Greetings, Third Church Friends!

I’ve had about a dozen more interactions with various groups of you by way of Google Meet or Zoom since last Thursday. I’m a dedicated face-to-face kind of a person, but I will admit that I can’t remember “meeting” so many members of a congregation so fast as I have here, with the added benefit of names and faces appearing in the same small square on my computer screen. Additionally, several of you have taken me up on my self-invitation to your favorite places and have hosted or have plans to host me in person—appropriately-distanced, of course. We are doing better than expected in keeping in touch in the absence of our usual Sunday gatherings. It’s now looking more and more like this is the long-haul reality. I commend you all for hanging in with one another!

Our social/political situation remains sadly pretty much the same. New names have been added to the list of those who have lost their lives in what appears to be racially-inspired violence this past week. I and others in leadership at Third Church are asking what our more-proactive response should be here in Rochester. We desire to be a part of a lasting movement for transformation and not just a flash-in-the-pan effort. We don’t now what that looks like yet, but we are asking the questions. Stay tuned. You all will be invited to be a part of the process.

We began our summer stroll through Romans 5-14 last Sunday. We stop to think about Romans 6:1-11 this week. I am usually a week or two out in front on my sermon writing schedule. Not so much these days. I’ll get there; but for now, I’m still gathering my thoughts for this week. A song came to my mind (as one often does) in the process: Live Like You Were Dying. I am not a Country Music aficionado, but Tim McGraw’s theme in this tune is catchy. I turned it around, as I am titling my sermon, Die as if We’re Living. Sometimes my titles relate to my messages, sometimes not. I am keying in these words on Wednesday, so time will tell. I hope to say something about how dealing with the fear our death frees us really to live the lives God has called us to live, especially in fraught and challenging times.

My contact info hasn’t changed since last week. 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 reach me at 618-606-1053 if calling my office number does not connect us. I consider it purely a phone (it’s a flip phone!!), although you can leave short texts on it as well. And messages. Leave a memo and I will return you call. I will let you know if/when I upgrade my communications technology. I plan on being in Rochester now through July 14 before journeying home for a week or so. I look forward to interacting with you virtually and in person many times between now and then!

Blessings,

The Rev. Conley A. Zomermaand, PhD
pastorz@thirdpresbyterian.org
(618) 606-1053—after office hours; emergencies