Dear Presbytery Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our lives in many ways, and this week we got the news that the 224th General Assembly that was to be held in Baltimore from June 20-27 will be held entirely online The Presbytery Coordinating Council recommends that our local congregations continue to suspend public gatherings at this time . We encourage you to focus on our "essential activities" as believers: praying, worshiping in spirit and in truth, glorifying God, and continuing to love with heart, soul, mind and strength. While we don't know when we will come through this, as people of faith, we know that our living Lord – who has conquered death – leads us into the fullness of life, proclaiming, "Fear not!" The teaching and ruling elders of our presbytery are committed to providing you with the resources and spiritual sustenance to weather this global crisis.

The church has always thrived under conditions of hardship and distress. News of your ministry in word and deed continues to shine a light of hope into the current darkness.

This weeks updates:

  • Of particular interest might be this link to stories from various churches and how they are worshiping and caring for their communities.  David Lee continues to offer a Pastors’ Call In on Tuesday’s at 3:00 p.m., and new folks participate each week.  Susan Lee, LCSW, will host a final version of Wellness Wednesday Liveon April 29 at noon.  Here is a link to the current and comprehensive COVID-19 information posted on our website, which is www.staugpres.org.  

  • We are beginning to see more articles like this one about questions for sessions to address in deciding when it will be prudent to gather again for public activities. Questions like: Will you reopen the doors of your church with a “worship only” strategy?  Do door greeters do their jobs differently? What is your strategy to clean and sanitize your public spaces in real time?  What adjustments will you make to the Lord’s Supper, baptisms, and your choir ministry?  What is your plan when volunteers step down?  Nobody wants our churches, schools, government, economy, or our families to stay isolated and physically distant. Everyone wants our lives to move into the "new normal." But we also must plan for the health, safety, and welfare of our communities and all others affected.

  • Please send us your stories of following God’s Spirit into new ways of service, info@staugpres.orgThe church is as strong, resilient, and Spirit-led as ever.  As we profess in our Brief Statement of Faith, “In life and in death we belong to God.”  With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • As a spiritual support for pastors, we highly recommend this free Virtual Retreat: “Living and Leading from the Spiritual Heart in a Time of Heightened Anxiety.”  This is being offered by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. This is the link for more information

  • For those who are still getting acquainted with the Zoom platform / application and would like to know more about it, we have prepared a Quick Start Guide to help!

More updates and information will be shared as we move forward in faith together. We are monitoring developments, news and guidelines. We continue to pray with Almighty God for our world’s health and wholeness and that the hope and compassion of our response is faithful to Christ’s Resurrection as God’s response to death and deep despair.
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  Amen.
 
Diane Wilson, Chair of Coordinating Council
Edd Norris, Moderator of the Presbytery
Sandra Hedrick, Stated Clerk
Chris Lieberman, Relationship Coordination Director
On Behalf of the Coordinating Council