Engaging in Life and Ministry “Beyond Covid”

by Steve Matthews

What now? How long? What’s next?  As a country we are in our 8th month of this pandemic. We continue to protest/ explore/ address/ ignore our racial inequities.  The west coast burns, and we round the alphabet on hurricane names in the gulf and Atlantic. Next month we will have a critical election for federal, state, and local leadership… and then there is the Supreme Court. There’s probably more, but suffice it to say, we have our hands more than full.

What does it mean to “be” church in the middle of all of this?  It’s no wonder people yearn to get back into their church buildings and to return to “normal.”  For many of us, these buildings represent a sense of belonging, beauty, safety, hope.  These are places where we have experienced community and God’s love fleshed out.  This is where many of us feel inspired and strengthened for the journey. 

But here we are, and how are we as people of faith called to show up in this “now?” How do we look at our world in ways that help us move beyond reaction?  

In her book You Belong, Sebine Selassie writes, “Things are the way things are because of various causes and conditions.  Injustice exists because it has existed in the past.  If things had been different, things would have turned our differently.  But hundreds (maybe thousands) of years of separative thinking have led us to the decimation of nature, the oppression of countless peoples, the destruction of many cultures, and the theft of vital resources.  It makes perfect sense we have a planetary crisis that impacts people unequally.  We should not be surprised, even if we are heartbroken.  And many of us are surprised because we haven’t been paying attention.  We’ve been trapped in our collective and individual crises of not belonging, not recognizing the answer is belonging to it all.  Our challenge is to navigate it all together.”

Walter Burghartdt, SJ once stated that contemplation is “taking a long, loving look at the real.”  At FaithX we want to accompany individuals and communities as we patiently, wisely and lovingly look at the “real” world we find ourselves in.  Sometimes the real is full of promise and hope and sometimes it is scary and threatening.   Rather than living in reaction to our reality, how might we slow down, pay attention, listen to our own hearts and one another, and discern our next few faithful and prophetic steps?  In this day and time, perhaps the best gift we can offer the world is to discern and to take these next few steps together… not alone.  We want to nurture creative and transforming movement in our faith communities that is not propelled by anxiety.  We want to accompany communities into faithful action that recognizes and considers our daily challenges but is not bound by a prescribed response.

On October 14, at 1:00 Eastern, FaithX will be hosting the third webinar in our series, “Reopening in a New Reality.”  Please join us as we explore what it means to engage in ministry “beyond Covid.”  You can find registration details here.