Rodney’s Reflection: I want to be with People!

We are going on 3 1/2 months of living in the midst of a global pandemic that has now claimed more lives than Malaria. My heart breaks when I read the names and hear stories of persons who have died during this pandemic.

And as you are all well aware of… COVID-19 has changed our world, and the weeks of physical distancing has taken its toll on many. You or persons you know have experienced the spectrum of emotions. The emotion of grief because of the loss… not limited to just physical loss, but loss of jobs, loss of presence with family at life events (weddings, funerals, graduations, confirmations), trips, concerts, adventures, sport seasons, and milestones. 

I personally have found myself feeling disconnected… not from Allison or my kids, or from God, but from community. 

Do you know what I mean?  

One of the things that gives me life is being connected with others in life and through authentic community.Not Facebook friends where I see only the surface or what you want me to see, but real relationship where I can see and feel the full range of what is going on in another life. Where I see the joy and the tears, and where sometimes you can just be present without words, but just being there screams, you are not alone. I miss this in my daily rhythm of life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I get hugs and snuggles from my kids and from Allison, but it isn’t the same as a hug from my dad, stepmom, good friends, or those I call framily (friends that are more like family).

In the book the 5 Love Languages, I learned that physical touch is in my top two. I am one of those people who need at least 10 hugs a day. One of the things I know I am missing right now are those hugs. Sunday was one day where I got so many extra hugs. I got to have those authentic conversations.

My heart sank as the number of cases and hospitalizations spiked the last couple of weeks. When will it be safe to hug my dad and stepmom? To shake hands, hang out with my running buddy, or sit at the bedside of those who are recovering from surgery or at end of life, holding their hand, and praying?

As a pastor, I promised to follow Jesus, and to a life focused on serving others. I have learned the hard way, if you aren’t careful you give and serve, without refilling, you burn out. So as we try to figure out of how safely be in community as a church, I also have been trying to figure it out personally. So that I can refuel, so that I can refill my love tank, so that I can continue to serve.

How are you refueling?  

Over the last couple of weeks, I have socially distanced, gathered with a couple of close friends, my dad and stepmom, outside to be in community. It felt good and helped to fuel me. I still longed for my hugs, but just seeing others eye to eye and having authentic conversations was so good.

This past weekend, Blanche invited a small group from Aldersgate to gather in the shade of another member’s front yard. Why? To reconnected, to fellowship, and to try safe and new ways to build community which I think we all are missing; that we need in order to refuel. The small group had physically distanced conversations, caught up with each other, and were able to see each other eye to eye. What I heard from several who attended was about how good it felt.

The leadership of the church is working hard to reLaunch in persons public gatherings in safe ways. We want to try some new and creative safe ways to cultivate fellowship, worship, and sacramental (Communion) opportunities in July to safely cultivate community that I think you are missing and I know I have been missing.

Are you willing to stand in a front yard or sit in a backyard with one other family or with a neighbor 6 to 10 feet apart? 

If so… 

Email or let us know you want to impact lives and refuel others. I would love to share more about two community building opportunities:

  1. Aldersgate RoadShow Community (ARC): This is an opportunity for Fellowship, Worship, and Community, in which members of Aldersgate and their guest can gather safely with one of our pastors to celebrate communion, in community, and worship in person.
  2. VBS Roadshow: This Roadshow is a great way to impact the lives of Children and our community through safe, in person community, during the second half of July! 

I am grateful for your continued faithfulness in generosity, in worshiping with us and studying virtually, and for your patience as we all try to figure out how to refuel and reconnect in safe and authentic ways.

See you in Worship,

Rev. Rodney Whitfield,