This article may also be found in the 2020 Annual Report of the Congregation.

It’s not easy to sum up the year 2020. We have all been pushed and pulled in new directions as we learned new technology and ways of being together without actually being together. Throughout this pandemic, I have worked from the church. For many months the church was so quiet with only a person or two coming in each day or every couple of days. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed seeing a little of your faces as you would stop in at the church. Now with the preschool open and the office open, things are seeming a little more normal.

Our congregation has approached these months in our own way. We are one of only a few Lutheran congregations in Oregon that are holding in-person worship. With your help to raise funds to purchase equipment, we were able to worship outside for a couple of months this summer and begin the process of live-streaming our worship service. When fall came, we made a fairly smooth transition indoors figuring out ways to space people in the sanctuary and to worship together in the sanctuary and at home as best as we can.

We appreciate all of the people who have leant their voices, spoken and in song, to our services. We hope to continue to find ways to get more and more people involved in our weekly service. You have been gracious when the technology has failed or we have had human error.

We appreciate that grace because we continue to learn something new each week. I am thankful for our leadership who support us in this ministry. Pastor Tom and I have spent a lot of time thinking through each decision that has been made and the CPC has been great to ask questions, offer suggestions, and improve the plans that we have made. There is no playbook for what we are doing and so we are all learning how to lead, in this time, as we go.

I’m adjusting to Pastor Sarah and I being called to serve two different churches. We have done this before and now that our kids are older the transition has been easier. It has been a good move for her as she is rediscovering her voice as a leader and as a pastor. I value our time serving together and I am excited to see her flourish in her new ministry. Our family is adjusting to the new schedule and we are even a foster family again. This brings us joy as we all like having a baby in the house.

I am looking forward to the day when vaccinations have been given, when we don’t have to limit space in the sanctuary, when we don’t have to wear masks and when we can sing together again. I believe the day will come but I’m done trying to guess when it will be. Until then, I continue to pray for each of you.

We will get through this time, we will have learned some new things, and we will continue to worship as God’s people of Bethesda Lutheran Church.

God’s Peace, Pastor Steve