March 19, 2020
Dear WPC Family,
As promised, we have some information for you relative to the response we are taking to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all of us today. We are being asked to adjust our lives for the greater good, knowing that the sacrifices we make today will yield life-saving results in the near future.
The Westminster Deacons and Elders will meet each Wednesday to look at the data and the guidelines to determine how our church might help achieve the goals our national leaders are seeking. The decisions we make each Wednesday will be for the next 10 to 11 days out. We met last night and arrived at the following conclusions:
- All public gatherings have been canceled. That includes worship services, Sunday School, Wednesday evening programs, Circle group meetings, and Bible studies.
- Until we are able to meet again, we will be live-streaming our worship service. This week, those involved will be Dave Graeser as our Music Minister, Lisa Badley as our pianist, and me as pastor. This Sunday will be somewhat of a pilot and so it may look a little differently going forward. We want you to stay in the God-ordained practice of weekly worship. Steps are being made right now to make that service available to everyone who has a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Simply follow this link to navigate to the Westminster Presbyterian Church Facebook page and look for the worship service. You do not have to have a Facebook account to view the service. At this time we are reasonably certain you can view it live. If not, you will be able to view it when the live service has been concluded. If you would rather use the actual link, type in tinyurl.com/t6k2xen. We’ll also include these links on our church’s website.
- Tomorrow, you will receive a simplified printable bulletin via email consisting of our order of service, hymn lyrics, and liturgy. You may want to print this off and give each member of your family a copy. You can also go to our website at www.wpclaurel.com and download our normal bulletin from there. It will look exactly like the one you usually get at church.
- Next week we will also be mailing the simplified bulletin to you. Bi-weekly, we will be including an envelope for you to use so that you can continue giving your tithes and offerings.
- I would urge you to consider online giving. It is very simple to set up and utilize. Just go to www.wpclaurel.com and click on the “Give” tab. If you need help doing this you can call the church office and we can walk you through it.
Let me offer some words of encouragement concerning worshiping at home. Treat this hour as very special and one that is vital to our souls. So might I suggest you get dressed for the day before you participate so that it is not just like watching television as an observer?
When we have the call to worship, respond in the bold as a family. When we sing our hymns, turn up the volume and sing out as a family so that you are not merely an observer, but a worshiper. When we pray, take the posture of prayer as a family. When we recite the Apostle’s Creed, participate as you would in the service. It may feel weird at first (imagine how Dave and I will feel!), but this will keep us in the rhythm of one day in seven worshiping and resting, and it will in some way keep us connected as a body of believers.
As we navigate through this into deeper waters, let’s be patient with one another, lifting each other up in prayer. Let’s pick up the phone and check on our older members. If you think they might need a bulletin hand-delivered to them this week, be the one to take it to their residence. Let’s become good volunteers and connect with one another on a deeper, more authentic level than we are accustomed. Many in our congregation are fearful at this time, and understandably so. Listen for a long time before speaking. Take everyone’s concerns seriously. Listen and read between the lines as some may be uncomfortable asking for help.
The Psalmist says, “Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.” These last few days and weeks have given new meaning to seeking refuge from an unseen adversary! What a time to embrace His tender mercies as we get to look back upon the eye-witness accounts of the amazing feats that the Lord accomplished through His steadfast love. In the midst of the disappointments brought about during this time, we will not lose sight of the “Wonders of God’s Steadfast Love” in saving His People. This steadfast love is the same today as it was throughout scripture. May we hold onto these truths until we meet together again!
Grace and peace to you,