It became clear one year ago today that we were in the midst of a deadly and rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving wise counsel, I made the decision to stop all annual conference in-person events, moved to institute our conference staff working from home and recommended that congregations not hold in-person gatherings of any kind. It has been a trying year, yet you have responded with deep concern for others, an abundance of creativity and a desire to keep proclaiming the Good News of Jesus through word and deed. What is more, you have done it with grace in the face of ridicule for your abundance of caution and having to do things for which you were never prepared. You have been amazing. And I want you to know how grateful I am. 

The pandemic now seems to be ebbing. While we still need to exercise an abundance of caution by following all CDC directives and guidelines, there is great hope on the horizon. Not surprisingly, there is also a strong desire for life to get back to normal. And we will. But only if we realize that we have to discover our new normal because we can never go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. Don’t worry, however, because we don’t have to do it on our own. The Holy Spirit already is at work leading us to a future we can only begin to imagine right now.  

So hang in there. Hang on for the ride of your life. And start giving God thanks and praise right now for what God will be doing one year from today.