COVID-19 Update, Thank You, and Thoughts on the Future
With the dramatic drop in Covid-19 cases/deaths in recent weeks across Oklahoma and new guidelines relaxing mask mandates nationally, I am happy to suggest that the churches of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery should revisit their Covid-19 protocols and work towards easing restrictions, if they have not already.
Beyond that, a few thank you's and thoughts on the road ahead of us:
1) This pandemic has taken an incredible toll on our churches. We have lost families, friends, and colleagues. I think about many of those dead daily. I do not believe we know the full impact of Covid-19 on the church and will not for years to come. I do know that lives were undoubtedly saved by the brave actions of sessions, ministers, and commissioned pastors across this presbytery. From closing the church doors at the beginning of this pandemic to moving to online worship to mask requirements and social distancing, much was sacrificed to protect Christ's children. There will be difficult days ahead as we rebuild ministries and reconnect with communities, but the cost to save lives was worth it. Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ's mission in this world even in difficult times. Thank you for the love you demonstrated towards stranger and friend.
2) Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery is partnering with congregations across the presbytery in that rebuilding process. The strange miracle of this time has been that the pandemic has brought us closer together. It has shown how much we need one another. The presbytery's committees and work groups have been preparing for the rebuilding and renewal that will happen in the days, weeks, and months to come. There is a lot of work to be done, but I look forward to doing that work with you.
3) Consider reaching out to presbytery colleagues in neighboring communities or ministers of other denominations. Now is a great time to renew or begin friendships.
4) There will be a number of opportunities in the coming months to gather, learn, and worship together. Chief among those opportunities is the Tri-Presbytery Meeting that will take place June 3-4 at First Presbyterian Church - Tulsa. Wherever and whatever the opportunity is, I would encourage you to take advantage of these gatherings. They will be excellent occasions to reconnect in-person.
5) As activities ramp up, make every effort to read the EOP News and Notes to make sure you or your church do not miss out on activities.
6) Finally, I am looking forward to visiting churches and reconnecting with colleagues across the presbytery. Please get in touch with me with chances to preach, times to gather for celebrations in your church community, or just moments to sit down for a meal or coffee together.
Rev. Tim Blodgett