Greetings, Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
As we look forward to this weekend, many if not most of us find ourselves facing the uneasy prospects of having to cancel worship services during the holiest season of the year. What would have been unthinkable even a few weeks ago has become a reality.
Nevertheless, at this time, given the closure of schools, universities and other public institutions, and the Governor’s mandate prohibiting large gatherings, our recommendation is that your Session cancel worship services for the next two weeks. Because this is new and uncharted territory, we want to assure you that we are working to resource you and your congregations for dealing with this unprecedented situation.
And even though we know this situation is temporary, we may feel helpless as we wonder, when will we be able to gather in our sanctuaries again? And, what will we do in the meantime? How can we sing the Lord’s song in this strange, unfamiliar landscape?
The situation has been moving so fast that government, business, schools, and the church are having trouble keeping up. Among the presbytery staff and elected leadership, we have heard the distress of those who are serving in our churches. Here is what we propose.
Presbytery staff is already at work collecting and collating some ideas about how to resource pastors and congregations in some of the following areas:
- Assistance for those who would like to learn something about livestreaming worship, classes, meetings, etc.
- How to provide the intimacy of pastoral care in a time of “social distancing”
- Support for pastoral leadership when pastors find themselves usually isolated
- How to be apostles of reconciliation in our communities, all of whom are facing unprecedented social and economic challenges
Come Monday, we will begin communicating with you about how we propose to offer this help.
We will also be calling an emergency meeting of Steering Cabinet — probably by Zoom, to formulate a plan for carrying out the ongoing and necessary business of the Presbytery, arranging for meetings of committees and commissions, and attending to our mission of resourcing congregations during these days of challenge.
Meantime, we need to hear from you: what do you need from us? Do you have suggestions or resources you’d like to share? Please share them with the staff — you may feel free to communicate with any one of us, or if you’d like, you may send your comments to email@example.com.
Be sure to revisit the Presbytery website, and follow our social media channels for updates, resources, and additional information.
One last thought: if the idea of empty sanctuaries on Easter is daunting, we should remember that the first Easter took place in a lonely graveyard with no one around. It is the power of that same resurrection which will empower us all now. Blessings, all, as we move forward with the Risen Lord.