During this time of safe physical distancing, what is the church when we can’t be together?
For me, the church is as it always has been. I’ve experienced first-hand the way this church family bonds together and helps those who need help. When Jim died, I was completely blown away by the response of this church and the comfort it offered me. I have always felt as if we are a family, and at that time, Woodland proved it by its outpouring of concern for me. You have nurtured me through two years of grief and never once have I felt abandoned by you or by God.
The way our staff has managed to carry on in these recent unsettling times has been such a witness to us all. I find the online worship to be refreshing, comforting and inspiring—there are even times when I’ve preferred the online worship because there are no distractions. The creative outpouring has been phenomenal. Our Holy Week services on Maundy Thursday, sunrise service at the pastor’s home with his precious family participating, the flowering of the cross and the joyful Easter service made this Easter a true time of gratitude for the Savior we worship. The staff, deacons and Sunday School connectors have made phone calls and sent cards trying to care for everyone.
Most recently, I had a physical health crisis when I was alone at the coast with my cat. Not one, but four different couples offered to drive to Corpus to get me home safely. After arriving at home, I’ve had calls, offers of food, and gifts of ginger ale and toilet paper! Who knew those would be such appropriate gifts?!? Seeing my friends and fellow Woodlanders standing a safe distance from my door as I gathered my gifts was such a joy.
Most of all, the work we are doing to provide sandwiches and lunch bags full of snacks for homeless people who come to Christian Assistance Ministry for help has been so meaningful. Yes, we are ministering to others, but this is a ministry to ourselves as well. At a time when we feel useless, this gives our lives meaning and purpose. The outpouring from other members and friends of members has been staggering and we have been able to provide meals for up to 300 at a time.
Woodland is indeed my family and we all long to worship together in person again. But our time in the wilderness has made us aware of what a precious gift it is to be a member of this amazing congregation. Our church has no walls.