OK, so that’s the same picture that I shared in my last Z-Notes before I went home. I will admit that my flowers don’t look like that anymore, but the weed and the deadhead population in my plots has decreased nearly to zero. I deposited a pickup-full of debris at the yard waste recycling center last week. The level of beauty has naturally gone down, as one expects at this time of year, but my gardens are way closer to being ready for winter than they were. The bad news: while I was home, Ohio went back on NY’s Travel Advisory/Mandatory Quarantine list. Even though I pretty much quarantine with family at home, I still have to do my time now that I am back in Rochester. Oh well. I have a busy few weeks scheduled just the same. And my little apartment is quite delightful.

We have finished this summer’s Rome/Rochester biblical comparison. This Sunday will serve as the bookend for our Rally Day emphasis. I’m bummed that I cannot participate in the various activities. I am glad that many of you are taking the opportunity to regather on Third Church grounds. We have events going on through the weekend as we complete Rally Week this Sunday. 

We adopted a theme for this coming program year: Renewing Church for a New World. It may seem rather simple, but several weeks of thought and discussion went into the phrase. Transition times are by definition renewing times. Not that we do away with everything; in fact, quite the opposite. We evaluate everything, re-energize those core activities…and discontinue some elements that no longer enhance church life. We also come to accept, even if reluctantly, that we will be greeting a new world as we pull ourselves out of this pandemic.

We are peering into the mist that is the future and making pro-active decisions about how we will renew Third Church in this changed environment. Business as usual will not be the phrase that describes our existence going forward. Of course, even without Covid-19, we would be asking a lot of the same questions facing us today, as that constitutes much of the task of interim times. Be forewarned: You will all have some very specific opportunities to join in this visioning process. I plan on kicking off the effort on Sunday.

I have said this before and I think it bears repeating. I have been less impacted by the virus than many of you, quarantine excepted. Even spending fourteen days alone in my own usually pleasant company differs not too terribly much from my regular life. Many of you continue to endure disrupted and disjointed times. That doesn’t mean nothing good is happening. It is! But it remains different… and difficult. My heart breaks for you, especially those of you who are navigating the choppy seas where school/work/family life converge. Additionally, I ache for those of you who are alone and isolated during these days. I celebrate our Deacons’ efforts to stay in touch with many of you. I was developing a routine of getting out to see you on your porches and patios, which has been temporarily suspended. But as a famous movie character oft exclaimed: I’ll be back! That practice will resume after my quarantine ends on September 27. Give me a call and I’ll come a-runnin’. Maybe literally.

Blessings!

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