News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
In the past 24 hours several people have asked about when and how we’ll return to weekly worship services on our physical campus.
Inherent in the question is the affirmation that, throughout these 10 weeks of stay-at-home during the epidemic, our church never closed. We transitioned to new ways of being church – both that we had to learn and that were always around and we simply had to choose.
Those include conference calls for classes and worship using zoom. Digital prayers recorded and offering through our website. Creative care packages created by our community members to remind each of us that we matter and are loved. Responding to the hungers of Oakland in making food in our diverse kitchens and serving hot-to-go-meals on the sidewalk. Partnering with our faith family at Primera Iglesia and the selling of tamales, to help create work for those who have lost theirs and have no other recourse for earning a living.
In our Presbyterian organization of the church, it’s the session – the group of our democratically elected elders – who make any and all decisions around worship in and for our community. This is of course highly impacted by the voice of the pastor, the principal employee of the church. The session meets on the fourth Thursday of each month to do their work of reflection, discernment and decision-making to guide our church community and staff in the implementation of our vision and commitment to the mission of Jesus in the world.
We have decided to stay the course with the stay-at-home policy to not gather physically in our building at College Avenue for public worship until our session, in conversation with data, evidence and perspectives from community members implicated in medicine and social-services can help us make an informed and wise decision.
We are aware that we all want to be together, in proximity, exchanging hugs and catching up, checking in and celebrating life together – in particular over a cup of coffee or around a table. And we also hold the sensitivity that we need to pay to the needs of our community members who are at high-risk in terms of COVID-19 because of age or health histories.
While we’re not yet to that space and place in terms of safety and security, we look forward to the day when we can gather together in person – not just through screens and the gift of technology. And as we move towards that day – whether it be soon or long-off – we can reflect on all that we discovered about ourselves, the deepening of our community, and our reflections on what it means to be the church not just go to church in this time of social distancing to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
We will continue worshipping, gathering, studying, organizing and praying together on Zoom. May our virtual togetherness and concrete actions responding to the needs of our neighbor remind us to have the courage to be at peace, because God has not left us alone.
See you Sunday at 10:30am on Zoom!