My beloved Mt. Tam Church,
When I was growing up, it was IQ (intelligence). Then, EQ (emotional) came along. The “Q” of the day has us all buzzing: my friend’s 3-year old grandson announced on the phone to her, “Grandma, we can come out to play today because the A.Q. is moderate!” Who ever knew that along with the temperature and fog conditions, we’d be thinking about A.Q.—air quality—for planning our outdoor events?
Yet here we are, another season of smoke infiltrating what otherwise is the best season in the Bay Area, the cool nights and warm clear days of autumn. My favorite time of the year here…now compromised by the fear of fire and the potential of bad air.
Who knew when we began planning for outdoor worship four months ago and hoping that we would be allowed to gather in-person, outside, under whatever guidelines would be in place that day, that we would have to consider A.Q.? Now each Sunday will be ‘on call’ as we awake on Sunday morning, check out https://www.purpleair.com and https://www.airnow.gov/ and make a decision about whether it is safe to be outdoors together.
As I write this, the prediction for Sunday looks good—below 150, which is the number that determines whether we will be outdoors or not. 152—most likely we will gather. 158—not so much! If the decision is made to not be outdoors, you will receive an email (if you are on the Faith Matters mailing list) and it will be posted on the Mt. Tam Church Facebook page. In that case, we will move indoors for the live stream of an online only service.
One of the byproducts of this pandemic season that is quite miraculous is how the church pivoted, adapted, and continued to offer worship, classes, prayer, and counseling, all online. One Annual Conference leader told me that it appears that only about 5% of our United Methodist Churches in Northern California/Nevada offered online services on March 1st. By April 1st, that was close to 100%! That’s a miracle and a gift from God to God’s people. May we continue to find the miracles even in the midst of confusion and fear, for by whatever means we worship, we are God’s people and we are together.