Worship at Home This Sunday | COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends in Christ,

Following the guidance and recommendations of the science community and public leaders, and council with a variety of elders and staff, Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church will not hold physical worship services at church this Sunday. I am working with our Director of Music Stephen Warner and Director of Children's Ministry to provide resources to worship at home. All groups and events scheduled to meet at church this Sunday have been cancelled.

It is not our of fear or anxiety that we have made this decision. Instead we seek to participate with the wider community to prevent spreading this virus that threatens so many different people.

Session Will Meet by Telecommunication
I have called a special called meeting of Session for tomorrow morning. The elders and I will meet by teleconference to make some decisions about our practices as a church for the weeks to come. We will be staying in communication as best we can to keep you informed of ongoing changes made to patterns in church life.

Staying Connected
We will do as much communication as we can over the coming weeks. You can stay in touch on Facebook or through our website www.japc.org and please contact me if you have a pastoral need (matt at japc.org) or on the pastoral care line: 313-241-6252 which forwards to my cell phone. I also want to encourage you to communicate with other church members. You might normally pass the peace with someone in your pew or usher with a neighbor. With the language of "social distancing" giving us a new idea of how to end the spread of a virus, we do not need to create social distance in our interpersonal connectedness.

We have a new task to consider how we are the body of Christ that is called share God’s love as neighbors. How do we as a church bridge these social distances while keeping safe physical distance to end the spread of COVID-19. This is something we are called to faithfully discern right now as the church. Despite our physical distance, we are still the church and we are the body of Christ together. We can still pray, love, and be together, but it is in a new way for the near future.

A Word of Confidence from Lamentations
As I consider the last 24 hours and all that has changed during such a short span of time, my attention went to scripture. In Lamentations 3, the faithful writer praises God for the attention God gives in difficult times:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. God's mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations is written in a time of difficulty with conviction that God love us and is compassionate toward us even in the midst of tragedy, pain, and grief. So as we do not avoid or deny the challenges of human life. Rather, we seek to live with faith, compassion, and love. Because God is here, with us. No matter what, God chooses to be God who loves people.

As I close this email, I want to offer a prayer for God's presence from the Book of Common Worship that I hope you will pray at home with me:

God of the ages,
You have always been faithful to your people.
Come to us now, we pray.
Give comfort and courage to those who are suffering.
Give strength and skill to those who are working to save and to heal.
Give us your peace that surpasses all understanding.
Open our eyes, hearts, and hands to the movements of your Spirit,
that we might be comforted and to comfort others
in the name of Christ, our healer and our light. Amen.

Grace and Peace to you,

For more information about Covid-19, please use these links:
Center for Disease Control

State of Michigan
(this website enables you to sign-up for updates)

World Health Organization

8625 E. Jefferson Avenue | Detroit, MI 48214| 313-822-3456 | www.japc.org