UPDATE: In-Person Worship Services are CANCELED until further notice
We will evaluate the situation for our upcoming worship services and continue to update this page and our email list. If you wish to receive those emails, please contact us at email@example.com.
We will continue to send weekly video worship services by email, and they will be posted on the sermons page of our website, and we have a special online worship page as well. If you are not already on our weekly email and wish to receive this video, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Worship has been canceled until larger gatherings are permitted and we are comfortable with our own ability to host safe worship services. We will continue to offer an online video worship service.
- Church staff and leadership are evaluating a long list of ideas and proposals for resuming in-person worship services of some kind. We will not resume in-person worship services until we have agreed on the appropriate procedures and we are confident in our ability to carry out those procedures.
- Mail can still be sent to the church, but it will be held at the post office until Monday.
- We will reach out to everyone in our church by every means possible when we are ready to resume some form of in-person worship services.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Did anyone see this coming? I sure didn’t! A short while ago, we were still worshiping together like normal. A short while ago, I was finalizing plans to travel to Italy for my sabbatical. A short while ago, we were finishing the details for our Holy Week and Easter worship services.
While we have seen many disruptions to our “normal” plans, we have also seen people in our church step up as the hands and feet of Christ in new ways for these new days.
I am encouraged by our pastoral care during this time. We have more than fifty people getting weekly check-in calls. Most of our church groups are checking in with each other far more regularly and with far greater attention to needs and ways to serve one another. Pastor Carol has been able to rally the Deacons and neighborhood Stewards on behalf of our congregation. We gave out King Sooper’s gift cards to our Whiz Kids families, to others we knew who were in need, and to ministries who are still working with our community.
I am encouraged by our church staff as we have put together deeply meaningful worship services on video. This has required quick thinking and flexibility from everyone. While I miss gathering together in person, I do believe we have been blessed with exceptional opportunities to worship the living God over video. We have not been together in person, but we have still been one in spirit on Sundays.
I am encouraged by our ability to quickly add new and creative opportunities throughout the week. I have heard from many of you that the musical devotionals, the mid-week stories, or the sermon preparation videos have been unexpected blessings. I am frankly astonished that we had about forty people on our Maundy Thursday online prayer and Communion gathering!
As I have been checking in with people throughout the church, I have received a few common questions. I will attempt to provide whatever insight I have on these topics for everyone to see.
Q: What is happening to Pastor Cody’s sabbatical due to this disruption?
A: The sabbatical has been delayed until 2021. The exact dates aren’t known yet, but it will be sometime after Easter next year.
Q: How are the church’s finances?
A: Thanks to your continued faithfulness in giving by check or online, and thanks to our leadership’s fiscal discipline for the last several years, we are generally doing well! Obviously the longer this stretches the more impact we will see, but we are in very sound shape. We have also applied for access to some of the stimulus funds. The biggest component of our church budget comes in the form of personnel, and we are continuing to pay everyone their full salary. If you have felt blessed by the church staff during this disruption, I encourage you to continue to give generously. You can mail a check at any time, and it gets held at the post office until Joan picks it up on Monday. You can also give online at fpcl.org/give. Thank you for investing in the new ways Jesus is working in us and through us during these new days.
Q: When will we worship in-person again?
A: Our church’s Session continues to meet (online) to discuss this. We decided to cancel in-person worship through the month of April to follow the stay-at-home order from the state. We will continue to meet and evaluate our options, and we will communicate that as best we can. It is likely that there will be limits on the size of gatherings even after the stay-at-home order is lifted, so we are thinking about ways to gather while still complying with those. For example, I’m thinking about a drive-in movie theater style of worship service where we stay in our parked cars, see a live video feed of our sanctuary projected on a large screen, and tune our car radios to a special station that plays our church audio feed. We’re considering other ideas as well, so nothing is definite at this point. We are trying to balance the need for people to be able to plan and the need to remain flexible in our decision making.
Q: How are we engaging in mission and service during this time?
We are encouraging people to support our community primarily through the Care Portal (for foster families), donating to the Life Center food bank, donating to the Severe Weather Shelter Network, and generally being Christ-like neighbors in our local areas. We continue to update our website with new opportunities to serve at fpcl.org/serve.
Q: What about upcoming events like VBS, Legacy Sunday, Community Dinners, and the Church Picnic?
Each event is being handled on a case-by-case basis. Legacy Sunday has been canceled. Some of the Community Dinners have been canceled, and the team will evaluate when and how they can resume at some point. VBS is still being evaluated, so it might be normal, it might be delayed, or it might be canceled. The same goes for the Church Picnic. We will continue to be in communication as we make decisions on these big events.
If you have a question that I did not address above, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com. I’m hard to catch by phone these days, but I am checking email very frequently.
Thank you for your faithfulness and devotion to Christ during this difficult time. I covet your prayers for wisdom as we try to make the best decisions we can for our church’s present and future.
In Christ’s Service Together,