All Church Activities Suspended Until May 1, 2020.
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I write to inform you of actions taken by your session this afternoon at its March stated meeting in response to the corona virus epidemic.
The session of San Gabriel Presbyterian Church has unanimously voted to suspend ALL activities at the church until May 1, 2020. These activities include Sunday worship and all internal activities, as well as outside groups and organizations that use our church building. Inside the church, this suspension includes such things as weekly Sunday School, Choir and Bells rehearsals, LIFT gatherings, Emmaus meetings and scheduled events and gatherings on the church’s calendar, such as Women of Faith Bible Study, Pastor’s Bible Study, Presbyterian Women, Men’s Saturday Breakfast, Shawn LeSure Concert, All Church Potluck, and the Picnic and Easter Egg Hunt.
This was not an easy decision – but it was a unanimous one by the session. The session considered international, national, state, county, and city decisions and protocols that are being made to stop the transmission of the corona virus. The session considered that it has a moral obligation to participate in community efforts to slow or stop the corona virus spread. In addition, the session considered the age demographic of SGPC which is primarily an older-adult congregation. The corona virus appears, to date, to be especially detrimental to older adults.
So, again, all activities at SGPC have been suspended from March 16 until May 1. Should community liability for the spread of the corona virus subside considerably before May 1, and community conditions are favorable to resume worship and activities at the church before May 1, then the session will act accordingly to resume activities earlier than May 1. Likewise, should community conditions deteriorate over this time, the session will act accordingly to extend the suspension past May 1.
The session has made some initial plans for the congregation’s life and work to continue as much as possible during this unprecedented time. I will be in touch with you via email, or mail, on a weekly basis with thoughts and ideas for home worship and prayer. Though gathering for worship has been suspended until May 1, I will continue to plan for worship each Sunday. A weekly bulletin will be
emailed to you and I will preach a sermon that will be taped each week and uploaded onto the church’s website for you to access.
Your deacons will continue to do their excellent work of keeping in touch with you via phone, email, or card. The church office will remain open as normal, Monday thru Friday, and office staff will continue their work. But the session asks that you restrict your presence in the church building as much as possible until it is determined by community health officials that the spread of the virus has subsided enough to resume normal social activities. Since we can never be sure who is transmitting the virus, restricting your access to the church building will protect you and church staff from inadvertent transmission.
The session encourages you to use mail, email, text, or phone calls when needing to contact church staff or conduct church business. Weekly or monthly financial offering to the church can be done by mail, electronic check, at our website or by using the church’s Tithe.ly app on your smartphone. You may contact the church office about your financial giving should you have any questions.
On a personal note, it seems surreal to me that we are having to make such drastic decisions as these. With Easter approaching, it is doubly hard on me as a pastor to consider the real possibility that we will not be able to gather for Holy Week and Easter services. But the physical and epidemiological facts concerning the corona virus are compelling. Until a vaccine is developed and deployed
in the fight against the corona virus, the only weapon we have at our disposal to stop this virus from spreading, is to minimize social interaction as much as possible. I trust you understand the session’s rationale for making such a bold decision. I pray for your health
and vitality. I pray for your patience and endurance through these times. I pray most especially that you will give fear and anxiety and uncertainty over to the only One capable of shouldering them with you, and for you – our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose love nothing in life or death can destroy us.
Be safe, well, and in good spirit in the Lord. Do good work!
Grace and Peace,