Your Presbytery Coordinating Council would like to bring you a word of comfort and hope for these anxious days. In the Lord’s name we proclaim, “Peace be with you.” The peace of Christ is a powerful and sacred blessing that we do not take lightly. It is something that the world cannot give. Please take a moment and join our prayer that God’s peace – which surpasses all understanding – may guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
 
In the power of the Holy Spirit we say again, Peace be with you .  And, if we were gathered together, you and those around you might respond, “And, also with you .
 
Most of our congregations have suspended face-to-face gatherings, yet we know what it is to carry the peace of God in our hearts. We have been prepared for such a time as this. Our worship is taking new forms and is flourishing in ways we never imagined! Our pastors, congregations and households are finding safe and creative ways to continue Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and congregational care. Volunteers are helping to meet community needs. In our unity and diversity, the Presbytery of St. Augustine is a community of faith, and together we are a greater witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
 
In our online meeting yesterday, the Coordinating Council voted to provide funds for two groups that are sewing handmade masks that are carefully designed for use in appropriate healthcare settings.  These funds will come from our Peacemaking designated funds account. Within its authority, the Coordinating Council will welcome and consider other time sensitive pandemic-related requests.
 
As the term “social distancing” is becoming a common phrase, it is good to remember our common need for "social connections AND physical distancing."  As a people of faith we are called to love both God AND our neighbors. The fullness and form of that love moves us beyond panic or fear. As the apostle Paul first wrote to believers during times of hardship and persecution, we are:

convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any powers of height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
 
More updates and information will be shared as we move forward in faith together. In the meantime our prayers are lifted to Almighty God for our world’s health and wholeness and that we faithfully follow Christ in the hope and compassion of our response.

Here is a link to the current and comprehensive COVID-19 information posted on our website, which is www.staugpres.org .
 
May the Lord’s grace and peace abide with you,
 
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