Central Guidelines

Central Guidelines   

I wish I could sit down with each of you every night and hear about the ways in which you saw God that day – or better yet, the adventures God led you on that day when you followed where you were called.  The reality is we have many excuses not to get together to share such good news regularly – not least of which is our health and the concerns therein.  In Matthew 15:29-31, we hear about Jesus,


Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to Him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and He healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.”


Scripture again and again reveals the steady revelation of our God who loves, who heals, who saves.  Romans 8 reminds us there is literally nothing which can get in the way of this powerful love.  It’s just hard to always keep this before us in the ever changing winds of the pandemic.

Central has done its best to listen well to our medical and health guidance over the past year while doing everything in our power to make sure we created space for most to gather.  Even this Tuesday we were able to offer space for Vaccines to be offered while feeding our neighbors in the hopes of bringing people together.  Still mask wearing has become a burden for many as the guidance has changed so frequently.  Just a few weeks ago the CDC again dramatically changed its recommendation (any who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks) and many of us feel the whiplash, so how will Central respond.  

Central will continue to ask people to wear masks as we move about the building and will offer these at the welcome desk.  We still have a childcare in which state guidelines require mask wearing.  Our staff cannot remove their masks in such areas, so this is a chance to stand in solidarity. Once arrived at your gathering or are standing having coffee, feel free to take off your mask if you are vaccinated.  You will only need your mask for singing, which we will be resuming this coming Sunday.  I look forward to hearing the joyful noise rising up once more.  Further, this coming Sunday, we are resuming taking communion in the Sanctuary.  We will still offer communion in bags for those who wish not to take off their masks in the gathering area.  For those who do, we will have trash cans at the side of the altar rails for disposal.

We realize some do not wish to wear a mask ever again and some still feel all should wear a mask at all times in public.  Please, my brothers and sisters of Central, love the person in front of you whatever choice she or he might make in regards to masks.  There is space for good conversation here, but let us remember why we all gather in the first place.  We gather because of Jesus.  Long before any pandemic, it was Jesus who healed our souls.

Let us remember this as we go out from Central every week.  No matter the choices of our co-workers, our neighbors – let us love people where they are. Let us introduce them to Jesus and His love which flows through us.  For there is nothing, no sickness, no pandemic, too great to keep us from the healing love of Jesus.  May we move about in Richmond in such ways that the crowds once again be amazed as the good news of the lame walking, blind seeing, and mute speaking grows in this love.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Joseph

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