Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
It is hard to believe that our summer is almost over. It is even harder to believe that this new normal of COVID-19 has been affecting our lives for over 6 months now. But you and I continue in this time and space to be God’s church!
I wanted to take this time to share with you some updates and some thoughts. Jim Ranney will be beginning his seminary studies in just about a week now. Plans are moving forward to have the Synod confer with the church councils to come up with a contract for Jim to be the Two Steeples TEAM Pastor. That contract will be put before the congregation (virtually, I would imagine) for approval. Once that happens, within the next month or so, Jim will become your pastor, or in the language of the TEAM ministry – your vicar. He will take on all the responsibilities for ministry at Two Steeples. And Loren and I will end our duties as your interim pastors. Though we are happy to say that we will be acting as mentors to Jim.
By the time you read this, our synod will have met virtually (Aug. 29), to select a new bishop for the South Central Synod of the ELCA. The synod date and style has changed many times over the summer as the COVID crisis has not abated. We will let you know who our new bishop is as soon as we are able.
I also want to give a very heartfelt thank you to our leadership at Two Steeples, especially Springdale. Thanks to their hard work and initiative they have made sure that we had the tools to continue to be the church. Kay Midthun has been doing a great job with our website. Mary Arnold has been doing a wonderful job taking care of our Facebook page. Many thanks to Mike Reynolds, who coordinated virtual meetings for us and has now set up our Webex account and is working with us to record worship services for the congregation. Mike, John Arnold and the Car Show Committee spent much time and energy in deciding how the car show could continue this year with COVID. It turned out to be a Car Cruise! I hope you had a chance to see the cars cruise by. Loren and I did. It was not only great to see all the cars but to see the smiles on all the faces as we waved and honked our horns at each other.
Our Comeback & Renewal Team has had the task of trying to make plans about how and when we can reopen the churches. It has been a difficult task with information changing as quickly as plans are being discussed. But they have been using the scientific data we have received from Dane County, our synod, and the Wisconsin Council of Churches and have done a wonderful job. The Wisconsin Council of Churches has advised us all to put things on hold for the time being. So many churches are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out with this fluid situation. That makes it even more important that we can now record our worship services for you to watch! We are also planning a drive-in service for September 13! More on that as we get closer to the date.
Finally, thank you, thank you, thank you, to Jim Ranney, our partner in ministry. Loren and Jim and I have worked together, brainstormed together, planned together, and laughed at ourselves together as we have tried to meet the challenges of ministry in this time. As you work towards approving Jim as your TEAM minister, Loren and I are confident that you will be in very good hands!
Our church buildings have remained closed since March. But Two Steeples continues to be God’s church in this time and space. Thanks be to God!
Yours in Christ,