Psalm 51:7 "Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow." (NET Bible)
Hello fine church family,
First I want to tell you how proud I am of all of you in light of wanting to respond in loving and creative ways to this challenging pandemic. We are the Body of Christ, and our definition as disciples is to "meet together with glad and joyous hearts.. What do we do when we are discouraged from gathering? It has been decided by the Session, confirmed by the Diaconate, that it is in everyone's best interest to completely shut down all church worship services and other ministry and mission activities that utilize the facilities of WFPC
at least through March 31st. Many events (such as Youth Sunday) will be postponed until later in the spring. I will be sending out regular communications via email. Remember your deacons. They are ready to keep in touch with our most vulnerable members and friends, and will be checking up on you periodically throughout this challenging time.
Questions and Answers:
- What about Sunday worship? This shut-down is allowing for some very creative alternatives to how we stay connected as a faith community. This means, beginning this Sunday, March 15, at 10:00, a very different format for worship will be broadcast live, and will remain online at our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wfpres/) just like our usual live-feed on Sunday mornings... but different. So, grab a cup of coffee and a comfortable chair with your family, and worship live, from my office, along with pastor John, who will be bring the message. Katherine Peiper and I will serve as worship leaders. This should be very interesting... don't miss it.
- What about Discipleship and other groups that meet regularly? All gatherings are canceled at the church. Pastor John, Katherine Peiper and Janet Briley will be getting in touch with all groups and Sunday School leaders with ideas about how to stay connected with one another in the over 60 groups we have meeting each week at the church. When the staff met earlier today to discuss the possibilities, one suggested webinars, or interactive online Bible classes. This could be a great opportunity to reach those who are not part of our church community.
- Will Wednesday Nights Together also take a break? Yes. All dinners and any other ministry that uses food is officially canceled until further notice. Hopefully our creative minds will discover dinner modes of connecting with one another for Bible study groups and such.
- Does this mean "everything" will be off limits??? Everything that takes place on the campus... including modular buildings, the entire CLC, the Sanctuary and Preschool wing... will be closed. We are insisting that everyone stay away, and if you have a key (even one you may not be authorized to use), please do not use it.
- Why can't I use my key and come and go as I please since it will just be "me?" There is a simple reason, mostly surrounding security and the risk of spreading the virus on surfaces (and we have a lot of surfaces). But, here's a more compelling reason. The church is going to be utilizing an extreme sanitation treatment on all surfaces. If anyone makes an unwarranted entrance to the facilities, the sanitation treatment will need to be repeated.
- Will the office be open??? The office will be open on a very limited basis, restricted to staff use only. I will be here most days. If there is an emergency, you can reach me or John by using our email addresses, [firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com], by leaving a message on the church message machine, or by contacting your deacon.
- What else do we need to do??? Pray. I firmly believe that prayer is the avenue to God's heart, and we are never alone. God is with us, right there beside us, calming our hearts and minds, and inspiring us to explore new avenues of service in Christ's name. The following prayer is not mine. It has been making its way through the web, and several of you have shared it with me. Let us pray this prayer together every day.
I love you, stay safe, be smart, keep the faith.
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making the rent.
May we who have the flexibility of caring for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other
Let us find ways to be the loving embrace to our neighbors.