As deacons, we work closely with Pastor Kelly, helping coordinate many of the details of worship at Oldtown and assisting in the nurturing of the spiritual life of the church. We are often the first face a new visitor sees at Oldtown in our role as greeters, welcoming everyone on Sunday mornings with a warm smile. In a normal year, we prepare and serve communion on the first Sunday of each month, assist with baptisms, funerals, and weddings, welcome new members, and prepare and maintain our sanctuary for worship.
At the start of the year, we focused on our role of providing a safe, welcoming environment for all to come and worship together. We were overjoyed to welcome two new deacons: Jeannette Galvin and Kevin Graves. Both Jeannette and Kevin have been serving the congregation for years and are excellent additions to an already strong group of deacons.
As March began, we were discussing what we could do as a church to make sure our congregation was safe from the coronavirus threat we were just beginning to hear about. Then, in short order, everything changed. As a church, we made the tough decision that we could no longer safely gather in our sanctuary for worship. So, on March 15, Pastor Kelly sent out information to help us all worship from home, and on March 22, just two weeks from our initial decision, we posted the first of our weekly At-Home Worship videos on our new YouTube channel.
Since then, we have all learned a lot about how to support each other while we are unable to safely gather together in-person. We have been worshiping together virtually through weekly worship videos on YouTube, and in September, we restarted our Household Huddles online as well!
I want to thank everyone who has helped with this unprecedented effort to keep our congregation connected and informed during these times. Everyone has been willing to lend a hand, try new things, and in doing so, we have actually reached new and different people who we would never have reached before. Despite all the challenges this year has presented, our future has never been brighter!
Many thanks to those who have contributed to the Deacons Fund. Though we are not worshiping in the sanctuary or sharing coffee and donuts after worship, the deacons have maintained our subscription to the Upper Room daily devotional, continuing to get copies delivered to the congregation. Following is a report of the Deacons Fund account for 2020 from our treasurer, Tom Sanford:
|Deacons Account 2020
|Expenses for the year included
|Coffee & Donuts
Finally, I am excited to announce that Jeannette Galvin will be leading the deacons in 2021. Though Jeannette only joined the deacons last year, she has shown her commitment to lending her talents to the congregation for many years, including as a moderator, with the missions ministry, and at our fairs and suppers. I know she will lead the deacons well in this year of exciting new possibilities, and I look forward to taking a break from leading the deacons after seven years.
Great big thanks to all my fellow deacons. These are exciting times of new opportunities and new directions for the entire church, and I look forward to all the great things to come!
2020 was a year we will remember forever. While it would be easy to focus on the things we weren’t able to do, the people we weren’t able to be together with, and the places we weren’t able to go, I urge everyone to think of this as a “hard reset,” a time that makes it easy to overcome the inertia of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and open ourselves to new possibilities, new activities, and new ways of being the church. Though the present challenges may seem dark, the darkness did not overcome the light, and our future could not be brighter. I close with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?Isaiah 43:18-19a (NRSV)
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your family, and may you always know the hoy of working for the coming of the Kingdom here on earth.
~ Jim Fennell, for the Oldtown Deacons