There have been lots of things taking place on the lawn — from book clubs to yoga — at First Congregational United Church of Christ in River Falls.

Pastor Chris announced other things will be starting up (not necessarily on the lawn), including three small bell choirs and meals served in eco-friendly containers.

They’ve decided to “pivot” and begin outside worship a little later, at 10 a.m., hopefully giving the weather a chance to warm up a bit more. There will also still be the YouTube livestream and archive, as well as the radio broadcast at 11 a.m.

The current sermon series is about the gifts of faith. On Sept. 27, 2020, we heard about “trust.” Starting uncharacteristically with a few one-liner jokes, (including that ducks are “quacks”) followed by inspiring vocal solos, there were topical words about technology and traffic and weather. It was also explained that “trust is relational” and “faith is situational.” The children’s sermon early on in the service demonstrated a situation where invisible forces kept water in a glass instead of on someone’s head.

If I once knew that it’s believed the Chicago fire in the late 1800s was started by a cow kicking over a lantern I forgot it. If I ever knew about the difficult and sorrowful life of the author of the words to the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” I couldn’t’ve told you about it (although I could hum a few bars).

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Pastor Chris said we’re not talking about just optimism, positive thinking or “blind trust.” Faithful trust is when you do everything you can during the day. Lean into it. Then trust when your head hits the pillow at night that you lean on God — who will take it from there.

As for leaning in, consider car communion with a deacon at your window. It was decided by Wednesday morning that the weather’s not looking good for outdoor worship the first Sunday in October. So, there’s to be drive-through communion from 9-9:45 a.m. with the elements served on sanitized trays and prayers offered up.

The homily for Oct. 4, according to the bulletin posted online is about the complete and abiding gift of “joy.”