Dear Evergreen Family,
“Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town” (Ezra 2:1).
One of the most important events in biblical history is the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. For the faithful, it was like the world had ended but then restarted.
That’s bigger than what we’re going through. Still, there are elements that we share in common. We’ve been in an exile of sorts for over a year now. We’ve been displaced in many areas of our lives. We’ve certainly been displaced from Evergreen. The Jewish exiles received a decree from King Cyrus of Persia telling them they could go home. You and I got a correspondence from the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church this week. This correspondence gives us the green light to implement three important changes for our church:
1. Live music is back at the indoor 10:00 a.m. service! Just like everyone else attending that service, the musicians, including the singers, will be masked. While we will continue to keep all required safety precautions in place, this is a great step toward vibrant worship once again!
2. Masks are now optional at the outdoor 9:00 a.m. service if you’ve been vaccinated. The church will rely on the “honor system” rather than asking for proof of vaccination. For those who haven’t yet attended this service, please know that it’s easy to find a place to sit 30 or 40 feet away from the nearest person if that best fits your comfort level. Also, many attendees remain in their vehicles. This is yet another great step toward worshipping vibrantly!
3. The Greenhouse reopens on June 6th! Our Sunday morning children’s programming is coming back in stages. Starting June 6th, at the 9:00 a.m. service, there will be an elementary-age class outdoors. At the 10:00 a.m. service, there will be a preschool-age class gathering indoors (then using outdoor space for part of the program). We can’t wait! As Covid conditions and families’ comfort levels continue to improve, we will monitor and make appropriate changes to the Greenhouse.Let’s all rejoice together as we take this next big step in “coming home” to Evergreen!
May God bless us all.
Your Fellow Minister in Christ,