We are the Church… Not the Building
The church is not a building. It’s a community of people woven together through the Holy Spirit that worships together, celebrates the sacraments, grows in discipleship, and serves the community and world around it. Throughout this past year, we’ve learned that Vista Ridge United Methodist Church can still live into our mission of building live-giving relationships with God, with each other, and with our community even when we cannot meet in our building.
This winter storm has brought this reminder to us again. Yesterday, we discovered that water pipes in our church burst. These pipes were in the ceiling and have caused significant damage throughout the building. The sanctuary itself has some flooding, but it did not horribly affect the ceiling, stage, altar, or any of the equipment that we know of at this point. Some of the staff offices were affected by the flooding while others seem to be fine. There is flooding in the kitchen, nursery, some children’s classrooms, fellowship hall, rehearsal room, and more.
We are working with our insurance company, and a restoration company will start the cleanup process as soon as they are available. There are no physical ways for the congregation to help at this time, but we will keep you updated. I know of at least four other United Methodist Churches that are in similar situations and I know there are churches, businesses, and homes throughout our community facing similar circumstances, too.
My heart hurts and I know this will be a headache and hassle for us all. We won’t have worship in the sanctuary this Sunday and next week is still to be determined. But insurance will help us fix these things, and at the end of the day, they are all just things. Even the things that are considered “sacred” are things. It is all replaceable. Insurance helps us replace carpet, furniture, and walls, but the role of insurance is to fix the building, not be the church. That’s your role and that’s my role.
As far as I know, all of our church members are safe right now. While there are many in our community who are not sheltered and not warm, our church continually steps up and supports Christian Community Action and The Salvation Army to ensure that we help the maximum number of people in our community. We’ve helped stock their pantries for times like this and we will continue to do so.
Throughout Lent, our goal is to collect 1,000 items of canned meat for CCA and I believe we’ll reach that goal, even if we can’t worship inside our building. Throughout this storm, members of our church have provided warm meals for neighbors, opened their warm homes, and checked on one another.
You have been the church throughout this COVID experience, and you are the church during this winter storm. So we’ll pray for our church building to get fixed, but we’ll also keep praying and serving to ensure that we stay focused on what is truly most important.