Dear Friends,

“Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all our years away; they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.”

You may recognize these lines as a well-loved verse from the hymn “O God, our help in ages past.” It speaks to the fleeting nature of life and the grief we experience over lost time. I’ve been reflecting upon this verse as we’ve made several announcements this summer about beloved parishioners who have entered into larger life in God’s eternal care. And it’s a sobering reminder that any community of faith changes and evolves over time. We are no exception.

But I’ve also been thinking about the concept of time because people have started asking the inevitable question: When will we return to three Sunday morning services? The short (and correct!) answer is November 5th, All Saints’ Sunday. On that day, we’ll return to our in-season schedule of worship at 8, 9, and 11 am.

In the meantime, we’re continuing with services at 8 and 10 am. Based on attendance numbers, we’ve pushed moving to three services back about five weeks this year.

This Sunday, I’m pleased to share that we have four exciting things happening at Bethesda:

  • Our Sunday Forum kicks off at 9 am in the Parish Hall. Come learn about one of our most compelling initiatives, the newly created Bethesda Center for Spirituality. What is it? Why is it? How can you participate?
  • The always popular Parish Picnic will take place following the 10:00 am service in the Parish Hall. We’re pleased to welcome back the folks from Mission BBQ!
  • The full Bethesda Choir makes its first appearance of the fall. I know we’re all looking forward to seeing our choir pews packed once again as Stuart and company make a joyful noise.
  • In preparation for a reimagined Bethesda Bookshop, we’ll be holding something of a fire sale to clear inventory. Stop by for some great deals and stay tuned for details!

This being my first fall at Bethesda, I’m experiencing the slow and steady return to full capacity. It already feels like more of a dimmer switch than an on-off switch. I do look forward to seeing our seasonal parishioners return to our pews, and hope to see those in town on Sunday. It should be a grand celebration!