The Church Deployed

One of the unexpected blessings of our current situation is to underscore how WE are the Church, not the building. Even though we are not meeting in person for worship and most meetings have gone online, the work of the Church is not diminished.
Zion Church is as active and busy as ever. We are meeting with each other to plan and support each other; just not in person. We are learning new words and new techniques, like Zoom and Live Stream. There are some elements of these online meetings that are lacking, but we are overcoming the impediments. We are still worshiping, by live streaming our services. And we are finding that our live streamed audience is much larger than we would ever see in person in the pews. We know that we are reaching out to people who would not be able to attend in person. We are fulfilling part of our mission as Church by proclaiming the Good News of Christ as broadly as possible. We have worshipers from across the US, and even into other countries. This is wonderful!
Your Zion staff are as busy as ever. We are finding that it takes even more time to plan a Live Stream worship than the in-person events; there are new hurdles for us to achieve. We are still sending out newsletters and emails (like this one), bulletins for worship, and as much additional devotional material as we can find and share. We are working as hard or harder than we were before this time of social isolation.
Zion’s expenses have not diminished much, if at all. Our utility bill might be slightly smaller due to not having Sunday morning crowds, but the difference is tiny. All our staff continue to work their regular hours; and staff account for a large portion of our budget expenses.
Most of you have continued your regular giving; thank you. You are bringing your tithes to the Church office by mail or in person, you are making excellent use of our Website PayPal donation system, and you are continuing to use the Automated Giving option. Thank you! Because of your steadfast stewardship, Zion’s work is continuing without a stumble.
Many of you have also been very generous in designated gifts to the Food Pantry and our Love Fund. Because of your generosity, we were able to increase our gifts of food to each family who came in May. And, you have given us enough extra to be able to give an increased amount of food to families in June, as well. Your love for God is being expressed in the way you love your neighbors.
Thank you, all of you who are continuing to support the work of Zion Church. If you have been a regular giver and have let your giving slip due to not being in worship, will you consider restarting your giving? Some of you have been experiencing reduced or eliminated incomes during this time, and we do not want you to suffer financially to support Zion, but if you can give, please give as you are able. If you have never been a supporter of Zion’s regular budget, would you consider giving an undesignated gift at this time? The funds we receive designated for Love Fund and Food Pantry are used 100% for those purposes; no administrative or staff costs are taken from those gifts. That feels like the most right thing to do, but it does mean other givers support the overhead and staff costs of those programs. As you are able, and as you feel led, please consider how you may contribute.
At this time, I cannot make any guess as to how long it will be before we are able to gather in person again for worship. I am eager for that day, as I am sure you are also, but there is danger in reconvening too soon. The concerted efforts of the entire community are needed to break the chain of infections and quell this pandemic. It is not easy work, it is not work whose effectiveness is easy to document, but it is almost all we have to resist the virus at this time.
Thank you again for all the ways you are continuing to BE the Church as a part of Zion UCC. Know that you are lifted up in thankful prayer regularly. We also yearn for your prayers—for staff, for the continuing work of Zion Church, and for all those front line workers who are taking care of us, and seeing that we have all we need. May God keep them all safe.
Until we are able to meet again in person, God’s blessings be upon you.
Grace and peace,
Brice

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