Greetings, new Friends!
It’s been a pleasure meeting so many of you, mostly by way of Google Meet. A very nice feature of that method is that names and faces appear together in a little frame, greatly helping me to attach the two bits of data. I encourage you, however, when you meet me in person, to keep stating your name for a good, long time. We can add memory to our computers, but not so much to our brains. My cranial memory chips are filled with names from the fifteen churches I have served. I have to nudge and stuff more information in those crowded spaces…which takes more time that it once did.
Activities quickly populated my calendar last week. I expect that reality to continue for a good, long time. That doesn’t mean I don’t have time for you. You simply need to contact me and I will pencil your name into one of the blocks on my time sheet. Yes, I still have a paper product that lies on my office desk.
Phew! What do we call these times we are navigating? Interesting? Challenging? Maddening? Disheartening? Angry? Gut-wrenching? All of the above, and more. Right in the middle of them, I plopped into your space. I thought long and carefully about last week’s worship service and my sermon. I decided to stick with the message I had planned to share and worked diligently with Ernest Krug to populate the rest of the service with the recognition of and references to what was happening in the streets almost immediately outside of the church doors. I appreciate the many responses you sent my way, whether you agreed with my decision or not.
I have learned a lot during my first days at Third Church. I feel more prepared to address our social context this coming Sunday. The lectionary has us making our way through the final two-thirds of Paul’s letter to the Romans over the summer. Those passages will be the focus of my preaching for the next while. Romans 5:1-8 informs my thinking for this coming Sunday, providing me with direction in sharing thoughts about the multiple challenges we face. Third Church has a long, proud history of engagement with economic, political, social, and racial issues. I am preparing to say something about how I both affirm those commitments and how I envision serving you as we address these matters again in the present time.
I still haven’t settled on a local solution for communication with you all when I am not in my office. Remember: my office email address is the best way to contact me; and my office phone is the best tool to call me. For the time being, you can call 618-606-1053 if calling my office number does not connect us. I consider it purely a phone (it is not smart!), although you can leave short texts on it as well. And messages. Leave a message and I will return you call. I will let you know if/when I upgrade my communications technology.
The Rev. Conley A. Zomermaand, PhD
Office: (585) 271-6537, ext. 105
(618) 606-1053—after office hours; emergencies