This week I am participating in the virtual conference session of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Normally this yearly meeting is a great chance to gather together with colleagues and friends, catch up with each other, and support and encourage each other in person. Of course in the age of Covid, our work is done via Zoom. Some of the best parts of Annual Conference, that important fellowship, are absent in this format, but we are still able to get some important work accomplished. I’m camped out in my basement office watching, voting, and learning about the wonderful ministries across the Greater Northwest Episcopal area.
It really is amazing how well we have adapted to the technological challenges that we are faced with when we cannot meet in person. These virtual meetings proceed almost flawlessly and I appreciate the opportunity to multi-task during the sessions as I can take a walk, work in the garden, or organize my office while still being engaged in the sessions. I greatly miss the in person elements of Annual Conference but there are many positives of doing the work we are doing in a virtual space. I know that we will have in person aspects of Annual Conference in the future but I am sure we will not go back to the way we used to do it. The future is a new way of being in which we take the best of the past and combine it with what we have learned in the past year. The future is forward!
This is also true about our local churches. We won’t go back to the way things used to be, rather we will move forward together into a new future that will help us reach more and more people with the Good News of Jesus the Christ. We have learned a great deal this year about how to do church differently and those learnings will help to guide us. As we begin to open to more and more in person meetings I look forward to seeing many of you face to face as we move forward together.
Rev. Jeff Lowery