Fr. Gerry asked members of the vestry to capture some of their thoughts about what they have learned during the pandemic. These candid reflections show the enduring strength of our parish family and how we continue to be a community even while we cannot worship together.
“The first thing I have learned and enjoyed has been the online church (impressed with how choir can sing over Zoom!) and meetings.
“I enjoy the morning prayers online. It helps to hear and participate on my way to work and sets my mind and feet for the day.
“And I thank Fr. Gerry for who he has been through this crisis. True leaders take the command during times of crisis and it comforts me to see how calm he is. It reminds me of Jesus in the boat when the storm came, and he was sleeping, and he calmed his flock with the statement that God would not bring harm to the boat while he was in it. Fr. Gerry and the staff have provided calm and direction to God during this storm.”
“What I have realized through this difficult time of separation is that I miss the gathering of our church family.
“I miss seeing faces and warm hugs and catching up on peoples’ lives. I miss the Eucharist. I miss the feeling of wholeness that I get when I leave on Sunday mornings. I miss being filled with new energy and new dedication to living the life God wants me to live. I appreciate the online services but as we all know, it’s just not the same.
“I’ve been doing a lot of puzzles during this stay-at-home time. I have an analogy. The edges, which I do first, represent our beliefs and tenets of the Episcopal faith. In doing the puzzle, I group like colors and objects and put sections together. Those sections represent our small groups, our various ministries, people that we come in close contact with. There are many of these in the church. Finally, I start putting sections together to make the complete puzzle, the complete picture. That is our church when we are all together. The joy of being complete, being together, brings happiness and a feeling of wholeness. That will be us, when we are able to gather together once again.
“Thank you to Fr. Gerry for all he does, now and always, for his leadership, and for his caring and prayers for us.”
“I have been amazed at how devoted the Trinity community has been to each other and to Trinity, and, so surprised at how easily and quickly everyone has adapted to online services and group gatherings.
“As a community we are showing our strength and it is a blessing to witness and be a part of this. I have learned during this time that we at Trinity can depend on Trinitarians to step up in so many ways. I have also learned that our clergy and staff will work tirelessly to keep us engaged and spiritually sound.
The church is not a building. It is a community of people.
“As part of that community I can honestly say that I am now missing the building! I miss the smell. I miss the view from the choir loft. I miss the sights, sounds, taste, and scents of the service. I miss the babble of greetings on Sunday morning. As a Vestry member I miss the quiet of the building before everyone arrives and the closing darkness when the church is locked and empty again. What I have learned is that I need to be in this building.
“On Fr. Gerry’s first Sunday back after Stephen died, I was VPOD and was there to welcome him. I believe it was Father’s Day. I remember what he said to me that morning: he told me he needed to be with us. He needed us. I understood that.
“What I have learned during this time is that I miss being with my church family as much as I miss being with my own family.
“I don’t think I am alone in this longing and It worries me that this won’t happen for quite a while. Not just for me but for all of us. We need to be together.”
“I’ve learned that church is much more than a place I go on Sunday. The church is largely the body of individuals that make up the church; the individuals who go because they want to participate in the liturgy with others. Without these individuals there can be a church service but not the same feeling of community. I have appreciated the Zoom Sunday school meetings because of the connection I have with these individuals and the desire to see them week after week.
“The online worship services have also helped our community to feel connected. I love seeing the comments people post during the Facebook live service.
“It isn’t the same as being there, but it helps maintain the connection.
“The thing for me that is the hardest right now, is not being able to come together as a community to mourn those who have died and celebrate such things as baptisms and other rites of passage. I know that Trinity does such a good job of lifting up those in sadness and despair as well as celebrating important milestones. It feels like there is unfinished business and there is a lack of closure.
“Seeing how excited people were just to have a glimpse of one another last weekend during the Be a Blessing, Get a Blessing, just emphasized how much we need and love each other.
“This whole process has made me so proud that I am on the vestry and a member of the Trinity community. I am touched and amazed by how our people take care of one another.”
“ I think most important thing that I have learned that the church is not a building. Trinity is its people; that one true expression of their Christian essence is to love their neighbors as themselves, and that among themselves are their neighbors, too.
“Whether it’s parishioners with no IT experience learning how to enter a Trinity Zoom meeting, enter the 21st century, and then organize and lead a Trinity Zoom meeting, and then a Sunday service and many other services, in order to participate with their friends, work with their fellow parishioners to help others, and love and praise God. Clergy with years of experience in visiting and comforting the sick in hospital, barred from the building until last rites, and then, courageously, serving the sick, comforting their families, and serving the Lord, by entering for those last moments. Organizers who offered a blessing in return for food and money for those who needed it and Importantly, a way to gather the church together physically, in a different way than before, but together still. Serving those who organized, attended, blessed, gave and received.
“Not the building which is only a place where they gather periodically, and sometimes not for a while. Rather, a place where they share and serve, together, praise, and love.”