Coronavirus Concerns

 

Updated March 27, 2020

 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”                                -John 14:27

 

Dear friends,

 

These are words that Jesus shared with his disciples when they were troubled. They worried about Jesus’ death, they wondered what would happen to each of their lives. They had no idea how their community would hold together without Jesus’ physical presence and leadership. Christ gives them (and us) incredible gifts of the Holy Spirit and his peace, a peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

 

Jesus gifts of the Holy Spirit and his peace continue within and among us today, thanks be to God! Yes, we are physically apart from each other, and intensely missing gathering in person for worship, Bible studies, fellowship, prayer, and play. However, with God’s help, we can live our faith each and every moment; this is the time to be the church, the body of Christ, in the world!

 

One of the best ways to practice Christian love right now, as strange as it may seem, is, in fact, to be apart. You are loving one another when you prevent the spread of Coronavirus to one less person. We also thank God for all the many ways we have in this age to be connected to one another, so allow the Spirit to help you reach out to others, whether through U.S. mail (real letters are a wonderful gift!), phone calls, texts, online, FaceTime, waves across the street, and prayer.

 

As people of faith, we care deeply for the whole person and the beloved community of God, and so we must do all we can to see to the well being of one another and protect people in our community who are most vulnerable.  Thus, seeking to practice prevention of coronavirus spread, First Presbyterian Church is observing the following precautionary measures, in consultation with advice from the CDC, our denominations’ leadership, and local officials:

 

Worship on Sunday will be remote only for at least the end of April. This includes our worship on Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter. Join in worship from your home at 11:00 am each Sunday via radio broadcast on KSPI AM780/94.3FM or online at www.stillwaterfpc.org/listenlive and follow the link.  The early service at 8:30 am is cancelled until at least the end of April. If you miss the live broadcast/livestream, you can listen to previous services or just the sermon anytime, day or night, at www.stillwaterfpc.org/sermon .

 

Sunday School classes will not meet for at least the end of April. Families with children and youth will be receiving resources via email and through the Facebook group Faithful Families for faith formation at home. If you would like to receive these resources, please contact Director of Children and Youth Ministries Jenna Campbell at jenna.campbell@stillwaterfpc.org . Adult Sunday School classes that meet remotely have links available on the church website www.stillwaterfpc.org and within the First Things @ FPC weekly e-newsletter. If you do not have access to the internet, please call the church office; these online gatherings can also be joined by phone (audio only).

 

The Church Office and building is closed to the general public until at least the end of April. Church staff will be working remotely as much as possible. If you would like to visit the Columbarium or have another access need, please call the church office number at 405-372-5580 and we will make arrangements with you. If you have a pastoral need, email one of our pastors or please call the afterhours pastor emergency line at 405-338-7545 to be connected to one of the pastors.

 

Small Groups that meet in our FPC facilities will not meet onsite until at least the end of April.

 

Midweek Prayer and Thursday Bible Study meet via Zoom meeting, which can be joined online or over the phone. See First Things @ FPC weekly e-newsletter for information to join, or call the church office for information on how to join.

We want to lift up the prayer concerns of one another; if you have a prayer request this week, please contact a pastor, call the church office number, or visit www.stillwaterfpc.org/prayer to submit your prayer request to us online.

 

Saturday Brunch received local officials’ permission to continue, using safety measures we implemented several weeks ago. We are operating with a very small group of volunteers each week, and offering grab-and-go meals only to our guests. If you are able to help with this ministry and are not in one of the at-risk categories outlined by the CDC, please contact the church office number to sign up.

 

Celebrate God’s presence in the beauty of this day, be wise in prevention, and diligent in prayer. Have courage. Hold fast to what is good. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord your God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

May Christ’s love and peace abound,

       Leah

Rev. Dr. Leah R. Hrachovec

Pastor