Arbor Grove Congregational Church
July 2020


For fun I went to Google and typed SURREAL CHURCH to see what I might find. On the screen were images of churches with empty sanctuaries. Most of the pictures were of old gothic churches or cathedrals. Why would I do that search? Because, for several months I have been standing at the pulpit before an empty sanctuary, and it seems surreal to me.
Well, that isn’t completely true. Rebecca has been there in the front pew, managing the technology needed to broadcast my message. I expect this is true of most pastors on Sunday morning either preaching from home, an office, or in their empty or nearly empty sanctuary. Like a pastor’s bad dream, holding church service and no one shows up. After several of these Sunday services, it still seems surreal. But we go with what we must work with.
I am anticipating when the pews will be filled. Well maybe that is wishing for a bit much. Let’s just say when there are people sitting in the pews, hopefully looking in my direction. Even seeing people sleeping during my message would be better than empty pews. They don’t even need to be smiling faces. I can live with that.
I have been asked why I don’t simply deliver my Sunday message from home? The truth is it doesn’t feel right to me. I feel I should be in the sanctuary with the candles lit. Not that I need to be there to feel God’s presence, but it is the reverence of being in the sanctuary where I feel I need to be at that time.
Jesus said we are the light of the world and I must say, when there are people in the pews, it does light up the sanctuary. God’s light shines through us, is reflected by us, is a beacon that reaches those around us, and it is noticeable when the people are not in the sanctuary.
Our church is not and never has been closed. Sure, the building is supposed to be closed, but that is questionable at times. The church is the people. We don’t need to be in the building to be a church. We can still bring the teachings of Jesus to others by our actions, through phone calls, and technology allowing us to communicate via social media and Zoom or other software. Each of us is a significant part of the church.
We demonstrate what and how God wants us to live whether the message is received in person, via technology, or reading and study. If we continue to demonstrate how God wants us to live, we are spreading the Good News and being the church.
Helping those we can. Listening to those that need to talk. Comforting those that are hurting. All of this does not need a building. It is the people. The church is God working around, through and within us that brings the church to others. Continue being the church.
I am continually seeking Patience, Peace, and Perseverance now more than ever for all of us.
Praying God’s blessing fill your days and lives.

Pastor Jerry
Arbor Grove Congregational Church
2621 McCain Road
Jackson, MI 49203
(517) 784-4824
[email protected]
[email protected]