As we enter the 12th? The 13th? The four hundred and fifty-seventh week of stay at home? Let's stop for a minute. Let's stop and reflect on what we notice is different, really different, in our lives as Episcopalians.
Our Sunday services are different. Our buildings are closed. Our choirs are not singing, at least in church. There is no offering plate being passed. No shared food at coffee hour.
Everything is different. Sunday services have moved online. Many churches have expanded their services to prayers and services throughout the week. Choirs are stilled for now but many church musicians are finding ways to make music. We're learning new habits of giving even without a church offering plate (at least a physical one) and we're certainly working at keeping community going through Zoom, phone calls, and prayer chains.
Everything is different, but God's love for us is the same.
So as we think about the work ahead in Stewardship this year, we can't pretend that it won't be challenging. It will be. This will not be the year that anyone can expect to pull out last year's files and just repeat the formula. (Honestly that was not a good idea last year). It really won't work in 2020: Everything is different.
And that's good. It means we can focus on the important things, the things that have become so crystal clear to us through the last few months. Let's focus on how much we value our church family. Let's focus on the joy of finding worship and community in unexpected (and virtual) places. Let's focus on the ways God and God's love keep showing up in our lives.
Those of us in Stewardship roles at our churches have gotten a gift --a gift that is also a great big wakeup call. Let's take the time to recognize how everything is different, and how God's love for us is the same. Let's share those stories now, and as we look forward.