Saturday, March 28

Good afternoon church!
 
We pray you are all doing well and remaining healthy. For some of you cabin fever may be starting to set in; rest assured that by staying home you are doing your part to address the present health crisis. As we said in our first weekend communication, we serve a Sovereign God in whom we trust. We hope you are able to take advantage of the many opportunities provided for us to continue to be the church in spite of distance, and to grow closer to God and even to one another during these times. 
 
Tomorrow, the church will “gather” for worship online. What a treat it is to welcome Rev. Ann Dickey to the pulpit! Ann is one of our Parish Associates and she will be preaching on Mark 4:35-41. If you have little ones in your life, don’t miss Sara’s online Sunday school on Facebook. It is a great resource to help our children continue to grow in their faith. 
We are also launching a new online devotional on Facebook Live, Mondays at noon let by Caroline. It is a 5-minute weekly devotional to help center us as we begin our week. You can access it on our Facebook page or firstpreswc.com/coronavirus .
 
Next Sunday, April 5, we are ushered into Holy Week . Like you, we are heartbroken having to celebrate this most holy time away from each other. First Presbyterian joins thousands of other congregations in affirming that the Church is so much more than a building and stronger than any physical distance. We are especially looking forward to celebrating Easter with you online this year as we affirm the message of life and hope in the middle of great uncertainty. Watch for the upcoming mid-week email with details about Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (with at home communion), Good Friday and Easter services.
 
Lastly, we want to thank you for the amazing response we’ve received to the Matthew 25 Lenten campaign and to the coronavirus relief matching gift funds. As you heard mid-week, we are concluding the Lent campaign early and celebrating that we surpassed the goal weeks ahead of schedule. Through the generosity of an anonymous church member, we have established a dollar-for-dollar matching gift fund (up to $25,000) to assist in immediate community COVID-19 related needs. I am pleased to say that as of this email, we have received over $21,000 toward a potential $50,000 for immediate crisis relief. This is in addition to the $32,500+ gifts we received for the Lent campaign.
 
We are monitoring community needs in conversation with Executive Directors of local mission partners like the Chester County Food Bank, Good Samaritan, Friends Association, the Atkinson Center and the West Chester University Promise Program among others. This will be an ongoing process as their needs continue to change and we allocate funds where they are most needed. The first disbursement of the matching gift is as follows:
 
  • We will sponsor the laundry service for the Atkinson Center, a shelter for single men in Coatesville. This will enable the residents there, many of whom have chronic health issues, to stay in quarantine rather than using a public laundromat.
  • We will give funding to Chester County Food Bank, which is scrambling to provide meals for children who are out of school and to seniors in need.
  • We are planning to assist Good Samaritan, which is attempting to keep their clients who were recently housed from returning to homelessness due to employment crises brought on by the pandemic. This includes rent assistance, utility payments, and childcare.
 
If you would like to contribute to the coronavirus crisis relief matching fund , please go to our website firstpreswc.com/give (or clink on the button below). Alternatively, you can also mail a check while writing “coronavirus crisis” on the memo line.
Additionally, our Matthew 25 Lent Campaign funds are already at work with a focus on those experiencing homelessness. For example:
 
  • The fact that we raised our full goal of $25,000 means that we can begin to follow through with our hope to support a young family served by the Friends Association. They were already particularly vulnerable, and made more so by the recent crisis. This money will help a mom and her young children put food on the table and support them until she can get employment and permanent housing.
  • We’re also in contact with a Promise Program student who is set to graduate in May. She’s balancing a full school schedule with as many hours of work as she can get, and applying to grad schools. We’re hoping to use this funding to assist her in moving into her own apartment after graduation. To find out more about the WCU’s Promise Program, click below:
In these days of uncertainty, it is uplifting to see God using the Church to bring hope to others. Thank you for all you do. Reach out if we can pray for you or help in any way. We love you. We miss you. And we pray the day comes soon when we can see each other in person again.
 
Blessings
 
Pastors Greg and Caroline



First Presbyterian Church | 130 W. Miner Street | 610-696-0554


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