The blueprints that guide our ministry over the next months will change as together we build something new. If we had a vaccine today, our lives would still not return to the way they were before Covid. We long to see each other in person, and yet in this Covid era, we have uncovered new ways of connecting through technology and renewed the call to resist and overcome oppressive systemic injustice.

Ezra tells the story of people rebuilding after captivity and exile. In Ezra 3, the priests blow trumpets and sound cymbals to unveil the plans for rebuilding the temple. The people praised God upon seeing the foundations for future ministry being laid. However, Ezra notes that those who had once stood inside the first temple wept.

It is okay to weep and to rejoice as we unroll our ministry blueprints and remake our lives five months into a global pandemic. Indeed, Jesus would one day visit that rebuilt temple every year of his life. History tells us that the synagogue movement that nurtured Jesus and shaped the church developed during the exile!

I hope you are engaging in the spiritual practices of online worship, searching the scriptures, daily prayer, online spiritual community, and acts of service. These tools will sustain you during this exile.   

Our ministry leaders are thinking, praying, and planning for ministry in an unprecedented season. We offer the attached blueprints for our ministry to sustain us and guide our practice over the coming days. We will modify the blueprints when better news arrives, but for now please know our ministry leaders and staff members are deeply focused on how we can do ministry in this particular moment. Click here to view the blueprints now.

And so, in a season of exile, we offer our tears and our rejoicing, striving to be the church together. Perhaps, our 2020 exile will teach us new ways of faithfulness, connection and service to God and neighbor.