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As We (Re)Gather

The month of June marks one year since we resumed our weekly, in-person worship
services. In many ways it feels like much longer than that yet, in many ways it is hard to
believe twelve months have passed since staff and lay leaders sat down to record
worship elements with our smartphones and digital cameras. Even though the pre-
recording phase of our pandemic experience ended last summer, the challenges and
constantly changing seasons of Covid persist. Each new variant threatens a wave of
worry, illness, and hospitalization. Each new variant decreasing confidence that even
the best laid plans might actually come to fruition. At Greystone, we continue to monitor
the situation and plan accordingly.

One of the biggest gifts of our community here at Greystone is that we are all different.
A recent survey from the deacons showed that diversity. Members of Greystone ranging
from 20 to 95 years old responded sharing feedback, thoughts and ideas for how we
might move forward in ministry and mission together. I have shared an overview of
these responses with the Diaconate and Leadership Council. I plan to share it with the
whole congregation at the quarterly Church Conference on June 26 th . (I hope you will all
plan to be there.) What this means though, the fact that we are all so different, is that we
must consider a broad range of perspectives and opinions as we move forward.
Additionally, since this congregation is gifted with a strong and empowered laity, it
means that the living church bears the marks of its congregants. There is no more
perfect example of this than the long history of volunteer musicians and worship
leaders. Worship at Greystone is truly an expression of the gifts of our members. We
will talk more about this, and how it relates to the survey responses at the church

I bring this up now because I wanted you all to know, without any doubt, where we are
in the process of regathering our church. Yes, we are still very much in the midst of that
process. In fact, regathering our congregation is the number one ministry priority for
staff and lay leaders at this time. So here’s where we are.

Our church mission statement reminds us that “With Christ as the Cornerstone, we will
build a church of living stones, where every member is a minister and is equipped to
express God’s love by word and deed to all people.” We believe these things happen
best when we worship, grow, give, and serve together. To that end, as we continue
regathering our church, our first priority has been on worship. Even though, in many
ways, worship is the most complex thing we do (it involves many volunteers, relies on
congregational interaction, and hopes that as many people as possible will gather in
one room), as a church we believe we are first and foremost a worshipping community.
Therefore, finding ways to worship together is our first priority. The staff and lay
leadership have spent endless hours in prayer and planning creative ways to worship
together, honoring the gifts and skills of our volunteers, as well as the spiritual needs of
the congregation. Each week, we remember you – each one – and we attempt to create
a worship experience that is meaningful, comforting, and transformative for you and the
people with whom you share a pew.

In addition to worship, the last twelve months have ushered in opportunities to regather for discipleship and faith formation. This looks like Sunday School classes gathering in person or in some kind of hybrid in-person/online capacity. This also looks like Wednesday night education opportunities for adults. These have fluctuated between online, hybrid, and in-person based on the status of Covid cases in our area and technological capacity.

Most recently, we’ve added an additional layer of offering some in-person missions
opportunities. This is something the Missions Committee is excited about and continues
to work toward as we move forward together. Some recent examples include
participating in a Habitat build and working at a Walnut Creek Cleanup event. Greystone
members have continued to partner with Marc and Kim Wyatt in their work with
refugees and newcomers. Most recently, we have embraced a new commitment
through the establishment of Welcome House Greystone. If you are feeling called to
hands-on mission, here’s a chance for you to work directly with our neighbors. Jerry
Chiles is the chair of the missions committee, he’d welcome your call! Moving forward,
there will be more ways for you to join with others as we serve our neighbors. Save the
date for a Rise Against Hunger packaging event we’re planning for Sunday morning,
October 2.

As we continue to look forward, we are all excited about more opportunities to worship,
grow, give, and serve together. If all goes as planned, this summer will hold all kinds of
gatherings (both social and spiritual) for the people of Greystone to (re)gather. As we
do, please continue to hold space for difference, recognizing we all come to this place
with unique needs and hopes. I believe that makes us look more like God’s beautifully
diverse kingdom. I also believe that with God’s help, in these experiences of and with
one another, we are being made new.

-Pastor Chrissy