Trinity Re-Entry Plan underway, with an abundance of caution . . .
People of Trinity,
With an abundance of caution, we have begun to gather again onsite. Are you considering a time in the sanctuary for prayer, a small group gathering onsite or stopping by the church office? Faith Community Nurse Kristin Bradley has put together a very helpful “Welcome Back to Trinity” video. View it by clicking here:
With Governor Whitmer’s announcement on June 1 of the shift to Phase 4 in the Michigan Safe Start Plan, the Trinity Re-Entry Plan is supporting several significant developments in our parish life. Trinity’s Phase 4 re-entry programming includes the following:
- The church sanctuary is now open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for individual prayer and meditation. Check-in protocols have been established and those who wish to come onsite are asked to bring a mask and enter by the west side office entrance only.
- Church staff have begun to transition onsite. Phase 4 includes the directive “safer at home,” but are beginning to see more of our Trinity leadership team onsite at the church.
- Plans are coming together for an outdoor worship service with Holy Communion (wafer only) on the church west lawn on Sunday morning, June 21 at 11 a.m. Live streaming of worship at 9:15 a.m. continues weekly, but following the live streaming of worship that morning, a brief, spoken service of Holy Communion will be offered on the west lawn – plan to bring a lawn chair or blanket, to bring masks for all and to keep distancing between family groups. The rain date will be June 28.
- Onsite small groups and meetings for up to ten inside the building and up to 100 outdoors are now possible to schedule. Call the church office if you would like to schedule your Trinity program onsite – masks, distancing and all other safety protocols will be required and only the west side office entry will be unlocked for access to the building. (It was good to see the TLC Quilters onsite Tuesday morning!)
Let us continue to hold one another in prayer as we begin coming together again onsite at Trinity after three months of physical separation.
Standing on the Border of Light – shall we cross over?
This is an hour of change.
Within it we stand uncertain on the border
Shall we draw back or cross over?
Where shall our hearts turn?
Shall we draw back, my brother, my sister,
or cross over?
This is the hour of change, and within it,
We stand quietly
on the border of light.
What lies before us?
Shall we draw back, my brother, my sister,
or cross over?
– From the Jewish Prayer Book
Mishkan T’Filah: A Reform Siddur
Standing on the border of light, shall we draw back or cross over? In the spirit of the Jewish prayer, many in our nation are hoping that the last two weeks of upheaval since the killing of George Floyd will lead to the dawn of a new day of institutional reform and an ongoing, deliberate and honest dialogue on race in America. It is a deeply challenging time, and one that evokes strong, passionate reactions. We are not of one mind on such matters.
As I reflected last week in my Wednesday congregational email, I have yet to perceive a coherent, all-encompassing response to the injustice and racial violence in our society that would uniformly direct our shared path of discipleship as a congregation. Nonetheless, I truly believe that those of us who benefit from white privilege have a moral responsibility to listen to and show up for Black Americans and all people of color as we forge a path from this time of crisis to a time of new beginnings.
One of the organizations that always has my ear in reflecting on positive change in our world is the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo. The mission of the Fetzer Institute is “helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.” Fetzer Institute President and CEO Bob Boisture shared this message on June 2, a week into the nationwide protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd:
We are heartbroken by the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing events that have unfolded in our country and around the world in the past week.
The Fetzer Institute’s mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world compels us to address the challenging structural issues that have given rise to racial injustice in the history of the United States and in our present day.
We recognize the sacred dignity and worth of everyone in our country, and we commit to join others in building a society and the world in which not just some of us, but all of us, can flourish.
Congruent with our mission, this requires the work and practice of living into and creating the beloved community—a community where love and sacred relationship triumph over fear and hatred, with justice and equity at the center.
We take this moment to reaffirm our purpose statement for our diversity, equity, and inclusion work:
As a community of freedom working together in support of the Fetzer Institute’s mission…
We believe the fundamental nature of reality is a sacred community that includes all people and all of creation.
We believe that robust diversity is an inherent quality of our sacred community, and that a threat to human flourishing anywhere is a threat to human flourishing everywhere.
We acknowledge that we do actual harm to both self and society when we fail to name and dismantle threats to equity and inclusion.
We therefore commit to deepen our collective understanding of the systemic impacts of bias and oppression at every level of our internal and external work, and to implement strategic practices that contribute to a truly loving world for all.
The disturbing events over the past week and over the nation’s 400-year history illuminate the systemic nature of American racism. By racism, we refer not only to overt acts of bigotry, but unseen, more corrosive forms that are embodied in white privilege—a construct in our society that provides many advantages to whites that are not readily available to everyone else. We recognize that while individual actions are extremely important, racism is not solely a matter of individual actions and we must all come to terms with the evidence that we are all deeply affected by racism, whether we are white or brown or black.
We call upon all of us to ask, out of the depths of our hearts and the fullness of our intellects, what implications does this moment have for us personally and for our country?
We acknowledge that answers will emerge and deepen over time as we steadfastly live with this question and dedicate ourselves to truth-telling about race in the United States so that we may move toward living free of the terrible grip of racial injustice and become exemplars of the world we want to leave to coming generations.
For our partners who have been already doing this work with courage and heart, we thank you for your partnership and your commitment. And there is work that many of us have yet to do. We must all listen deeply, respond with love, and act with conviction.
Only by grounding ourselves in our deepest spiritual values can we sustain the courage to enter into the difficult inner work of racial justice and the unrelenting commitment to transforming our world.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, wrote that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
This is a critically important time in our country and in our communities. Again, I pray that we do not simply seek to “get back to normal,” a failing reality in need of transformation. May we act with courage to “cross over” into the light and inaugurate a new day with every child of God and creation itself, seeking just and equitable systems that honor and value every human life.
It remains a privilege to serve as one of Trinity’s pastors.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob Linstrom