Dear PCJH Family,
As we move forward into uncharted territory we would covet your prayers. At seminary there was no course on how to lead a church through a global pandemic. : ) But here we are. We are up for the challenge. We have the Holy Spirit, our Great Companion, to help guide us. We have each other and we have you, our wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. We are grateful for our amazing staff and volunteer leaders who are thoughtfully and prayerfully considering how and when to reopen our doors for in-person worship in a way that takes into account the safety and well-being of all our members and friends.
We would like to point out that the ministry and mission of PCJH never closed during this pandemic. We have continued to faithfully preach the gospel, to gather virtually for worship, prayer, bibles studies, pastoral care, and committee meetings. Surprisingly we have had higher online attendance than we had in-person before the pandemic, thus reaching more people within and outside of Jackson Hole. We have served over 1,500 meals in the last two months to people in need in our community through our Take-Out Thursdays. We have raised and dispersed over $35,000 through our COVID-19 special offering, all while continuing to meet the needs of our operating budget. PCJH is alive and well and has never stopped being open for ministry!! Glory be to God!
However, I know we would all love to be together in-person again when the time is right for each individual to make that personal decision. The task before us now is to decide when and how to reopen our doors for in-person gatherings. While we are not expecting perfection, we are aiming to do this well, in wisdom, love and courage. While we want to move forward in a timely fashion, we are not in a rush. I (Ben) am reminded of a helpful saying from a friend: “Better right than right away.”
The following passage of Scripture from Philippians 2:1-4 has been helpful to us and it is one of our many prayers for the church during this challenging time. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
We realize that there are differences of opinion regarding how best to move forward as a society, even among faithful followers of Christ. We all see the world a little differently because we all come from different life experiences and situations. We are also aware that we all have different comfort levels in interacting with others during this pandemic. In the midst of these realities, we want to encourage us all to be patient and kind to one another (1 Corinthians 13:4). Our Lord commands us to love one another for that is how we will show the world the truth of God’s love (John 13:35).
Perhaps you will disagree with a decision or procedure we make as a church. That is to be expected and it is okay to disagree, but it is not okay to be mean, inconsiderate or divisive. We want to remind you that we are all trying to do our best in this unprecedented time. When it comes to reopening the church doors there is a lot to consider. Thank you for your grace.
The PCJH Session (Board of Elders) met on Tuesday night (May 19) for several hours discussing how best to proceed. Before we make a decision we want to hear from you. You are a valuable member of our church family. We have created a brief survey for you to fill out online by clicking here. It will take you no more than 10 minutes. Please fill it out before Tuesday, May 26 at 11:59pm. This will be very helpful to us in moving forward.
Thank you and may God’s peace be with you!
Pastors Ben & Tammy