Jeff was my best friend in high school and a groomsman in my wedding. He and I shared a passion for life. We jumped at opportunities that allowed us to expand our horizons and enrich our life experience. Jeff was an Eagle Scout, a Gulf War hero (shot down in a plane over the ocean, survived and rescued). He worked for the CDC, practiced forensic medicine, and today is a Baptist minister—perhaps the greatest, most perilous adventure of all. (I’m laughing.) One collegiate summer, Jeff traveled to Panama City to work as a sailor. He took tourists on Hobie Kat excursions. Intrigued by this new skill, I asked him to explain how he gets back to shore if the wind is against him. His long answer was an explanation of tacking. His short answer was, “It doesn’t matter which way the wind is blowing, you learn to sail safely to the shore.”
When I was interviewing to become Senior Minister at First Baptist Greenville, the search committee asked me to describe my style of ministry. I remember telling them, “I easily embrace the roles of priest, prophet and pastor, but I’m a lousy politician.” I have never been one to stick my finger up, check the wind, and go with the clouds or the crowds. Rather, I gather the people, garner their corporate wisdom and energy, and then do what’s right. It shouldn’t matter which way the wind is blowing. Our goal is safely arrive at shore.
In prior months, we have set two different target dates for regathering for in-person worship. Each time, COVID-19 infection rates have surged causing us to postpone. The Leadership Team (Core Committee chairpersons and deacon officers) has set a new target date for regathering. We are hoping to gather for worship in our Sanctuary in multiple services by reservation, masked and safely distanced, on Sunday, April 18. We also hope to gather in-person on for MidWeek Fellowship Bible Study and Prayer on Wednesday, April 21. Worshipers would be able to register via the church website for either one of the Sunday services or the Wednesday evening service. This will keep numbers low in each service, but give everyone access to at least one service. More details will follow as we approach these dates. Of course, regathering is dependent upon the continued decline of COVID-19 infection rates and increase of vaccine reception.
The wind is blowing in all directions with the discussion of regathering, but we are committed to getting safely to shore. Let’s continue to hope and pray together as we responsibly care for one another and our community.