Greetings, Third Church Friends!

I’m on the road again today, heading for Ohio, then Illinois, to celebrate with my daughter, Emily, as she concludes her formal medical education. The pic at left is from her PhD hooding ceremony, in which I participated! On Saturday, my sweety will become Dr. Tillmaand, MD/PhD. Then, off she goes to UCLA for her residency in neurology. Yep, I’m proud. Just in case it doesn’t show.

We face some pretty big challenges as a community of faith. Kind of the story of the last fourteen months. Our questions these days focus on the issue of returning to normal in church life. First off, normal won’t be normal. I think you all understand this reality. Second, reopening does not involve simply unlocking the doors, turning on the lights, and resuming as if nothing has happened. Way more is involved, which you also understand. We are in the process of figuring all of that out.

I assure you, again, that not a week goes by without extensive discussion of what reopening looks like at Third Church. Our lovely facility presents particular challenges related to air quality, air flow, and the way our spaces are laid out, among other things, that we are continuing to understand and address.
The session is the final, buck-stops-here, decision-making body, and the elders you’ve elected to serve are being very thoughtful as they weigh the risks and benefits of different reopening plans. We believe the plan that session authorized in their April meeting, for a soft-launch of in-person afternoon worship in June, is the one most likely to succeed in both gathering us together again and keeping us safe.

We will be continuing to revisit the plan, adjusting as new information becomes available and as public health metrics change. We know that whatever your leadership decides, opinions will not be unanimous. We remain grateful for your trust, understanding…and grace.

As our Gospel reading for Sunday reminds us, Jesus calls us friends. I invite us to rest in the knowledge that when we are friends of Jesus, we are by default friends with one another. And we all want what is best for our friends.

Pastor Zomermaand
pastorz@thirdpresbyterian.org
Office: 585-271-6513, ext. 105; Cell: 618-606-1053 (after hours; emergencies)