I’m guessing, by now you are well aware of the many events and social gatherings that are being cancelled all across North Texas (and around the US), and probably wondering about our church’s response and specific precautions around the COVID-19, or coronavirus, outbreak.
Earlier today, all of the FUMCFW clergy and program staff met with a local public health expert for a lengthy consultation and, as a result, have decided to suspend all worship services (including eleven:eleven downtown) and all group meetings and activities until March 25. At that time we will re-evaluate the spread and severity of COVID-19 in our area and make a decision regarding March 29 and April, including Holy Week, and Easter.
This decision was not determined hastily, and I encourage you to read the message from Dr. Bruster and Rev. Marshall sent to the whole church here.
So what does this mean for eleven:eleven, downtown?
Well, for the next two Sundays (March 15 and 22) I hope you will join us online, live, here for a special online version of our weekly eleven:eleven downtown celebration!
Charme, Brad, and I (along with different band members) will bring you an inspiring but decidedly “eleven:eleven-styled” online experience! We will have special live musical offerings, creative moments for your “socially-distanced” participation, and a message in dialogue, spoken word, and song.
The next few weeks provide us all an opportunity to take something of a sabbatical from our normal way of being in the world. While this may feel reactionary, even frightening, for some of us, the reality is that this proactive “time apart” can also be an opportunity to be more present to ourselves and our loved ones. Perhaps this time will allow for noticing the subtle ways the Sacred undergirds and connects our daily routine and rhythm — and to experience the nuanced wonders in some of the everyday.
Remember, too, that we are never apart from the very Ground of our Being. (Click here for a link to one of Peter Mayer’s songs that reminds me of this sacred subtlety in the ordinary.)
And here’s a teaser for this coming Sunday’s online service:
This Sunday, March 15, we will continue with Jesus’ “I am…” sayings with “I am the gate.”
There is a familiar quote that goes along the lines of “When one door closes, another opens.” A friend of mine once joked, “if doors are closing and others mysteriously opening… your house is probably haunted!”
But Alexander Bell added, on a more serous note, that we “often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” I want to suggest that, as the Psalmist in Psalm 139 understood, we are always in the presence of God’s being as God is always in ours. We are always supported, sustained, and invited to renewal, by a love that seeks to move and heal the world.
I think what Jesus’ sayings suggest for us today is that the way to life is along the path of mercy, justice, and humility. For us right now, this path may feel a little uncertain. But we are grounded in love and grace. So that even in uncertain times, paying attention to our breath, our moments alone and with others, and the curiosity and possibility that each offers, provides us a gateway (a path) we can creatively commit to with compassion and acceptance.
There is healing through this gate; there is an inner and deeply satisfying joy along this path. I hope you can join us online as we look further at “#i am.”
I look forward to being with you then!
Rev. Tom McDermott
Associate Pastor of eleven:eleven
In addition to reading Dr. Bruster and Rev. Marshall’s all-church email above, here are links to both the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to stay on top of what’s happening around the world and in the U.S., as well as the Tarrant County Public Health Department for local information.