A Pastoral Letter

A Year into the Pandemic
With Hope on the Horizon - A Pastoral Letter

The grace and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, be with you all.

The first thing that must be said is a grateful "thank you" to each of you for being faithful to this Chapel during the last year with your Time, Talents, and Treasure. It has been a real blessing to see how each of you has responded to this unsettling, uncertain, isolating, deadly, and disruptive time with all your love for each other and your encouragement of the pastoral and lay leadership of this church. It has become so obvious that it is not a building that unites us but a merciful and powerful God who lives and dwells in the hearts of every person who calls this Chapel their spiritual home.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support this Chapel with their financial gifts. The ministries of this church have been sustained as the staff has adapted to a constantly changing work environment and our volunteers never paused their efforts among us and in the community. Established ministries such as our Medical Supply Loan Program, Backpack Pals, Matthew 25:40, and Christmas for Moore have continued with a renewed urgency. New ministries such as our support for the staff and residents of the Seven Lakes Assisted Living Home, several food drives for the children of our community, and our relief donations to single mothers facing unemployment have been implemented due to the need brought on by the pandemic.

At the same time that these outreach programs were happening there was also a need to care for each other as we faced the worst part of the pandemic during the later part of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. We have solidly held together as a community of faith through a new experiment of online worship, phone calls by volunteer Care Deacons, Advent and Lenten Bible studies, Daily/Weekly Seasonal Devotions, the leadership provided
by our Board of Directors, and the love and support that all of you have shared with one another.

No doubt that this coronavirus pandemic has been the greatest crisis to face our Chapel in its forty-four year history, yet we have worshipped God, we have celebrated the sacraments, we have learned more about Jesus and ourselves, and we have served our members and our community through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of an ever-present and loving Lord.

There is light at the end of the tunnel but the future continues to be uncertain. Together we are traveling into unknown territory to create a new "normal" for our Chapel. We pray that with God's blessing and your continued support and goodwill that we will not only survive but we will thrive in the months and years to come as we take the best of our Chapel's traditions and pair them with the hopes and dreams of a people who welcome what God has in store for us going forward.

If you are new to our community or if you are seeking a loving church family, please contact the Chapel office ((910) 400-5188 or citp10@7lakeschapel.com) and speak to Leslie, our Chapel Administrator. She will be able to place you on our email list so that you will receive updates on all things Chapel related and the information that would allow you to join us online for worship.

I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand
so that I will not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad,
and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.
The Acts of the Apostles 11:25-26

Dick Van Horne
President, Chapel Board of Directors

Reverend Doctor Paul James