From Deacon George …

Information Underload

Have you ever (of course you have) felt like you are being bombarded with too much information? Perhaps you are feeling that way right now, with the intensity of “breaking news” focused on the COVID 19 pandemic, the crazy weather, the imminent local, state and national election, the need for each of us to vote, and the daily regimen of political distractions and posturing. We are neck-deep, it seems, in “information overload” and it can be wearisome.

But imagine, if you will, what it might be like for us to live in an absence of all that information, with all that affects us going on without our knowing anything about it. I know, you may be thinking, “Well, actually, that would be pleasant, a nice break, a chance to look inward, perhaps a time to catch up on my own life.” 

I don’t disagree. But allow me to put this into a perspective that touches everyone reading this message: Here at St. John’s Church, many of us have been taking that break; we have been sheltered, catching up on our personal stuff; we have drifted away from our faith community and so much of what it offers to us. And I submit to you that we have been guilty of, not Information Overload, but rather, Information Underload.  

While we have told ourselves and others that “the church is not closed, we have just been deployed,” we have not taken time to tell each other what that deployment involves. We are either off doing our many ministries fervently by ourselves or we are not doing them at all. But the problem is, we are not keeping in touch, we have not been doing our best to keep each other informed that the church – our church – is indeed functioning and doing some very important things as we live out our call to be the hands and feet of God in His Kingdom on earth.

That said, I pledge to you that, from this moment forward, out Shared Ministry Team will be focusing on keeping you informed about all the actions, activities, plans and proposals that make up the many ongoing ministries at St. John’s Church. You will find more detailed information on upcoming events in future issues of the eNews, you will receive a limited number of special e-mailings concerning the more important events and opportunities, and there will be more opportunities for you to participate in our ministries and get reacquainted with your sisters and brothers in Christ. Here is what is going on at this moment –

Ministry & Social Justice

This week, our Missional Ministry & Social Justice committee met and reported on several ongoing and active ministries that affect folks across the St. Cloud community. It was at this meeting that our Information Underload concerns were first discussed. Leaders of our Info Tech, Youth Faith Formation and Clergy ministries were also present for this discussion, so I am confident that there will be a positive correction in our information distribution and in opportunities for you to get involved at your own pace and desire. Please know that all Missional Ministries are active including providing lunches to the homeless, nurturing our Starfish resident, sustaining the community garden, providing anti-racism book studies appropriate for our youth and more.

Adult Faith Formation

Next week, the Adult Faith Formation committee will meet and have the same discussion. Fortunately, our sudden physical plant closing last winter left us with several undelivered Faith Formation programs, all ready to go. We will discuss how we will fine tune them to present them in an effective virtual format, in addition to adding some new relevant topics to our curriculum. 

Youth Faith Formation

As noted above, our youth will very soon be engaged with age-specific conversations around anti-racism via several excellent books curated by our adult leaders. Our Youth Minister, Betsy Hoover, is in personal contact with the youth individually and reports that they are anxious to be involved with programs offered by the church.

Sunday Worship

I am so glad to report that, beginning this Sunday, we welcome the return of our supply clergy team at our Zoom Spiritual Eucharist services. We look forward to re-experiencing their unique styles, wisdom and preaching prowess. I do hope that, if you have been worshiping elsewhere on the internet, you will join us again as we strive to offer the kind of worship that works for you. And, God willing and the ECMN approves our grant request, we hope to be offering livestreamed Sunday services followed by Zoom coffee hours soon.

It’s Your Move

So, that’s what I know. Now, where do you come in? If you are leading a ministry, keep us all advised of your plans, accomplishments, ideas and challenges. Use email when appropriate, but always provide content to the church office for inclusion in the eNews, website and social media. If you are looking to attend or participate, always read the eNews and any special e-mails, know the ministry leaders and keep in contact with them and – this is really helpful – attend Sunday Zoom worship and the coffee hour that follows, where questions are asked and answered, and where concerns are voiced and heard. And above all,

Have a Blessed Week!
Deacon George

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