HUDSON -- First Presbyterian Church members have been worshipping from home for months now, but the congregation still working to bring people together -- in creative ways.
Traveling between the homes of the congregation over the next month is an outdoor art piece by Richard Ward, exemplifying the Biblical series of Exodus.
“Instead of staying in the lament of what can’t be, this is another way that we're leaning into what can be,” Pastor Kendra Grams said.
The piece has two pillars that represent the pillar of smoke or clouds and the pillar of fire that God uses to lead the Israelites through the wilderness.
It started making the rounds in mid-September and will continue into November. Each participating household will have it on display for a couple of days, and then it will pass on to the next member of the community.
Grams did not know which house would have it during the first week of display, but she was on one of her regular walks when she suddenly came upon it.
“When I experienced that surprise for myself, that’s what I hope it is for others, too. Just this beautiful blessing of this gorgeous art that brings joy and wonder, especially in the midst of these times,” she said.
For the project Ward created pillars that are a literal representation of the story. They are freestanding and can be appreciated from a distance.
“I hope it’s having an impact,” Ward said.
The idea was to create something that could bring people out of the current crisis of the pandemic, the election and other issues like the widespread fires in the western part of the country.
“It all ties together into this theme of finding strength, finding your faith, there is hope things will be better,” Ward said.
Grams hopes it reminds the community that even amid challenges, there is always beauty and God is always present.
“I hope this whole journey and this worship series helps us remember that we are one people, and we can have differences, and we do have differences, but at the end of the day we’re all in this tougher and we journey together with God’s leading,” she said.
The art piece is just one way the church is working to embrace worship in different ways, one of the main values of the church even before the pandemic.
“We’ve been trained to worship in a certain space, in a certain way, and public health has forced us to think about all of that totally differently so I think this is just another extension of embracing forced creativity,” Grams said.
Everyone has been forced to be creative in this time, and it’s allowing them to explore things they might not have initially experienced, she said.
The church has been holding virtual services over Zoom for months now. Ward said the practice has actually helped the community grow, as people from out of town are joining in and members are connecting with people they might not have before.
“Somehow those barriers have come down,” he said.
The church is also hosting virtual confirmation classes, putting together children's ministry projects to drop off at homes, convening the choir virtually and recently held a drive-through pick up for homemade communion bread.
“We’re sad like everybody that we can’t gather together safely but everyone is also embracing the good in what is possible and finding new life in that, which is the story of our faith,” Grams said.