Greetings all!  I hope your week is going great!  This week has been a full one already with the session meeting Sunday and the trustees meeting Monday.  Though apart physically, much ministry and discernment continues to take place!  Highlights of the session meeting included time to hear from a community partner member regarding the vision and germination of the Hananiah House — a newly forming interdenominational non-profit halfway house that will serve the needs of women being released from prison.  Personnel reported that our search for a candidate for our updated Minister of Music position is underway after Brian Warford’s resignation last month.  The session also welcomed our new Virtual Ministry Administrator Hayden Taylor who had been helping temporarily after Church Administrator Travis Williams had to step away from his responsibilities due to vocational changes caused by the CoVid pandemic.  As it no longer is looking like Travis will be able to return to work, an alternative plan for administrative responsibilities had to be worked out this past month and we are excited Hayden was open to joining our staff to continue the great job he had been doing! 

In addition to sharing concerns and prayers for the congregation on Sunday, the session also had extensive discussion and discernment about how we can reopen for in person ministry this fall.  The Reopening Team has been working the past few months to work out details to return safely to in person worship.  We take seriously that approximately 90% of our congregation is in CoVid’s high risk category being over the age of 65 or having underlying health conditions — we are the ones our city’s leaders and physicians are recommending to remain safer at home still except for essential services while the threat of CoVid continues to be as present among us as it is.  I say we because I too am in the high risk category as one with asthma.  I know what an adjustment it has been to remain home:  ordering groceries online, connecting with family and close friends through virtual means, being extra careful to sanitize and stay six feet from others, and work from home hour after hour and day after day.  Nonetheless, we shall come back together for worship!  Plans are continuing to be worked on to begin if Metro has entered Phase 3 on Sunday, 20 September in the sanctuary at 10:30 a.m.  As soon as full details are in place, we will notify you and be sure you are ready to attend when you feel it is safe for you.  We also are making plans to live stream worship when we are back in person and do encourage those who are high risk to remain at home to worship with the congregation through this means until Metro’s reopening phases recommend full re-entry for those who are high risk. 

On Sunday, the session also approved a recommendation from the trustees to move forward with the possibility of serving the Hillwood community by selling to Piedmont Gas a small part of the front yard for a deep anode well to be installed for gas lines serving the entire neighborhood to be retained.  If the plans are favorable to the Presbytery, the congregation will be asked to consider this possibility at a called Congregational Meeting to be held when needed.  The trustees also met with the church’s insurance agent this week and did a thorough review of our insurance policy, which comes due for renewal in January.  This summer the trustees and session also worked together to file required property tax exemption forms, revise property use forms, and ensure liability waivers are ready for using the soccer field.  We continue to connect with our community partners and listen for ways we may be able to further our ministry to benefit others of the community.  

Full days for sure!  I hope you too are finding ways to keep yourself filled so you are connected deeply to God, others, and your true self!  

Blessings for the rest of the week and see you Sunday for worship in the virtual world!!!

Pastor Jule