Yesterday we were blessed to worship with my former congregation, Emanuel Lutheran in Santa Barbara, CA. I admit it felt a little strange to be in the pew instead of at the altar, but what a wonderful time it was to say hi to old friends and give them a first-hand update of what has happened since we left the area on June 1 of this year.
After service with Holy Communion I was able to spend an hour updating them on how things have progressed and what our hopes are in the coming months. Although our lives are a bit more visibly transient and in a state of flux due to Covid, certainly the folks at ELC – and all the other congregations we’ve visited with this year! – understand that sense of uncertainty as well as another variant makes headlines and threatens some of the eased restrictions people have come to enjoy.
It was good to see the congregation was holding steady in the midst of all this as well as the added uncertainty of a pastoral vacancy. They have a Call list and their Call Committee is going over the names carefully to try and narrow down from roughly a dozen recommended candidates to quarter of that they can begin talking with via phone and Zoom. Please keep them in your prayers in this process, as I look forward to celebrating – albeit probably at some distance! – with them when their next shepherd is installed!