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 Dear friends,  

I loved Christmas caroling with many of you, some new friends from Lakeview Presbyterian, and even a mom with two young kids who weren’t attached to either church. That family saw our Facebook post about it and decided to join us. What a joy it was to welcome them, to sing out the great good news of Jesus’ birth, to be outside on a lovely evening, to share conversation over hot cider and brownies.  

One of the many challenges of COVID has been that gathering together is much harder to do than it was two years ago. That’s a loss that is hard to describe, but I think we all feel. As the new kid on the block, I yearn for the easier relationship building that comes with informal gatherings. With your deeper and ongoing relationships with one another, I suspect you feel it acutely.  

I think we need to work on finding creative ways to connect – with one another and with people in our community. We still need to attend to COVID realities. We continue to learn about risks associated with the omicron variant, and know that keeping each other as safe as possible is important. We also know that outside is the safest place we can gather together. We are fortunate to live in a place that allows outside gathering in winter, so let’s act on that, and do so with glad and grateful hearts.    

I’ve relished the chance to get to visit with many of you outside at my weekly coffee conversations. We’re singing under the stars. I’d like to expand these type of opportunities in the new year. I know it isn’t how things have been done before, but we are in a new time. We can share meals outside, sometimes have classes outdoors, go for walks and enjoy nature, do mission in God’s good creation.  

I like this for reasons beyond COVID safety, too. As Grace lives into its future ministry, it’ll involve thinking in new ways and reaching some new people. So while I wouldn’t wish this pandemic on anyone, let’s learn from its challenges, stretch our boundaries, and grow together.  

Put your thinking caps on and share your ideas about gathering. Together we may hear a new word from God! And this Sunday, come to Grace at 5 for carol singing, wine sipping, brownie eating, new and old friend greeting. That sounds pretty joyous to me!  

Grace and peace,  

Pastor Kim