All Church Activities Suspended Until Further Notice.
Weekly Sermons Posted Online in Video Format and Audio Format.
Weekly Children's Video Sunday School In Video Format.
A most hearty hello in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ! I trust this notes find you well, with joy in the Lord, and in good spirit – despite whatever hardships you might presently be facing.
The church continues to be closed for all activities, including outside groups. Though the church is closed to all programming, the church office remains open. Office staff are observing social distancing protocols when in the building together. I am in the church office as normal, Tuesdays through Fridays. Karalyn Bearden, our church administrator, works Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays in the office and works from home on Wednesdays. Linda Oosterwijk, our church admin assistant, works Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays in the church office. We are videoing worship services on Friday afternoons which allows time for editing and posting to the church’s website by Sunday.
The session met via Zoom on Thursday April 30, to share wisdom and garner consensus on re-opening SGPC. The session consensus was that the church should remain closed. The session considered CDC guidelines and denominational reports on re-opening congregations for worship. The PCUSA is advising its congregations to follow CDC guidelines, while staying sharply aware of conditions in the congregation’s immediate vicinity. The guidelines from the CDC are based on the coronavirus’s biological cycle of 14, 28, and 42 days. A congregation should not consider re-opening until there is at least a 14-day decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases within the congregation’s immediate vicinity. Another 14-day decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases, 28 days after declines first began, is generally considered by the CDC a better time to consider re-opening while still observing social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and sanitizing surfaces. Another 14-day decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases, 42 days after declines first began, is the most optimal time to re-open, while still observing some aspects of social distancing and handwashing.
Since the majority of SGPC members and visitors, demographically, are older adults, and thus an age group highly susceptible to significant to fatal symptoms of Covid-19 illness, the session has determined that SGPC will not re-open until epidemiological studies indicate at least a 28-day steady decline in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Williamson County. As of this writing, Williamson County is still showing an increase in confirmed cases of Covid-19. So for the time being it appears that SGPC will not reopen for worship during the whole month of May, and likely sometime into June as well.
As I reported to you a few weeks ago, the session is not going to set a date for re-opening SGPC for corporate worship. To set dates and move them becomes too confusing for everyone involved. The session will continue to monitor daily Covid-19 confirmed cases and continue to watch and wait for the coronavirus to run whatever course it is going run among us. We simply have no defense against the virus except social distancing, handwashing, and sanitizing. At this point, the session, nor I, are willing to risk even one member or visitor becoming sick, and potentially dying, because of a corporate gathering at SGPC.
I know for some you, the news that the session will likely not open SGPC for the month of May and perhaps some weeks into June as well, is frustrating. I get it. I understand the frustration and impatience that are building from social isolation and sheltering in place. I also understand that you long to see each other again in Christian community and be together again for corporate worship. I share that longing, and then some! But I do believe that protecting just one individual from contracting Covid-19 is the church’s calling, at present, and must be engaged with diligence, intelligence, imagination, and love – and yes, patience!
Be safe, well, and in good spirit in the Lord. Do good work!
Grace and Peace,