Good day siblings in Christ,
I (and the other Tappen Zee Conference clergy) had a meeting with Bishop Egensteiner this morning about some of the challenges to being church and clergy right now. It was a good conversation to have out loud, so to speak. It won’t ease difficulties, but it is important to name things sometimes.
Churches across the board right now are operating way below pre-Covid in terms of worship participants and volunteer time. There is no real single reason for it, but rather it has been something that has been coming and Covid just hit the Fast Forward button on it. At Our Saviour we are not in panic mode quite yet, but if there were an alarm bell, we might be moving a little closer to it. We are now feeling what almost every church and not-for-profit is feeling right now. This was part of the discussion with the Bishop.
As for the pastoral role, many pastors have had to make huge decisions which could very well be life or death decisions at times. Some have not taken any kind of break in a very long time and if they do, there is almost no one to cover the church for Sunday worship. Some pastors are also covering for staff who have moved to reduced hours or have been let go.
Let’s just say, it has not been an easy time in the church recently and that also was part of our discussions. It was a sobering day today, but what is important is the proclamation of the Gospel and the mission to the community. No matter what happens, that is always the most important thing.