by Rev. Dale Azevedo, Sr. Minister          –         Aug 6, 2020

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12:27)

It struck me the week after I returned from vacation. Here I was returning to work, to my church family, and I wasn’t going to get to see any of you. What kind of homecoming is that?

That was the first time it really hit me that I miss you all. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed seeing you all, laughing, teaching, sharing, hugging, worshiping, serving, etc from the beginning of the pandemic. But I also had a lot to focus on to keep me busy and keep the church moving forward. In addition, I was meeting regularly (virtually, of course) with the staff, our teams, the deacons, and all our special groups currently working. But it was last week that it really hit me how much I missed seeing EVERYONE. There a so many of you that I haven’t seen or spoken to since February! That’s a long time, and I miss you.

I have to believe that I am not alone in this, that there are many of us who are missing each other. Heck, it may be getting so bad that we may even be missing the people at church that we don’t even like all that much! (You know that’s true don’t you? We may love each other but that doesn’t mean we always like each other!) Anyway, it really got me thinking about community and connection. Community is a MAJOR part of what BCCUCC is all about. Worshiping and serving God is why we come together, but there are many places we can do those things. We do it HERE because of the community.

So what does it mean to be a community during a worldwide pandemic? How do we remain connected to one another?

As I thought about this last week, it occurred to me that our connection to one another comes from three different ministries:

  • Worshiping together (and this includes all the socializing and greeting that happens on Sunday morning)
  • Serving on Ministry Teams together (believe it or not, this helps build community)
  • Serving in mission to the community together (including social justice events)

These three ways are the three most important ways that BCCUCC builds community and connection between our membership. And sadly, we are doing very little of these three right now. Our ministry teams are meeting, but only virtually. And while that counts for something, it is different than meeting in-person. Just about all of our outreach and mission programs have been suspended and we are doing only a bit social justice work (Our Black Lives Matter rallies being the exception). Finally many of you come to worship online, but that misses out on so much of our social connections that usually happens around worship. These items are working to keep a handful of us engaged and connected. But what about everyone else? What about the vast majority of our church that are not currently on a committee or don’t have the technology to meet? Are we staying connected to them?

I think the answer calls for creativity. This is not  the first time the global church has faced challenges. When the Christians have faced persecution through the ages and couldn’t meet openly, they didn’t give up and pack it in. They became creative and found meaningful ways to meet, remain connected, and support one another. When the church has been affected by plagues or war, again it adapted. It changed. It found ways to Be the Church that may have been vastly different than what they had been during “normal” times. We need to get creative.

Currently, Andrea and Linda are looking at new ways of holding Church school for our kids. Linda and I are working with the worship technology team to increase engagement in worship once the fall comes around. But what else could we be doing? Some churches have set up small cell groups that meet regularly either in-person or virtually. Some churches are holding small intimate worship services outside only allowing a handful of people to come and only for a short time. I’m sure there are other ideas. Truthfully, the answers are probably limitless if we bring our minds together and let God work through our common bonds. Imagine what we could come up with.

The reality is, though, that no matter what we come up with, it will take many of us to make it happen. The staff can help organize, support, and bring resources, but we need each another to come together and build our connections during this unique time. What do you say? Are you interested?

I have scheduled a Zoom meeting for Wednesday, Aug 12, at 7pm for an open discussion and brainstorming session on this topic. I do ask that you RSVP to dale@bccucc.org so that we can properly prepare for the number of attendees to make sure the meeting is fruitful. If we are a large meeting, we will utilize Zoom breakout rooms for some of the session so everyone will get a chance to be a part of the process. The link to the Zoom meeting is going out in the email and snail mail versions of this blog so be sure to check your mail. If you do not get it, then please call or email the church office for the necessary information.

Together we will remain connected, strong, faithful, and relevant.