Dear PCWS Family,
In the Presbyterian tradition we believe that worship is at the very heart of the church’s life. All that the church does is rooted in its worship. Worship shapes our lives and is the most visible way we express our faith.
For many of us, including me, gathering together for worship is a highlight of our week and one of our most important patterns and practices. At PCWS, we’re a loving family that worships together, fellowships together, loves one another … together.
When times are difficult, when disaster strikes, when we suffer loss, the constant source of strength is in our God, and as a part of a faith community we are called together and drawn together to experience God
And so, when the novel coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 virus developed into a pandemic, it made sense that a church like ours would be a gathering point – a place of comfort and a place of confidence and faith in the face of fear.
As Christians, we are called to be people who follow God boldly and faithfully – even in the face of fear. When we’re guided by fear and panic we lose our ability to be grounded in our faith. Many of the responses to COVID-19 are driven by fear.
But as we watch the pandemic spread throughout other regions, it has become clear that there are efforts that can be taken, not out of fear, but out of responsibility and out of a communal approach to reduce the risks associated with gatherings of people.
Reducing gatherings is key to containment and suppression of the virus.
We find ourselves, as a church, asking the question of how we can be faithful and worshipful while also being responsible and being leaders in our community. In discussion with the Session, we have decided that starting this Sunday we will begin making audio and video of our service available through Facebook Live. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the service. You simply need to visit
starting at about 9:25 a.m. on Sunday morning.
You are encouraged to stay home and participate in worship through the video stream!
This is new for us, so you’ll need to be patient as we work out any kinks.
While you are encouraged to worship from home, particularly if you are not feeling well or a member go the demographics identified as being at a heightened risk, this Sunday we will still gather for worship at PCWS.
You’ll notice some changes at church if you do come on Sunday. Instead of hymnals, the hymns will be in the bulletin. We’ve removed other items from the pews so that it is easier to sanitize the space. We won’t be collecting the morning offering by passing plates, but there will be plates available to place your offering. You can also, always, give online through our website at presbyws.org/donate. Finally, we will not have Fellowship after worship and the Pop-Up Mission Project will be postponed. The nursery will be closed, but we will have Sunday School during worship (Confirmation Class will not be taking place after worship). The baptism planned for Sunday will also be rescheduled. If you will be worshipping from home and would like an electronic copy of the bulletin, please email me and I will send you one.
On March 22 and 29 we will be transitioning to only worshipping by livestream through the Facebook Live link above.
It is anticipated that the need for containment will increase in the coming days. If our status changes with regard to worship, we will keep you updated regularly. I will also provide further updates regarding the subsequent weeks.
Through these efforts worship will continue! Our community of faith will still be together – just in a different way. Lent is often seen as a time of doing things different and exploring ways that we can grow in our faith. Even when the circumstances seem dire they can guide our faith in a new way. And so, we enter into this new space with the confidence that God is with us and will be with us even as we worship in our homes, with our families, and connected to one another through technology.
There are a couple of other important things: all groups within the church are encouraged to either cancel meetings or find ways to hold them remotely. I can help you in creating ways to do that. I encourage leaders of church groups to make decisions and notify your members and the church office of those changes. My Bible Study and the Thursday Morning Book Discussion will be on hold until further notice. We are suspending our Gathering Around the Table program at this time. This means that the Gathering planned for tomorrow night will be rescheduled for a future date. Please keep an eye on your email and the PCWS online calendar as we try and keep you informed.
Finally, this pandemic, and our response to it, provides an opportunity for us to find new and different ways to be the community we have all grown to love. Reach out to one another. Social distancing is such an unpleasant term … I encourage you to close the distance using your telephone, email, and other means to avoid physical touching while still having contact. If you have any need, please reach out. Your church family is not going anywhere and we can help one another. I will be asking the Deacons, Elders, Stephen Ministers, and our staff to be ready to help where we can.
Friends, all will be well.
All will be well.
We have a role to play in making decisions that are difficult and inconvenient, but we also believe with confidence that God has a role as well. As we continue to worship as a community, whether in one building or in many, we are joined by God through the work of the Holy Spirit and we will continue to be equipped to serve God in the world.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.