We are going to house The Arc this summer. Not that ark. The Arc . . . of Wilson County.
This organization serves those people in our community who have developmental disabilities, and two summers ago, FCC provided space for their day camp. So, I can speak firsthand to what a remarkable job the staff and volunteers do with these young people.
After a year off due to Covid, it is good to have them returning this summer.
And some of that is what is on my mind. I am thinking about this past year when The
Ark – and pretty much every other group – was absent. When we think about the past year, much of what grieves us is what we personally have missed: family get-togethers, holiday gatherings, favorite restaurants (some of which did not survive), movies and popcorn in a bigscreen theater, workouts at the gym, and much more. As for me, my sabbatical imploded . . .
my modest string of blue ribbons from the county and state fairs for my apple butter was
nipped. And, of course, here at 207 Tarboro St., we have mourned our inability to worship together, to study together, and to eat together. We have been left to care about our sick and homebound from afar, and we have laid some dear friends to rest in cemeteries standing at a distance and forgoing hugs with others who shared the loss. We have missed so much – personally and collectively.
But if we can hit the pause button on that, maybe we can get out of ourselves enough
to recognize that loss which has been more communal. Our building has been something of a ghost town for many of these months, missing not just our folks but missing those who we have welcomed to do good work, even ministry, in this place. Like The Ark . . . and the Girl Scouts . . . and others. Advent/Lenten noon concerts and community worship services went virtual if they happened at all. We have missed hosting Music for Hope and other community concerts. We have shelved our annual summer food drive, and without people passing through the building, our regular food collection has been meager. With schools closed, our schoolyear CHEW program was not possible. Oh, we managed to open the doors for critical blood drives and pulled off a variation of our Christmas Community Lunch, and volunteers have continued to help at the Hope Station food pantry, with the summer CHEW program and elsewhere in the community. But you grasp my point – the loss we have suffered because of the Virus is not just personal but is collective and communal.
You have seen on the front page that we are taking a giant step towards a more normal
church life. I am overseeing this step with some angst and worry, but also with some significant relief . . . with the hopefulness that as our building begins to fill again, our sense of discipleship and commitment to serve and compassion for those given to our care by Christ himself also will swell. I am filled with optimism that First Christian Church is not just open for business, but that we are open for ministry.
So, welcome back to our blessed friends from the Arc. And for the rest of us, remember
to snag a bag of groceries next time you are coming to church. Paint a wall or clean the
kitchen or plant some flowers – whatever you can do to welcome people to FCC. Because if this resumption of church life and activity is only about what we personally have missed in the past year, then why would we think it even matters.
Blessings and Peace,
These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.