Car Church started three weeks ago.
As the restrictions were slowly beginning to lift (Phase 1) here in Connecticut, churches were allowed to assemble either in socially distanced seating or socially distant cars. It was evident before we even had our first Car Church experience, that many minds and hands were involved in the preparation. It was obvious from Father Peter’s emails that details were attended to with consideration of the health and safety guidelines as well as respect for the rich traditions and symbols of the church.
We pulled into the parking lot that first week and the vision that was described in an email appeared before me. The parking lot was marked with cones. There were orange Home Depot buckets for collection. We were greeted by a masked usher who directed us into the “church”. Ahead of us was another usher in a safety vest directing us to our socially distant parking spot. Before us, was the altar, in between two full beautiful trees. Father Peter made his announcements and Billy and I commented on the great speaker system. Despite being in the last “pew”, we could see and hear. Being surrounded by other car parishioners made us feel at home. The passing of communion was done seamlessly. Everyone masked up, exited their vehicle and a masked Father Peter efficiently made his way around offering communion. There was no music, so in about 45 minutes, we were being ushered out in the same way we were ushered in. Seamless.
The second week was a repeat of the first. Seamless.
Then, this week, as we were greeted by our masked usher, we were told to tune our radio to FM 103.3. Billy followed the ushers hand directions and we pulled into our spot in the last “pew” and I fiddled with the radio. Then I heard it, music. Church music was playing in our car. At first I thought it was just random, but then, I realized it was Matt at the organ inside our church, the church I was looking at from the outside yet the music from in there was playing in my car. I turned to Billy, “Jeez, they are really kickin’ it!” The mass went on and my mind wandered. I began to think of all the people that had come together to bring this church community together. I kept thinking about all the people that had shared a vision and each week worked to bring that vision to life. And on this third week, clearly that same group worked to make it better. And it was, it was better with music.
The month of March, I learned how to use *67 to call parents from home, I learned how to send a google invite and I learned the value of a google calendar to schedule and get on any google meet. The month of April, I learned the power of present and google slides to teach in a virtually. Towards the end of April, I learned the power of Jamboard in virtual teaching and learning. I could go on and on about what and how I’ve learned.
When I think back on the past 12 weeks, I celebrate my learning, but it makes me miss the learning that is done together. When we are together, in school, teaching and learning exudes a contagious energy. I’ve gotten better, in the distance learning, but it’s been a lot of lonely work. I look forward to the day when I am getting better because we are together. We are better together.