Dear Friends and Members of Ark and Dove,
"Let your prayer be frequent and brief," said the 4th/5th century Christian monk, John Cassian. I have been following Cassian's counsel, especially this week. On Tuesday, my Elias was off to preschool and I said many frequent and brief prayers. As I talked and heard from the parents of this church about their children off to school, I said several short prayers. I did the same as I remembered our teachers. And as I ran around a growing number of children and youth waiting at bus stops, I offered some quick prayers. The beginning of the school year is exciting and I pray it is fulfilling, but I am also praying for the safety of our children and teachers as they connect in a learning environment.
Connections are increasingly important. Several members and visitors have been returning to church in-person and it has been so wonderful to see one another. I imagine that joy is what many children and youth are experiencing this week. Safety is also our priority as we gather in person. This Sunday we will start something new to safely connect in person, while wearing masks. Upon entering the church, you will be able to choose from three nametags on which you can write your name. These nametags will tell others how comfortable you are connecting in the church building. Choose red if you require maximum social distance. Choose yellow if you are ok with an elbow bump. Choose green if a handshake is fine by you. There is nothing to be embarrassed about by what color you choose. We hope this is a measure to avoid any situation where you could compromise your comfort.
Our Session, Deacons, Staff, and ministry teams are praying to find safe ways to connect during this season. That is my same prayer for schools--that children and youth can forge healthy connections while maximizing safety and health. Speaking of prayer, I hope that you will join us outside on Sunday for a Mythbusters-type class on prayer.