As we are sure you’ve heard, the Connecticut Governor has mandated that groups of 50 or more people not gather for the next 8 weeks. Therefore, our Sunday morning worship for the foreseeable future will be from our homes. This is an uncertain time for all of us. However, there are some of the things we can be certain of:
One, our God is a God of steadfast love, who is our companion, our guide, and our comfort during times of distress.
Two, we are a church committed to worshipping God, even if we have to worship via video for a while.
And three, we are a faith community that is committed to loving one another and loving our neighbors out in the world. We will continue to find ways to be connected even when we are apart.
To learn more about how we will worship, stay connected, and remain engaged in the ministry of Jesus Christ in the world, check out Pastor JC’s latest video message below.
In the coming weeks, please consider picking up the phone and giving another member of our First Pres community a call! Reach out to hear someone’s voice. Ask them what they’re praying for and how you can pray for them. Ask them what they’re excited about or what sparks their imagination. Ask them how they are feeling, what is on their mind.
Pass the peace. Reach out! In this time of isolation and quarantine, we need not feel alone
How You Can Help
To support incarcerated individuals, a population particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, click here to find a letter that you can personalize and mail or email to Governor Lamont, asking that he act immediately to protect the lives of the people impacted by prisons and jails in Connecticut.
To support FISH of Greater New Haven, a local organization that delivers groceries to neighbors who are homebound or food insecure, non-at-risk volunteers are needed to deliver groceries on weekdays between 10:30 and 3pm. Email Sarah for more details.
Use of Our Buildings
Our building is a valuable place of connection for a number of groups in our community. However, based on the apparent ease of transmission of the COVID-19 infection, the limited testing available, and the number of people and groups using our church buildings, it is prudent to close the building for all events until further notice.
Paying Our Staff
While our staff will be encouraged to work remotely when possible and be creative in their areas of ministry to serve the congregation, we are committed to continuing to pay our staff, even while the buildings are closed and public gatherings are suspended.
Romans 15 teaches us: (from the Message)
Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us.
It is incumbent upon us, as Christians, to show love and care for our community by participating in the protection of the most vulnerable among us. As people of faith, we are called to support the weak and comfort the sick. In this particular time and place, we demonstrate care for our community by mitigating health risks and worshipping apart on Sunday morning to limit the transmission of COVID-19.
It is also important for us to be aware of the increased incidence of acts of discrimination and racism against our Asian and Asian-American neighbors and community members. Please be aware of this and be an active ally, calling out racist rhetoric and supporting our most vulnerable neighbors.
We know that we are on the precipice of enormous health and economic impact on our vulnerable community members. We are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint, in caring for our community. I’m in contact with several local advocacy organizations and service providers to see where we can provide support in the months ahead.
In this uncertain time, let us remain steadfast in our prayer for God’s mercy, for God’s healing, for God’s wisdom, and for God’s comfort and peace to be with us, with those we love, and with all the world. Let fear not take hold of our hearts but instead declare love the victor. Let’s stay connected to one another as best we can in these coming weeks.
I, for one, am already looking forward to our reunion – what a joyous celebration it will be!
I’ll be in touch as developments unfold.
Peace, Pastor JC