Dr. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, wrote a popular essay in the NYTimes a few months back which named a pandemic mood familiar to many. “It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.” Clearly, he struck a chord, as he heard from a number of readers. “I’ve never seen people so enthusiastic about discussing their lack of enthusiasm.”
Recently, as things have begun to reopen, Dr. Grant followed up with another observation: that many of us are rediscovering the kind of joy that can only be experienced together, moments of ‘collective effervescence’. “It’s a concept,” Grant writes, “coined in the early 20th century by the pioneering sociologist Émile Durkheim, to describe the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.” I have certainly experienced this effervescence as we resume our Sunday services. And I’d add to the mix the Spirit, which is palpable when we sing and pray together!
We continue our holy recovery at Dayspring this month when traditional Sunday School classes resume in-person on Step-Up Sunday, August 8. Our Cherub, Children and Youth Choir rehearsals resume in-person on August 11. Of course, safety measures will be in place for all, but I know the children are chomping at the bit to be together again to learn and sing and grow in the faith. Our handbells will start rehearsals on August 17 and our adult choir on September 1. We trust all choir members over 12 will be vaccinated.
While staff members are in and out throughout the week, the church office will reopen for limited hours on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30 – 12:30, starting August 2. (The office will continue to be supported virtually during the rest of the week.) Our Reopening Task Force, in accordance with conference guidelines, has determined that third-party groups may use the campus after Labor Day. So groups like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and A.A. will soon return.
As we begin taking our first cautious steps in public – vaccinated and vigilant, and watchful of the spread of variants – we are rediscovering what we may have taken for granted: family reunions, a shared table, travel, workplace camaraderie, in-person gatherings. I hope, along the way, moments of collective effervescence will break through our languishing as we move through the pandemic into holy recovery!