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Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. ~Luke 5:14-16

My Dear Congregation,

I’d like to say that we’re on the home stretch of things, but the truth is that I don’t know when this pandemic will end. Seminary discouraged Divination training for us novices based on principle; what are you going to do? It would be around this time that I would craft my newsletter to tell you that I will be traveling to Georgia in order to visit my parents, but that’s no longer an option, and least not for me and my family.

Still, I have made the very necessary decision to take two weeks off just to reorient myself so that I can better serve this community. The Worship and Music Team will be taking over in my absence, with Zoom worship at 9:30 AM Sunday mornings. There was conversation around experimenting with outdoor worship, but the Worship Team, Taskforce, and Council all concluded that this is not the time to reinvent the wheel.

The Council will have it’s first retreat when I return in October, which will define our new chapter together as a community of faith. Our theme is as follows: “How to faithfully serve Jesus in the 21st Century as the Church ages”. . . it sounds like a radio play, right? Feel free to write one up using this premise; I’d love to perform it with a group, but I digress. Thanks to those of you who have been participating in the Conversation Cafés, I have been given plenty of Staycation ideas to occupy my two weeks off since I cannot go away. I can explore Colonial Williamsburg and search for Mermaids in Norfolk all without leaving Gloucester for more than a day. I hope that you all have the opportunity to reorient yourselves during this Pandemic. July and August offered some significant milestones in ministry as I was able to officiate my first wedding with Dr. Lilly Frost and Mr. John Mayer, presided over the funeral of Ms. Higgins, baptized August Belle Crocker, and celebrated the vow renewal of the Mr. and Mrs. Crocker. That’s like the full gamut of external Pastoral services rendered from the office in less than two weeks, which is pretty cool. I will be taking my Staycation from September 20th until October 3rd with the intention of kickstarting my return with a Blessing of the Animals/ Worship with our pets at home on Sunday, October 4th. My porch is always open to those who schedule an appointment to meet with me at the Pink House, but until then, I look forward to writing to you in October from beyond the page.

In God’s Abiding Love,
Pastor Jeniffer Tillman, M.D.