None of us could have foreseen the events of 2020 11 months ago. In December 2019, I sat in staff and elder meetings and prayed and dreamed about the year we were beginning. We had big dreams and were developing exciting plans (at least from our vantage point) … but as the year unfolded, the Lord guided us into different waters.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways: personally, professionally, recreationally, and even ecclesiastically (related to the church). For some of you who have lost loved ones to the virus, this year has brought great sorrow. For others, you have seen your businesses torn asunder by lockdowns and closures. Compared to your hardships, the things we have endured corporately as a church family seem more trivial, but have been (nonetheless) consequential.
The virus, and everyone’s differing responses to it, led to creativity in how we gathered for worship:
- Though we were already streaming our worship services entering this year, we had few congregants using that forum weekly. For obvious reasons, attendance online has dramatically increased this year, with new services going live each Sunday at wildwoodchurch.org/live at 10:15AM.
- As we began the year, we never dreamed we would have a weekly outdoor worship service. Yet, as I write this post, we have been doing so every Sunday for seven months (most recently at 8AM)! It has been a tremendous privilege to gather with many of you to worship in this environment over this span. I know that many do not yet feel comfortable worshipping indoors, and this outdoor environment has been a “home” for a portion of our congregation these past several months.
- Given the need for social distancing, we have also added additional worship services once we moved back indoors. We have three different services at 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 (with children’s ministry, student ministry, and college and adult classes meeting concurrently). These continue to be great opportunities to worship together!
- Additionally, we erected a tent in front of the church where we have hosted overflow seating for the 10:15 service since early August. We also have turned our coffee bar area into an additional overflow seating environment as needed.
Through these variety of venues, we have continued to “not forsake meeting together as is the habit of some.” What a blessing to worship with each of you in this time and season.
As the winter months are now upon us, however, we are adjusting our Sunday morning worship options slightly, recognizing the cold weather making outdoor events less tolerable. Beginning NEXT SUNDAY, November 22, we will be stopping the 8AM outdoor chapel service. The remainder of our worship options will carry on as normal, but this outdoor option is ceasing for this season.
We know that this will make it harder for some of you who are still not able to enter our facility to gather together for worship. We are so sorry for this! However, we would love to invite you to join us online in the livestream at wildwoodchurch.org/live. Additionally, know that some of our adult classes still offer Zoom options, and we have a number of resources for our families if you are not able to gather with us in person at this time. You can find all these options on our website at wildwoodchurch.org.
Thanks for continuing to follow Jesus together with us to the glory of God at Wildwood in 2020 … and beyond. See you Sunday, November 15 for one last outdoor chapel at 8AM … or (as always) indoors at 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30, or on the stream.