“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings, I will take refuge.” - Psalm 57:1

This week we remember, twenty years later, the 2,996 people who lost their lives and the 25,000 more who were injured on 9-11, including the First Responders who ran towards what was happening, instead of away. This event continues to loom large in the hearts and lives and ethos of many in the United States, especially those of us living nearer to New York City. There are memorials in many towns, and of course in New York City itself. Yearly memorial gatherings have been held. We have striven to remember the tragedy of that day and those affected.

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The Board of the Student Christian Center (SCC) gathered with Pastor Dianna and her family this past week to celebrate her retirement. Thanks to Pastor Dianna, our half-time pastor, and the hard work, dedication, and prayers of many, this ministry has grown significantly in its efforts to share the good news of Jesus’ love with students, staff, and faculty over the last ten years.

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We are calling this “Worship Forward” because we are not going back to worship as we knew it before the pandemic. Instead, with God’s help we are prayerfully planning our way forward for the sake of sharing the gospel boldly and authentically through both in person and online worship!

On Sunday, May 23rd Redeemer, New Paltz will begin Hybrid Worship, with a (hopefully) outdoor Pentecost worship service at our usual 9am time while also broadcasting via zoom. Redeemer’s Re-entry Team has been meeting and consulting CDC and Church guidelines and best practices, and we offer the following notes, which may help us all to be more prepared for worship in these very different times:

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Our Community Meeting on Nov. 8th is worth reflecting on both for its content and character. Several important decisions were made regarding our journey towards online and in person ministry. Equally important, however, was our collective approach to making these decisions, which have reflected and continue to reflect maturing striving that includes prayerful deliberation, building consensus, and the flexibility to continue changing and adapting along the way.

Our collective deliberation also continues to reflect care for one another, and a desire to be an outward facing Church in service to God and to the world. For even as the apostle Paul reminds us, we do not live to ourselves, but to God. (Romans 14:7, 8) And as Jesus reminds us with the Greatest Commandment, loving God naturally flows into loving our neighbors.

So, what were the decisions that were made?

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We are living in extraordinary times. We are living in extraordinary times and these extraordinary times call for extraordinary ways of living in order that we might make a difference for the good of the whole world. But where do we start? Do we join a local or national non-profit? Do we help our congregations organize anti-racism Task forces, linked into the work of the Anti-racism Task Force of the MNYS? What will we do to make a difference?

It can seem overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, but then again… Goliath was taken down by one well-aimed stone.

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