Rev. Jill Duffield
Senior Pastor

Siblings in Christ,

As we stand on the cusp of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States, I want to take a moment and acknowledge the impact of this reality in our own congregation and community.

At our staff meeting this morning several people shared that family members are sick with the virus, others have lost multiple loved ones to this relentless pandemic, and still others are in self-imposed quarantine out of an abundance of caution.

We also remembered the health care and other frontline workers exhausted from their ongoing role in combating this illness. We lifted up members of our congregation either sick, isolated or grieving. We were reminded of the many facing economic hardship, from food insecure college students to our guests at Hot Dish & Hope.

We could not escape the truth that each number in these daunting statistics represents a person, impacts a family, includes our friends and neighbors. In light of this reality, we wanted to reach out to you and let you know we are praying for relief and seeking ways both ongoing and new to extend care and compassion to all those in need of knowing they are not alone. Please let us know how we can support you.

We invite you to join us in prayer at 5:30 pm today as our church joins other faith communities and organizations across the nation in ringing bells to remember all the lives lost to COVID-19. John Alexander, our Director of Music, will ring our Sanctuary bells.

We offer the prayer below to use in this moment of remembrance and encourage you to use whatever words the Spirit gives you, trusting that Christ right now prays for us.

Loving God, we recognize the depth and breadth of mourning enveloping your creation. We feel the pain of grief within us and all around us. Anxiety and uncertainty pervade our thinking and invade our sleep. We see the spikes moving in the wrong direction on graphs, the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, deaths increasing even as we hope for relief in the days ahead.

We know that this season of isolation and illness will not last forever and yet we also remember that for many nothing will be the same again. We pray comfort for those who grieve, healing for the sick, help for all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit. We lift up to you, God of grace and mercy, the people known to us, our family, friends, and neighbors, who especially need support and encouragement at this time.

May we, the Body of Christ, offer our gifts, whatever they are, however seemingly insignificant or unnoteworthy, for the building up of your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Grant us courage for the living of these days. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Grace and peace,