Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness calling and free,
Spirit, Spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.
—James K. Manley
It is hard to believe that many have now been sheltering in place for four months—fully one third of a year! Even for those with the security of a home it has been challenging. Being separated from loved ones has been painful, especially not being able to visit those in the hospital. Never mind the everyday missed social contact of dinner parties, get-togethers, and the like.
When we suspended all on-campus ministries mid-March, it would have been inconceivable that we still would not be gathering in August. Indeed, plans were made early on to postpone our special music offerings for Palm Sunday and Easter to Pentecost on May 31st, confident that we would have restored in-person gatherings by then.
Yet here we are.
Dayspring has adapted in these extraordinary circumstances. Our online Sunday celebrations receive solid viewership (500+ households weekly). The team of care callers keeps Dayspring connected and conveys the Prayers of the People to our community. Participation and stewardship remain strong; indeed, Dayspring generously supports ongoing missions and has added special initiatives, like water for the Navajo Nation, PPE for medical professionals, and supplies for Justa Center. Our staff and various teams and groups meet regularly by Zoom. Pastor Joel and Amy offer a weekly class on Facebook and Pastor Shirley continues to provide spiritual direction through online opportunities. David hosts a weekly Zoom meeting for choir members and others interested in music. Emily and her team of 25 volunteers created an online VBS, and Julie directed youth and children’s virtual choir anthems for our services. We received our confirmation class on Pentecost via Zoom, and just offered our first membership orientation online—with one newcomer who has only experienced Dayspring virtually!
As the expression goes, “The building may be closed, but the church remains open!”
We all yearn for the time when we can gather again in person. And we will—just as soon as it is safe to do so. Our Re-opening Task Force, led by Trustees’ Chair Jim Chamness, has been meeting to adapt guidelines from our annual conference in conjunction with the CDC, so that we are prepared to open our campus in good order. In the meantime, rest assured that Dayspring’s vision to transform the church and the world into a full expression of Christ’s inclusive love is alive and well!
Friends, we are on a mission to make God’s world more peaceful, just, compassionate and inclusive—even if we are presently limited to the phone, the internet, and prayer! God’s work continues; may we be open to the Spirit’s gentle leading.
Grace and peace,