Grace Notes and Possibilities: Hope

Our senior pastor Paul called me last month and told me about a new church project. He imagined conversations among Laurel Heights members about how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted us, what unexpected good had come, and what hopes we had for our future church. Paul asked me to read the concept paper he had drafted and consider being the project lead for this idea he and the church leadership team were calling “Grace Notes and Possibilities.” I read the paper and I told him “yes.”

I also told Paul that if he had called two weeks earlier I would have told him “no.” I wasn’t ready. I did not have the energy. Grief takes a lot out of you. My wife, Lydia Powell, had died four months earlier. Some days I could do several tasks while other days I gave myself bonus points for brushing my teeth twice. The ebb and flow. Coping with grief. Adjusting to a new identity: Widow.

I love doing project management. Lists and spreadsheets and timelines—oh my! We assembled a dynamic team (Tanya Campen, Sue Hall, Stephen Haney, Jane Manning, Katie Myers, Paul Escamilla and our fabulous Zoom facilitator Rev. Wyndee Holbrook) and went to work.

We invited you to participate in a number of ways: Zoom sessions, a 7-question survey, Instagram and Facebook prompts, and videos. We want to know how you are doing during this abnormal time as well as your hopes and imaginings for the future of our church. What will our new normal look like? In the process of doing this work, I realized that my own list of “yeses” in this “no” season was getting longer and longer.

  • My son Ryan and I meet up at church each Sunday. We tie a ribbon to the prayer wall. Listen to the bells. Share moments of silence followed by deep conversation.
  • I joined a Sunday School class. On Zoom!
  • Relationships with my church family are deepening.
  • The love and support of family, friends, and my church family help me in my grief to know that I am not alone.
  • God is with me.
  • Ideas for changes for our church are being imagined which will open our doors even wider.
  • We are closer, even in our separateness.

What could not be imagined a year ago has been lived. I have survived. We have survived. I have hope -and hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:1-5). Thank you, Laurel Heights, for being the church for me through this time, and inviting me, patiently, to find my way again into life together with you, my church family. I am grateful beyond words for the grace note that is you.

Rachel Goeres,
Chair, Grace Notes and Possibilities Work Team

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5