COVID-19 Pastoral Letter No. 10

Dear Church Family and Friends,

This past Monday, the Governor announced another loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.  Our church is able to open our attendance up to 50 percent of our capacity.  This means that the RSVP system that has been in place for worship attendance for the past two weeks is no longer necessary.  Our pre-COVID-19 average worship attendance was about 60 percent of our capacity.

I’ve really enjoyed hearing from some of you that you may be comfortable returning to in-person worship soon, and I really look forward to seeing you.  This Sunday will be another step toward “returning to normal,” although we are closer to the beginning of this process than the end.

As you return to worship, please remember that we are still observing social distancing. While we would all love for that to be over, please continue to be mindful that in some places, assemblies of worship have been incubators for the virus.  So, please continue to patient and stay with the social distancing protocol for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Once again, as long as social distancing is recommended, if you decide to stay home for reasons of conscience or from an abundance of caution, we honor, respect, and support your decision. We continue to offer livestream service at 11 AM and 5 PM here.  If you find that there are still starts and stops and gaps in the livestream service, you may access the recorded service, which is available shortly after the conclusion of the livestream.  This should eliminate those difficulties.  If neither of these works well, our audio sermons are available at Sermon Audio.  We are continuously working to improve the quality of our livestream, so hopefully, it will improve week by week.

Here’s what you can expect when you arrive at church:

  • Bulletins and hand sanitizer will be available in the narthex.
  • There will be no nursery.
  • We strongly urge you to wear a mask upon entering and exiting the building.
  • The deacons will direct you to a reserved spot to provide for social distancing. If you are at high risk, let the deacon on duty know so that you can be seated in the back and dismissed first.
  • The entire order of service, including music, will be included in the bulletin so that hymnals and Bibles don’t need to be touched and passed around.
  • Parents will need to be in control of their children at all times. This means entering, exiting, and going to the restroom.
  • Protocols will be in place to eliminate hand-to-hand contact in the distribution of bulletins and the collection of offerings.
  • Dismissal will take place back to front.
  • Upon being dismissed, we urge you not to congregate in the narthex, but to proceed directly outside.

ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL

Pastor Julian Zugg will continue to teach the adult Sunday School class on the Holy Spirit on Zoom.  Watch your email for the Zoom links to Adult Sunday School, which runs from 9:40-10:30 and the Zoom chat after Evening Worship, which begins around 6:15.

Once the class is over, please make sure you log out of the Zoom meeting, as the church’s account is used for other meetings, and we can only run one meeting at a time.

FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE

Reformation 21 has the story of Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year.  This is an account of one man’s experience during the last plague that London suffered, which took place in 1665.  Almost twenty percent of the population of London died during this plague.  The measures that were prescribed to control the plague were not that different from what governments and the medical establishment are attempting to do in the twenty-first century, although today, we are better armed with information and technology.  However, one striking difference is that the government urged the people to “implore the mercy of God.”

Defoe is better known as the author of Robinson Crusoe, and his Christianity comes through in both books.  He was raised in a Nonconformist (Presbyterian) home, which made him ineligible to attend Oxford of Cambridge.  Defoe attributes the cessation of the plague to the merciful hand of God

During this time, I am very grateful for the leadership, care and the hard work of our officers.  It’s such a blessing to see each man put his gifts into action, and for us to all work together to care for our congregation.  If you need anything, please contact one of the pastors, your shepherding elder, or deacon.  We want to pray with and for you, and help you with any spiritual or material needs that you have.  Especially, please let us know if you are sick, have a specific need, are out of work, or have a reduced income from COVID-19 circumstances.  This is the time for the Body of Christ to all work together and in dependence on him, to pull through this situation, and come out of it with greater unity and maturity in Christ.

Personally, I have greatly missed seeing each one of you, and the conversations that we are able to have by just showing up.  And I really miss my Sunday School class and the children of the church, and look forward to seeing them back soon!

Love in Christ,

Pastor Clay

 

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