Last night I had a dream. It was a strange dream. I dreamed that an older man was crying because his wife had died. Out of concern and love, I hugged him. And then I stepped back appalled that I had touched him. And then suddenly I was in a text study group with several other pastors (you know how dreams go…) and they were angry with me for touching this man and getting too close to them … and then I woke up. And, as is often the case, it was 3 am and I lay in bed thinking about this strange world we are in where hugging is a nightmare and waking up and finding oneself alone is a relief.
First, let me say to you all, I hope you are doing ok. And if you are not, please reach out to your pastor, your deacon, your family, your friends, your congregation, this synod. We are Church Together – even, especially, in this time. Please know that even as we continue physical distancing, we are still in community. We are still Holy Community. We are still the Body of Christ in this world.
One way that the synod would like to demonstrate how we are Church Together is offering some relief to congregations for salaries. With this in mind, the synod has begun the NWWA Synod COVID-19 Relief Fund for congregations and ministry sites. The monies for this fund come from an anonymous supporter with matching funds from the synod. At the moment, we have approximately $41,000 in this account. Our hope is that this fund will work in two ways:
1. To distribute funds to those who need financial help towards salaries (particularly our most vulnerable ministries.)
2. Provide opportunity for those who are seeking a way to support others (financially stable congregations and individuals could make a donation to this fund to help support others who are in need). You can do this by donating online here: www.lutheransnw.org/donate. Please specify “Leader Support.” You may also send check made out to the NWWA Synod with “NWWA Synod Leader Support” in memo line and mail it to the Region One Office: Region 1 ELCA, PO Box 94432, Seattle, WA 98124-6732
If you would like more information the NWWA Synod COVID-19 Relief Fund, find the letter and application on our synod website here: www.lutheransnw.org/covid-relief-fund.
In this last month, I have been amazed and in awe of the many ways congregations in this synod have continued community with one another and in the world. As I have participated in worship services, call committee meetings, Bible studies, informational meetings, book studies, and more, I am so thankful for each one of you. Yes, this is hard. Yes, we don’t know the end. And yet, through Christ, we are in this together. We are Holy Community. We are Church Together.
While I cannot be present with you bodily for now, know that you are in my daily prayers, my heart, my thoughts. And even in these times when we are unable to exchange the peace of Christ by shaking hands or even hugging, know that the peace of Christ is with you. Today and always.
In Resurrection Hope and Joy,
Bishop Shelley Bryan Wee