March 13, 2020
As I know you are all aware, the local and national response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve by the hour. After communicating with you yesterday, we have received additional and updated guidance from local, state and denominational leaders advising us to begin the suspension of Sunday morning worship services immediately rather than waiting until next week. The Session and I believe this is the safest and wisest course of action even as it is difficult to discontinue such important parts of how we experience community and nourish our faith.
We are suspending Sunday morning services at FPC for the month of March, including the 15th, 22nd, and 29th. We will be reevaluating the situation during this time to determine what actions to take in April.
This coming Sunday morning we will live stream a worship service from the church at 9:00 a.m. though we will not have anyone in the congregation. That service will be available for viewing afterwards as is our usual practice. We will be offering a video worship service for the following two Sundays as well.
We are also discerning whether or not to close our campus to all activities during the week, including the programs of our partners who utilize our buildings. I will send additional information out as soon as decisions are made.
During this time, we are creating plans to reach out to people in our congregation to check in and encourage you to continue reaching out to people you know as well. This is an important time to continue building and nurturing community. As we observe social distancing, we do not want to create social isolation. In the meantime, let me remind of you of some things I shared yesterday:
Join us in praying: Pray for patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, and public health officials. Pray for leaders who have to make difficult decisions. Prayer reminds us whose we are.
Practice neighborliness: Wash your hands. Stay home if you are sick. Don’t make assumptions about people due to ethnicity or country of origin.
Communicate: If you or someone you know is currently in self-quarantine, is isolated for any reason or is sick, please let our staff know, particularly Marge Rice, Director of Caring. You are also encouraged to reach out to one another through calls, emails, or visits. We want to make sure we stay connected throughout this season!
Finally…Remember: Remember that church is not a building—it is us, the community of Christ—and we are at our best as church dispersed in the community. For now, we are continuing ministry on campus and off-campus through small groups, suppers, and other small gatherings. Remember that worship is not only what happens on Sunday morning. Our lives include opportunities and experiences of worship throughout the day and all week long. We are never “canceling church” or “canceling worship.” Instead, we may be invited into a time of creatively and courageously discovering new ways to be the church and experience worship. In this, we hold one another in prayer for the Holy Spirit to continue inspiring and guiding our lives of faith and faithful living. Remember that our hope lies in Jesus Christ alone and we will get through this season—whatever it may include. Thanks be to God.