The session met Sunday, 28 June in the virtual world.  As we still are unable to meet in person; we spent time catching up with each other, sharing concerns of the congregation and our lives, listening for God’s word through Scripture readings and reflections, and praying together.  To me, this part of our time together is extra important in these days because major portions of our discussions together include the current ministry and spiritual needs of the congregation and our community partners along with discernment about the next right steps to take regarding in person ministries for the congregation.  We were meeting the very day the mayor’s office was putting into effect the new face mask order because numbers of those testing positive for CoVid has been increasing.  Though other congregations that may be gatherings of those at lower risk for CoVid may be returning to some sort of in person meetings, we know it is not yet time for HPC to be re-opened for in person ministries.  What else can be said other than these are difficult times?  Some are growing impatient.  Others are struggling mightily to stay positive as they are isolated at home.  With so many unknowns ahead, we no longer can live with any sort of illusion that we can be in control of the future.  I hope you are finding ways to trust in the deep wellspring of a God who always is present and who loves us entirely — even when life is difficult.  As people of faith, I pray we each can keep centered in that!

This weekend marks our nation’s celebration of our Independence.  I hope you will take time to give thanks for being a part of a country founded upon the separation of church and state — one of the first such experiments of its kind, thanks be to God, where true religious freedom for all is a unique gift to be treasured.  We are a young nation-state compared to so many first world nations of the world.  We continue to see the struggles to perfect our union — to make right the lack of true freedom for all throughout various times of our history and to find a way to live as a nation open to the strength of diversity.  I’ve been reminded of that mightily as our Book Group spent Tuesday night discussing A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, the horrifying yet hopeful story of three generations of women in one Palestinian family that immigrated to the USA in the latter part of the 20th Century.  We are blessed to live in this great land and we have work to do as citizens of immense privilege in this land.  I encourage you to give thanks this weekend.  Ask God for guidance.  And re-commit to living each day — in all you do and all you say — the highest principles of independence that call us to recognize our essential inter-dependence.  Most of all, continue to put first your commitment to Christ — the One who calls us to follow him on the path of self-giving love!

Peace and love throughout this entire week!

Pastor Jule


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