26 February 2021
Blessings Yorkshire Church!
Good day to each of you. As we are continuing our march through these winter months, it is great to see new activity beginning to emerge at Yorkshire! As the robins that I am watching in our back yard bring hope for Spring, growing fellowship at the church brings hope for a new season of ministry and doing the types of things that we are called to do as Christ’s disciples which is share the Gospel, grow in our faith, and provide our witness to others who do not yet know Jesus as Lord and Savior!
The past year has been anything but exciting, but the new opportunities that lie before us can be. Each Sunday we are seeing new faces that are seeking a place to worship as well as the faces of those that are returning to in-person worship. As we begin to connect and reconnect with one another, an important aspect of our worship will be to seek out and recognize those that are entering Yorkshire Church for the first time, or maybe the first time in months or years. First time visitors won’t know how we do things, where things are, or other basic information that many of us take for granted. If you haven’t visited a new church for some time, understand that it can be a very awkward experience.
For those returning to in-person worship, things may not be the way that they were before and some of the new safety practices that we now do naturally, may not be familiar to them. What a great opportunity for Yorkshire hospitality to shine! Keep an eye open for folks who may seem new. Greet them and offer your assistance to make them feel welcome. Show them the sanctuary entrances and explain where the restrooms are. If they have children, welcome them and let them know we have great opportunities for younger children during worship as well as Sunday School classes for all ages (new programming is in development for Spring!) Of course, we do all this in a safe manner following all of the necessary protocols.
Statistics show that folks visiting a church make a decision whether or not they will return in the first three minutes that they enter the facility. Please don’t ask me for the citation on this, but it is a fact that I have heard in various trainings and readings over the years. And I can validate this personally from my own experiences. What makes this a challenge for us as “Yorkshirians” is that we are so happy to see one another and catch up with all that we have been missing, new folks are easily overlooked. And this is all natural, of course, but our challenge is that we let no visitor vacate our premises without feeling that they were the most important person in the church that day!
We live in a time where I refuse to accept that the “new normal” (strongly dislike that phrase) includes the anti-social implications that sometimes seem to come along with social distancing and the like. Masks present an obvious obstacle in open communication and dialog but we are all finding ways to work around that. For me, masks make it very difficult to communicate as I do not hear very well and need to see what a person is saying. I simply overcome that by saying “what?” half a dozen or more times during any personal interaction… I truly appreciate everyone’s patience with this challenge that I face. Remember when you speak to me, speak s.l.o.w.l.y and loudly! I am guessing that I am not the only one so challenged!
We are figuring this all out together, though. We have many new facets of ministry to learn such as live-stream, challenges of masks and distancing, and dealing with new fears and concerns. But there are also important staples that we are working on re-establishing. I have been very encouraged with my discussions with our leadership in setting plans for new education programs, getting a full complement of Sunday School classes for all ages back in session and seeing how existing programs are growing in their outreach. As the Women’s Monday night fellowship and the Men’s Wednesday morning fellowship are growing, I am anxious to see several other opportunities developing for those in our church. I am very open to hearing any new ideas that you may have or needs that you feel need to be addressed in our church community.
We also are continuing to work on our facility. Last year we were able to address many maintenance and improvement needs through the hard work of our Trustees and your financial generosity. The Trustees are still at it! One of the major initiatives that we are undertaking is to address several needs of our outside entrance doors. Many are in not-so-good condition including the main doors at the Sanctuary entrance. Dave Lloyd and Steve Spangler are working with outside contractors to put a plan in place which may include and require new doors in some of the locations, and simple maintenance/weather stripping upgrades in others. In the case of new doors, some of these recommendations will be to bring our facility into ADA compliance (Americans with Disabilities Act). But the need is real, and I am anxious to see the plan that our teams develop. (Other issues with the doors are that they no longer seal which affects our HVAC systems, and allows rodents access into our facility-and they may steal our food. As Methodists, we cannot have this!).
That is all for this discussion today. So many great things happening at Yorkshire that a simple letter cannot address them all. I am very thankful for each of you and this fellowship. It is exciting to see what God has in store for Yorkshire Church for a time such as this!
I hope that you have a great and blessed day!
Peace and Blessings!
– pastor dave.