begin in the diocese starting this week, actually. The first one is this Thursday night. And there'll be regional gatherings so that I can talk with people from all over the diocese. And I look forward to hearing your stories. I look forward to sharing one or two of my own. Most of all, I look forward to us spending some time together and discerning – spending some time thinking about what is it specifically that God might be calling us to in the future?
This time has been very rich. It's been challenging and it has been full of blessings. And one thing I am certain of – God is doing a work among us and is preparing us to be the church that God needs us to be, going forward. I look forward to talking with you soon.