Dear Members and Friends of Park Hill Presbyterian Church,
Thank you for a strong provisional opening of the building for worship on Sunday, August 9th at 11am for live in-person worship and live-stream broadcast. We were very pleased that everyone who attended easily complied with our plan to safely reopen, and we were glad to see about 30 members in attendance, including new guests.
The in-person and live-stream aspects of worship were carefully reviewed by Session, along with feedback we received elsewhere. With pastoral input from our minister, the Session approved a motion to host in-person worship in the sanctuary bimonthly, on a schedule of every other Sunday during August and September. Our next live worship in the sanctuary will be Sunday, August 23rd.
The reasons for this cautious opening are several: while convinced that our methods were effective and worship was good, we were also aware that the majority of our congregation were not able to join with us. Pastor Marie would like to spend a significant amount of time in the following weeks visiting with members to better understand where folks find themselves during this uncertain time, assessing whether our worship offerings are meeting their needs, and if changes can be made to any of our formats to increase participation. In short, we want to spend more time amid the congregation, listening and visiting, and this important work requires time and resources.
But even more than that, we are aware of the need to go slow enough to keep our community together emotionally and spiritually during a very difficult season in our personal and communal lives. We want to explore further the strength we are finding in several small groups and house churches, as well as pivoting in our Christian Education to address the needs of families, while continuing the strong worship we experienced live on August 9th. We aim to mindfully build on the energy we felt in worship, and to do so with carefully planned purpose.
Thank you for your patience. While I know that many of us are anxious to return to a sense of normalcy, I am also aware that we are walking towards a new normal together. The return to schooling in the fall is an important moment in the lives of many of our families, and one that deserves our full attention—and may compel us to try new modes of fellowship and worship we’ve not experienced before. In the meantime, online worship will continue every week, along with weekly emails for announcements. We will also continue to post weekly prayers, Psalms and other resources to our church Facebook page, and we hope you will connect with a Sunday School class or other small group.
Please, continue to pray for one another, for your Session, and for your pastor as I seek to listen to the Holy Spirit lead us into utterly uncharted waters together. I deeply look forward worshiping with you again live on Sunday, August 23rd at 11am, whether in person or online.
To simplify the matter of reservations, a spot will be held for everyone who attended on the 9th, and anyone can add to or alter their reservation by calling the church office at 501-753-9533 or signing up online at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904044ea4a628a1f49-desire. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for growth please be in touch with Pastor Marie or another member of the Session.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Marie Mainard O’Connell, Moderator;
And the rest of your Session: Audrey Barrick, Clerk of Session; Whitney Bordelon, Mary Henry, Brad Krowski, John Lierly, Russ Mathis, Mike Powell, Phil Terrell, and Vickie Trodgen