Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!"
Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O LORD.
- Psalm 4:6
First, I'm happy to report that we have been approved for a government grant through the Paycheck Protection Program. This will cover two months' salary for all our employees during this uncertain time. But know as well that our pledge base remains strong. If you find that you cannot continue to pay your pledge at the rate you had intended, please go ahead and submit a fresh pledge. Your clarity will help us tremendously.
I continue to pray daily about what it means to be the Church when we can't be near each other. I often wonder, "When will we get back to normal?" But I've come to understand that "normal" is only ever a nostalgic illusion, because change is the water we swim in. We are being changed through this crisis, and God is present in whatever changes lead us to love God and one another more fully.
Nevertheless, it is right to wonder, for instance, when we will be able to resume worship in person, in our own building. So I'm excited to share with you two documents from our bishop's office.
The first is a basic four-phase approach for reopening. If you've seen Governor Inslee's plan, you'll notice that this look familiar -- and that is because it is patterned after it. Bishop Greg hopes that they will mirror each other well. We are still in Phase 1. We will not move to Phase 2 until (1) the governor, (2) the bishop, and (3) our own vestry agree that it is time to do so. We can give you no timeline.
The second is a full planning document for the phased reopening. Read it if you are especially interested, but know that it can feel rather daunting. As I put it to the vestry last night, Phase 1 is the easy part. We know that we just need to stay away from each other as much as possible! When we begin to reemerge, all sorts of ethical dilemmas will emerge, and already many in our society want to rush this process. I urge you to keep looking to the scientific experts. To whatever degree politicians play a vital role, I will only listen to those who demonstrate that they listen to and follow the advice of those experts.