While the pandemic is far from over—and we will continue to care for the most vulnerable among us—there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. These have been a difficult 13 months, but we have seen such thoughtfulness among the faithful during this time.

In the midst of the pandemic reality, we have seen grace and beauty at Bethesda. As we began gathering in the fall, first inside, then the Garden Chapel, then the garth, the graciousness of the faithful who were glad to return to corporate worship has been beautiful to witness. Those who come have learned to dress for the weather—hot, cold, damp, breezy, sunny, cloudy, you name it—and have joined in prayers and the sacrament with a gracious spirit. We have watched the sun move as summer approaches and have learned where shade remains as 11:00 a.m. nears. We have been patient as technicians updated the sound system to accommodate hundreds of cell phone signals in addition to microphone transmission. We have learned to use electronic devices for service leaflets! We have accommodated literally thousands of people on Christmas and Easter as we used our beautiful gardens and grounds as worship spaces. Lectors, ushers, flower guild members, choristers, instrumentalists, acolytes, ambassadors, and countless others have learned new ways of being and working to re-envision worship at Bethesda during the pandemic.

While we continue our transition back into the nave, it has been moving to witness the generosity of spirit of those who have been involved in this community as we worshiped together during the pandemic, and we have heard the words “thank you” over and over again from people truly grateful for the efforts so many have contributed out of love. It has gladdened my heart, and we say, in return, thank you for being the true Bethesda, gracious of spirit and generous of heart. Thank you for being beautiful children of God.

Fr. Burl+
Associate for Christian Education, Pastoral Care, and Outreach