Thoughts from the Pastor

Visitation in the Time of COVID

Visitation is a part of pastoral ministry that while I enjoy, has always been difficult for me to discern people’s expectations and hopes. No pastor excels in all areas of ministry and this is one area I know is a weakness of mine. I imagine some of my difficulties are generational. Many in the younger generations are uncomfortable with the idea of the Pastor “stopping by” and prefer to communicate with me through e-mail, text, meeting for coffee, and yes sometimes planned visits. I know others grew up with the expectation that the Pastor might stop by at any time or perhaps on a predictable schedule. The reality is individuals in church have different expectations and comfort levels with pastoral visits.

Knowing what to do about visitation has further been complicated by this season of COVID. Many of the individuals that I did regularly visit in nursing homes or at home I am no longer able to visit for safety reasons. In late summer I shared that I would be comfortable with outdoor visits and invited people in the congregation who were interested/comfortable with those visits to reach out. This led to some wonderful visits with my church family.

Now temperatures are getting colder and outdoor visits are less feasible; meanwhile COVID numbers continue to rise as we enter what health experts are naming the third wave of this pandemic. My desire is to protect the health of those most vulnerable during the pandemic, but I am also very aware that there is an emotional and spiritual toll to being in constant quarantine. With that in mind, this winter I am willing to do indoor visits while wearing a mask (to protect not only you but others who I might visit).

During this month I will be checking in with those who I used to visit at home before COVID to determine their comfort level with visits at this time. However, I am also asking for your help. If you or someone you know in the congregation desires a visit, or a call, e-mail, text, etc. please reach out. It is my deep desire that everyone feels connected and loved as a part of this congregation, but I am not always aware of those needs. I appreciate your help and I encourage you to likewise reach out to one another as members of this body.    Blessings, ~ Pastor Nathan