From Pastor David Bridges:
Greetings in Christ’s name!
I’m writing with a heavy but hopeful heart in regard to church events in the near future. As you all know, the spread of the Coronavirus has required all kinds of changes in the ways we live, and these changes are extremely difficult for us. We’re used to being with one another, whether in large or small groups of people. We’re used to being able to go where we want to go and do what we want to do. However, our world’s best minds have determined that doing what we usually do can be devastatingly harmful to the most vulnerable among us. So it is imperative for us to do things differently.
I’m confident you are aware of guidelines from the White House and from the Center for Disease Control that will help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Paying attention to those guidelines and in prayerful discernment, our Ministry Coordinators decided last night to suspend gatherings on our church property in two ways. First, we have suspended in-person worship through May 10. And secondly, we have closed the church office and suspended all activities, meetings and events through April 10 (the exceptions to this second suspension are that—while taking appropriate precautions—we will continue to serve Meals on Wheels, host Family Promise April 12-19, open our food pantry for a few hours each week, and seek safe and creative ways to care for those whom this crisis most effects. Our Making Disciples mentoring program will also continue for 5th grade students through phone or video calls).
These decisions, though necessary, make me sad. I like to be with you and love to gather for weekly meetings—especially worship. But I’m also hopeful that in the midst of these changes newness will emerge and we will learn to be “together” in helpful and powerful ways. To that end, we will have a way to worship on Sunday mornings through an online format. We are also seeking ways to connect during the week through other creative technologies. In addition, some of our smaller groups will be communicating with one another in innovative and virtual ways. Josiah Brown is working to gather students in online communities, Janet Black is working to provide video lessons to children, and our women’s ministry is doing a combination of both of those things (to receive women’s ministry information text @ffcwomen to 81010, and to receive student ministry information text @ffcstudent to 81010). Beginning this evening, we will be posting all informational updates to our web page. Please check there diligently for the most recent information.
Our Stewards are making financial plans for our church’s future. They are aware of the probable economic impact this will have on the church and are taking appropriate actions. Of course, we hope you will continue giving regularly to the church as you are able. Being charitable when we are uncertain is an incredible way to express our faith and confidence in God. We’ll be receiving mail if you prefer to mail a check, or our web page has a tab at the top that says “give” which will lead you to options for online giving.
Friends, don’t lose heart! These days are trying for each of us and it will be easy to become discouraged. But keep the faith; the Lord is with you! Reach out to others through phone calls and messages. Pray for one another. Pray for the sick. Pray for leaders. We can be there for each other in new ways and we can be confident that our Lord has not abandoned us. As always, please contact me or other staff members as you’d like. Our offices are closed, but we are available and doing what we can to stay connected with you.
Peace of Christ to each of you,