*Mask wearing during our church Service is Optional.*
Pastor Leanne's Message for the month of May: “ Lessons Learned“
I thought I came through the worst of the pandemic in fairly good shape. I am an introvert, so for the weeks we were in shut-down, I was pretty comfortable shuffling around the house with a very bored Audrey. Early in the experience, I decided just to follow CDC advice as I would my family doctor’s. I wore the hot itchy mask until I got to the point that I would forget I had it on. And with a great worship team like Debi, Arvy, Gail, Lael and Josh, Worship on Facebook became familiar, if not a little lonely. I got used to zoom. We kept the church office open, so I still saw people on a daily basis.
And then… we cancelled Easter Worship because of a snow storm. I have been in the paid ministry in the church since 1979, and I have never cancelled a worship service before. Once in Georgia, I admit, we held Sunday School all sitting on the floor of the men’s room as a tornado passed overhead. But we were there, and when it cleared, we entered the sanctuary and worshipped. Yet this Easter of 2022, the entrances to the church lot were impassible and many streets had not been plowed – just getting from the car to the church door was going to be a potentially dangerous challenge, the streets had slick, fresh snow on them and we decided that for the well-being of all, we should cancel.
My reaction? I got really blue. Inordinately sad. Gone was the Leanne of my childhood, when a snow day was a treat or an adventure, a special day of freedom God sneaks into an over regimented schedule. After the prior week of early spring snow keeping me home, I missed worship, and I got sad. It was sort of like being dropped suddenly with a big thud, just when one thought one would soon be soaring from the heights. It felt like a punch that came suddenly, out of nowhere. I was surprised at myself, but I have since learned that some of you felt it too.
And the thing I realized during the Easter cancellation was this: my sadness was not just about Easter. It was about the whole season of pandemic – about false starts and stops, about the constant need to adapt and improvise, about uncertainty. It was harder on me than I thought. Leaving the pandemic behind is more urgent to me than I realized. And yet, nobody can tell us if it is really finishing up, or if there will be a new variant and new protocols needed. How frail our human spirits are! We need predictability, ritual, schedules, and each other, or we are easily thrown off track.
I tell you this for a reason – not just because I want you to know that I missed you all on Easter – because I did! I tell you this because, since the pandemic, many people just haven’t gotten their “umpf” back. There is still a low-lying lethargy or dulled motivation for some – suicidal thoughts and depression have been on the rise nationally. What we went through was major – a disruption to our daily lives, our safety zones, our economy and our public discourse. Yet we are all expecting ourselves and others to bounce back quickly. It is entirely possible to be going along well, and then, for no discernable reason, find oneself feeling sad, unmotivated or even mad. The lesson learned, then, is to give yourself and others time to recover from our national trauma, to stay self-aware enough to realize where the sadness comes from and to take whatever measures are necessary to deal responsibly with it.
As for me… I am alright. Just recognizing WHY I was so sad actually helped lift me out of the doldrums. And it was a good reminder about how much I value our common worship and the familiarity of the faces with whom I worship. But… if you find there are days when you are struggling, show yourself a lot of grace, reach out to someone you really like, and stay aware of those who might be needing your company as they are regaining their footing after the last two years of struggle. Let’s be church for one another, by being there for one another and showing grace to all!
The Scholarship Committee of First Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of scholarships for our church community. To be eligible for consideration to receive a scholarship, a student must be an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck or must have been an active participant in the life of First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck for at least three years. The awards are given for students at any level of study beyond high school. Four years is the maximum for receiving scholarships: these need not be consecutive years. Graduate students may apply for scholarships, providing they are within the four year maximum. The deadline to apply is May 13th, 2022.
DO YOU HAVE A NEED?
ARE YOU WILLING TO HELP?
We encourage you to continue to love your neighbor well at this time. Hebrews 13:16 challenges us to “do what is good and to share, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Thank you for being the Church.
Are you in need of assistance that you can not get help? Email firstpresbyterian@fpcbismarck or call 701-223-6091 and let us know how we can help.
WAYS TO GIVE:
For those who are unable to worship with us in church, here are a few ways that you can continue to give:
1. Online bill pay with your banking institution.
2. Click on the "Give Now" button above to donate today.
3. Mail checks to First Presbyterian Church, 214 E Thayer Ave, Bismarck, ND 58501.
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is a Community called to love God through Worship and Prayer, receiving and serving our neighbors with the compassion of Christ, open to new beginnings and the spiritual growth of children, youth and adults.
We are open for church services and we welcome you all to come worship together again. You can visit with us or tune in at 10:00 a.m. every Sunday to our Live Feed on Facebook
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Together, we will continue to make progress and come out strong.