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Our prayer for you is that God  anoints you with fresh oil and His precious Spirit will keep and comfort you through hard and troubled times. May He encourage you to communicate to others the  hope that He has given you through his word to overcome all that is set before you.

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The Masked Singers and BYO Communion?

Wherever two or more gather, illness can spread. So as a biologist, I'm rethinking hygiene at church.

Even as a biologist who has studied viruses and immunology, it took a global pandemic for me to realize the true effectiveness of specific hygiene practices to lower illness spread. There is little doubt that church settings provide an almost ideal location for the spread of contagion of all kinds. Churches in ages past responded to changing public health needs, most notably during the 1918 flu pandemic; even the HIV/AIDS crisis spurred research on Communion practices. Churches can and will endure hardships of all kinds, and with COVID-19 still spreading around the world, many pastors are already figuring out ways to adapt.

Congregational singing is getting most of the attention today, but there are so many other opportunities to spread contagious illness at church. The moment you enter, a greeter offers a warm handshake; then church members enthusiastically exchange the passing of the peace with a touch, handshake, or hug. Next, an usher circulates the offering plate around, and then—everyone partakes in Communion.

Will the lessons we are learning now lead to permanent changes in church practices? It’s an interesting question, and only time will tell.

Meeting outdoors

Like all of us, pastors hope to open their churches this summer, but many I’ve met in my work with the science-faith organization BioLogos are taking a cautious attitude and plan to follow official government guidelines, which continue to evolve, before deciding on a precise course of action. Andrew Smith, a pastor in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, mentioned the likelihood of not holding a separate children’s ministry and said, “we’ll probably look at two services instead of one to allow for social distancing.” Alex Burgess ...

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Singing the Songs of Injustice

Biblical, angry, congregational worship can help transform our hearts and churches.

While many nonviolent protests and some destructive riots took place over the past week in reaction to George Floyd’s death, churches have responded in various ways—marching peacefully, holding prayer vigils, and addressing racial injustice from their pulpits. David Bailey, director of the reconciliation ministry Arrabon and founder of Urban Doxology, and David Taylor, associate professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, believe there is another way churches can respond: in worship. But not just any kind of congregational singing. Bailey and Taylor dialogue about their passion for the biblical outlet for anger in singing the psalms.

David Taylor (DT): How do you feel about what has happened over the past couple of weeks?

David Bailey (DB): Former pastor and Native American activist Mark Charles says, “the temperature of race relations in America is always at a simmer and every so often there is an event that turns it to a boiling point.” As a black man living in America, so many decisions in my life are influenced by fear. When I jog, I go to a gym, so I don’t end up like Ahmaud Arbery. I never put myself in a position where it could be one white woman’s word against mine so that I don’t end up in a situation like Emmett Till or Amy Cooper in Central Park. This reality is often a private matter, but when racial disparity is in the news it causes a mixed feeling of vulnerability, relief that more people are aware, embarrassment that you don’t have as much control over your life as white Americans do, and anger that it is this way.

James Baldwin said that “to be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all of the time.” ...

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