Dear First Presbyterian Church Family:
As of 10am on Saturday morning, there are still no reported cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Adams County. Our local South Heartland Health District, the Department of Health and Human Services of the state of Nebraska, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have not issued any guidelines that we cancel our worship services on Sunday.
We also recognize that many of our church members fall into the defined “at risk” categories of people: Older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
Your staff team and your session have spent much of the week studying and praying about this issue. Last night the session voted to offer two worship options for our congregation on Sunday:
1. We will hold “in-person worship” this Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am along with an Adult Education Forum in the Fellowship Hall at 9:15 with an update on the leadership transitions at Hastings College. Children and Youth Sunday School and “Heirs Apparent” were already cancelled due to Spring Break. Should you decide to come to “in-person worship,” there will be some changes in our usual practices during worship: we won’t celebrate communion at the 8:30am service; we will not use the Friendship Pads; ushers will not pass the offering plates (you will be able put your tithes and offerings into the offering plates near the back of the sanctuary); we will not be physically passing the peace; and, we will discourage handshaking and touching as we greet one another, including your pastors.
2. We will also offer “stay at home worship” via internet live-streaming and our radio broadcast on KICS 1550 AM. You can participate from home by tuning in your radio or by watching via the following link starting at 10:25am: https://www.facebook.com/fpchastings/posts/3209150549106267 You can download the bulletin to follow along by clicking here: https://fpchastings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bulletin-03.15.20.pdf
The livestreamed worship service will also be archived so you can view it at any time afterwards on our church’s page: http://www.facebook.com/fpchastings/videos You can also catch rebroadcasts of the worship service on channel 181 on Tuesdays at 1pm and Sundays at 9am.
For anyone who has any cold or flu-like symptoms, or if you fall into the “at risk” categories or live with someone who does, we strongly encourage you to stay home and participate in “stay at home” worship.
Regarding your tithe or offering: the church counts on your giving to carry on its work. If you participate in “stay at home worship,” please mail it in, drop it by the church office during the week, sign up for electronic fund transfers, or give on-line: https://fpchastings.org/give-online/ In the days and weeks to come, the church will play a vital role in responding to this virus, just as we did with the flood relief efforts in Nebraska last year. Thank you for your continued support and provision in this time.
We will continue to monitor all recommendations from our local health department, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So we may change direction later, but this is our plan as of Saturday morning.
In a letter we sent out earlier this week, I reminded us of Jesus’ words to his disciples on the night he was arrested, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” May we accept the peace that Jesus is offering us. As I remind the congregation every week, we are people of hope. May we be driven by hope and not fear, so that our response can be one of logic and love.
Please be in prayer for all who are impacted by this virus. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, either in-person or virtually.
Your Servant in Christ,
Dear First Presbyterian Church Family: