Join us for our Online Sunday Service.
Dear Members & Friends,
So much has changed since my last correspondence in this ever-fluid situation. COVID-19 continues to spread, schools have shut down, a national emergency has been declared, and the discipline for social distancing becomes ever more necessary to ensure the well-being of the most vulnerable, our entire congregation, and the broader human community to which we are inextricably interconnected.
Guided by our faith in the God who is ever-present with us, far beyond the walls of the building we call church, by science and facts, research and best health practices, the session has voted to close the doors of our church building effective immediately for all non-essential meetings and gatherings, including worship. All meetings will move to a virtual model, using telephones, conference-call technology, internet-based meeting programs (such as Zoom or WebX), or FaceTime.
This was a very difficult decision to make, but one we believe is both our civic responsibility and a faithful response as followers of Jesus to prevent the kind of avoidable spike in infections which could overwhelm our local and national healthcare system, putting even more at risk. To gain a better appreciation for how the disease will spread, please read the Washington Post article, “Why Outbreaks Like the Coronavirus Spread” (click this link).
In times of crisis and heartache, the WPC family comes together, and draws strength in our love and care for one another. That’s what makes this especially difficult. We must find new ways of coming together, loving and caring for one another, while not being physically present. The ready handshakes, hugs, and warm greetings now must be done remotely. Be we will get through this together. The bond which we share in Christ’s love will keep us firmly connected.
Here are some of the new ways we will come together, remain connected, and deepen our Christ-like bond:
As of March 22nd, we will move to “virtual” worship. On Sunday mornings we will send you an email with a link to a service of morning prayer. It will enable us to gather in the Spirit at our usual 9:45 worship hour, or whenever you may choose to watch it. We will also send an email to our families with children enrolled in our Sunday School program with a Bible Story, Sunday School materials, and activities. The videos will also be posted on our church Facebook page, and on the WPC website.
In addition, two or three times during the week, we will send you an email with a link to a message of hope and faith from one of our staff people. Consider it a devotion for the day connecting you to those who dearly miss seeing your bright shining faces in person.
We will also be connecting young families with children with our “more mature” members for interaction via phone, email, FaceTime, etc. The deacons will also be engaged in checking in with members to try to lessen the feeling of isolation. Please know that the Pastoral Care Team, Stephen Ministers, Board of Deacons, and I will do our best to continue to provide pastoral care using the best virtual models we can. We will be especially attentive to those who are most vulnerable or isolated in this period. Please contact me with pastoral care questions and concerns.
The harsh and strange reality of all this is scary and trying. Not being together in our sacred and safe space will inconvenience and unsettle us. But it is for our good and the common good.
During this time, it is good to be reminded that the church is not a building. The church is the people of God in our homes, our communities, our families, doing our best to live out the loving, compassionate, justice-seeking, peace-filled, love of Christ our Lord. So as the WPC family, let us be the church staying in place, letting our faith, our thoughtfulness, our prayerful actions, and our compassion keep us connected as we whether this storm together.
In Christ’s peace,