Some many changes happening! The pandemic forcing us physically apart, requiring us to do church differently. The looming General Conference and potential divide of the denomination. The political and social unrest in our communities. How do we respond?

At a recent Zoom gathering of lay leaders from Northern Virginia districts, just after the District Alignment Team recommendations came out, we talked about the challenges and opportunities we face. How do we equip ourselves to respond? What can we as laity offer in the new and changing environment? How do we see our missions and ministries?

Grounded and dreaming! Two words kept appearing in the conversation. How are we grounded for the work we have ahead of us? And what do we dream for our churches and our communities?

We are grounded in prayer. In conversation with God, we discern what God is calling us to do. We are grounded in study, of the Bible, of other theological writings. We are grounded in worship, in its many forms. We are grounded in fellowship, through virtual platforms, calls and letters, safely distanced visits. We are grounded in fasting, during this time of Lent. We are grounded in meditation, time for silent reflection.

We are dreaming. What will our churches look like in a post-pandemic time? What new ministries may emerge? What roles do we have in those missions and ministries? Our online worship services, study opportunities and small group discussions grow and develop. How will we continue to use and expand our virtual presence? How do we reach out to our communities in new ways? As we are able to gather once again safely, what new engagements might we consider? Perhaps we share our gifts and talents in new ways. Meet in new places. Reach out to new people.

As we move through this season of Lent, practice our means of staying grounded. And as we approach Easter, share and explore our dreams.

–Karen McElfish, Arlington District Lay Leader