September’s “From the Pastor”: The Healing Power of Creation

Dear friends in Christ,

Last September, we celebrated the Season of Creation in worship, and even though everything else about worship has changed since that time, we are preparing to do the same this year. Last year we focused on Universe, Ocean, Storm, and Animals, but this year the Sundays are Forest Sunday (September 6), Land Sunday (September 13), Wilderness Sunday (September 20) and River Sunday (September 27). Our readings, liturgy, and the hymns for online worship will reflect these different elements of creation and how the Spirit speaks to us through each one of them. (I have not yet decided if we will try to do a Blessing of the Animals on October 4. Stay tuned!)

It strikes me that being outdoors and in nature is one of the most widespread ways we have found to resume daily life in the midst of COVID-19 ties. Fresh air and a good breeze disperse the virus particles to a point where we are less likely to be infected. I know several of you who are attending Sunday worship in-person have mentioned to me how much you have enjoyed catching up outside after worship concludes. Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that being outside is good for us. Spending time in creation seems to be a healing experience, not only for our souls but for our bodies as well!

We’ll take some time to hear about how God has worked through these different aspects of creation to shape the salvation story. For the online service, I’ll be bringing you children’s messages from some unique locations that connect to each part of creation. We’ll also be sharing different ways to care for these parts of creation in your daily lives.

Of course, the other worship experience I am really looking forward to this month will be our drive-in worship service for Sunday, September 13! My seminary classes did not cover “how to preach from the bed of a pickup truck,” but that’s what I’m learning now. As it is also God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday, we’ll have a food drive for the Verona Food Pantry until 12 noon in the parking lot (thank you to the Sandefer family for your leadership in this effort). I also hope to incorporate an element of “back to school” blessing for all students and teachers, whether classes are in-person or online. Your understanding is appreciated as we experiment with these new ways to be together and worship God.

I also have several news items to share with you as your pastor:

  • Staff Anniversaries: Please join me in thanking our staff members who are celebrating work anniversaries this month: Anthony Dangler, six years (last month—my apologies for missing it); Kathy Piemonte, five years, and Linda Hartman, twenty-one years!

  • Communion schedule: We are tentatively going to move forward with celebrating Communion on the first and third Sundays of each month for both in-person and online worship, as long as we are able to source the pre-packaged Communion cups and wafers. If you would like Communion bread recipes to use at home, please check the August Chatter or reach out to me and I’ll be happy to send some to you. You can also do a Google search and start experimenting.

  • Virtual VBS: In the second half of August, families with young kids who were on our St. Peter’s list and on our VBS list from 2019 were given bags of activities and videos on five different Bible stories were posted online. Families are encouraged to watch the videos and engage the suggested activities at their own pace. Unfortunately we are now out of activity bags, but the videos are still available on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. If this is something you would like in the future, please let me know as we may turn this into a monthly version of “Sunday School at home.”

  • Worship Survey: After we experience the drive-in service on September 13, I will be posting an online survey in our weekly emails and on Facebook, etc. in order to hear from you all about what type of worship you would be most likely to engage with in the next 3-4 months. I realize nothing is quite as good as what we had before, but we also want to make wise and informed decisions going forward.

Together in Christ,
Pastor Katie Yahns

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