Greetings to my Pilgrim Baptist Church Family,
We are in week 27 of the Covid-19 pandemic. The numbers continue to rise in Minnesota.
Total cases in Minnesota top 40,000 with an increase of 609 new cases as of Thursday, July 9, 2020. Minnesota is expecting to top 1,500 deaths before the week is out. Why is it that the numbers for coronavirus victims continue to rise? The answer is remarkably simple; people continue to leave their homes and interact with others, putting themselves and others in harm’s way by exposing themselves and their families without taking the necessary precautions. This is true of the secular community as well as the church community. This week I have learned that several of my colleagues here in the Twin Cities are new victims of Covid-19. Again, I cannot repeat it enough that this virus is real, and it is still here even though you may feel good. I understand the governor has reopened some institutions, but we must be wise for ourselves. I understand that Minnesota has a short summer and long winters, so many of us want to get out of the house now … understood. But if I may encourage you again, please do not go out unless it is extremely necessary. Not only will you make yourselves vulnerable to this virus, but your family as well. This past week there was an article in the New York Times on Coronavirus and church reopening, I want to share it with you, please click on the following link. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/us/coronavirus-churches-outbreaks.html
In addition to keeping one’s physical health, the amount of gun violence continues to rise along with the mercury this summer. I reflect on the 20 young people that were killed last week in the Chicago area, to which St. Paul and Minneapolis are not that far removed. It pains me to reflect on the summers of my youth of going to the park unescorted by my parents, riding my bike up and down the block or from one borough to another only to return sweaty, smelly and exhausted all while feeling safe without a care in the world. That is the way it is supposed to be. But as I pass by many of your homes, I see some of our children limited to playing within the confines of the cyclone fence surrounding their home. This is not the best way for young people to spend their summer … but for now, it is a safe way. It is better to be safe now and able to enjoy next summer, then to be foolish and have this summer be your last. Mom and Dad protect your children at all costs, no matter what they say or how they feel, remember you are the parent, and you have my support.
As we press-on through this crisis, Pilgrim wants to bring you high-quality worship and educational broadcasts as well as a touch-less worship experience (see Pastor’s last email). To do this will require that we address the following technology needs. As we go touch-less we will need a screen of some sort for the Sanctuary and a very large TV for the Fellowship hall so live streaming can be accessed for Worship Service to ensure safe distancing for the worshipers, or movie night or Sunday School videos, etc. In addition to this list, we will also need monitors / TVs for the Grotto side, handicap entrance side, and the foyer area outside the Sanctuary and an electronic marquee. These items are in keeping with one of our goals for 2020 that is the creation and functioning of a Communications and Technology Ministry. These are just some of the items which we must obtain we must also remember the software and hardware that make all the aforementioned run smoothly and effectively. We will need your help to make this happen.
As the work of the church continues to move forward, I cannot thank you enough for the way you have continued to support the church with your Tithes and Offerings. Many of you have given via The United States Postal Service, others have given electronically via the PBC website or via your own bank, it’s all good and I am most appreciative. In your giving, you have not forgotten your Founder’s Day Offering and again, I say thank you. As of this past Sunday, we have not reached our goal of $11,000 but I know we will get there when we all do our part. Your gifts are important to the ministry of this church as we seek to become relevant to your current needs, the needs of our community as well as maintain and / improve upon the physical campus that the Lord already blessed us with. My prayer is that the Lord will bless you double because of your faithfulness to His church during this most difficult time.
Lastly, I wanted to share with you that our Thursday afternoon Food Distribution Ministry, which has only been in operation for six weeks has shared 566 meals with the community and those in need along with many groceries. So, come on down on Thursday and let us continue to work together in serving the community. This is a drive-thru ministry. We must do all that we can while we can because the time will come when the Lord will call us by name, and the Lord will ask us what did you do with the time and resources that I gave you? What will you say?
Pilgrim lets be the church where the walk of faith transforms lives.
Charles L. Gill