Letters from Rev. Butter Regarding Church Services
Letter to WVC May 19, 2020
Dear Village Church,
As Governor Baker begins the reopening process for our state, many of you have asked questions and shared ideas for reopening WVC. I know we yearn to be together for worship, fellowship, and ministry when it is safe and practicable. I am aware that this week the Governor has said churches can open at 40% capacity. That said, I am not ready to reopen WVC for public worship or gatherings until we discern it is in the best interest and well-being of all. For now and the foreseeable future, worship will be remote and small groups and meetings will continue to gather on-line.
I am working with Moderator Leif Hille to appoint a Re-opening Advisory Task Force to advise the Moderators, Council and Staff on safest and best practices, to establish protocols, and to help us plan our own phased reopening, hopefully this fall. Their work in the coming months will be guided by our particular context and concerns. This timing will allow us to be informed by what the summer brings in the way of community health.
I am in close touch with the Sr. Clergy of our sister congregations in Wellesley and with leaders in the United Church of Christ. All whom I have talked with at this point have also decided to stay closed through August, and some even beyond.
The feedback from our community is that WVC's remote worship is surprisingly nourishing and our on-line groups and meetings keep us well-connected even as we continue to observe distancing precautions. That is our hope! The staff and I also hope we can imagine some creative outdoor gatherings that could safely convene later in the summer.
I am heartened by all the ways God's Spirit is alive among us, keeping us connected, and, in the words of our vision and mission statements, inspiring us to boldly re-imagine our faith journey together. Through innovative worship, intimate communities, and inter-generational ministry, the Spirit continues to deepen our faith and compel us to service in God's beautiful and broken world.
With gratitude for the strength, flexibility, patience, and perseverance of our community of faith and prayers for the well-being of all,
Rev. Dr. Sarah Sarchet ButterSr. Pastor, Wellesley Village Church
Letter to WVC March 13, 2020
Grace and peace to you in the name of Christ.
The Moderators and Pastoral staff have been in close conversation over the last few days, discussing the rapidly evolving public health response to Covid-19. This afternoon we made the decision to suspend worship and all on-site gatherings at WVC. This is in keeping with our policy to close when Wellesley Public Schools close, a practice usually enacted for safety on snow days. In this case, we are enacting a closure to protect one another and to participate in shared efforts to contain and limit the spread of virus.
I'm grateful to my talented colleagues who have come up with a plan to create a streamed or recorded worship experience that you will be able to experience from home with the help of technology. (Learn more here!) Please watch for an Enews that will include a worship bulletin and a link. You are invited to follow along, sing along, pray along, and worship along from wherever you most safely can. You may wish to watch the video on Sunday morning knowing many of your fellow church members are as well, or at another time that is convenient for you.
We are all learning how to respond, practice precaution on behalf of our own health and that of others, adapt, and adjust. Please check on your neighbors and friends,
The Pastoral staff will continue to be available to you as needed-- please reach out to any one of us by email or by phone at any time. We are always happy for conversation with you and look forward to touching base in any way-- it does not need to be an emergency. Next week we will discuss creative ways to keep our community connected.
I would like to lift up our Moderator team, Leif Hille, Cynthia Sibold, and Lori Bruce. They have been in constant contact with me and in unceasing prayer for you and for the leadership of our church. Leif invites you to please be in touch with him, or Cynthia, or Lori on any matters of congregational concern or with regards to boards and ministries.
Finally, as a Christian community, now is a time to increase our attention to prayer and care for one another.
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need."
Romans 12: 10-13 NIV
Please know that your church is here for you and will remain a strong resource for spiritual strength and encouragement in these uncertain times.
With faith, hope, and love,
Rev. Dr. Sarah Sarchet Butter
cell phone: 847-716-0378