Dear Members and Friends:
The Lord be with you.
Last night, the Session and the members of our COVID-19 Task Force gathered in the sanctuary (with safe space between us) to discuss the best ways to care for the members of the church, as well as the wider community, during this pandemic. Just as Governor Hogan announced concrete actions to slow the spread of the virus, we felt we should act in a manner that will best serve the common good and help us to love our neighbors.
Health professionals strongly suggest the practice of “social distancing” in order to slow the spread of infection. We can each do our part to help “flatten the curve” and keep our health system from being overwhelmed. (Here’s a helpful article from the New York Times about the importance of slowing the spread.)
With these hopes in mind, we have made the following decisions:
- We will suspend Church School, adult education, and worship on March 15, 22, and 29, 2020. For this coming week, sermon and other devotional materials for this Sunday will be sent out electronically on Saturday evening. We are developing ways to connect through an online platform of some kind on March 22 and 29. Stay tuned for more information about this.
- All in-person meetings and events scheduled in both CPC buildings will be cancelled through March 29, 2020. This cancellation includes both internal and community groups using CPC facilities, with the exception of AA, Al Anon, and Suburban Crossroads Counseling, which will be allowed to use the Church House at their discretion.
- Starting Monday, March 16, the Child Care Center will be closed for two weeks.
- The Congregational Meeting scheduled for March 29 has been postponed to a date to be determined.
- Staff will continue to work either onsite using social distancing or electronically from home. The office will remain open at regular hours. And we will work to keep the Church House clean and disinfected, as best we can.
- Session will meet on March 26 to evaluate the situation.
Suspending worship and other activities in the church building does not mean stopping the work of the church—and it doesn’t stop us from being the church for one another. Wherever we are, whether together or apart, we are the body of Christ. Working with the Deacons, we are developing ways to strengthen the ties of connection and support during this time of prolonged isolation and distancing, especially for the most vulnerable in the congregation. And we will be making extra efforts to reach out and support members who are not connected via email and the internet. Through acts of kindness, patience, and compassion we can be the church God has called us and equipped us—and needs us— to be, for one another and for our larger community in need.
There’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety for all of us. Your pastors are here for you, and although we will be limiting in-person pastoral visits, we are available to provide care by phone and other virtual means.
As we gathered in the sanctuary last night, we had a lit candle on the Communion table in front of the cross. And hanging above us were the white peace cranes, which we strung up early in Lent. They were a calming presence and a reminder to search after and lean upon God’s peace, a peace that the world cannot give and cannot not take away (John 14:27). May this peace and light calm our troubled hearts.
Walking with you,
Ken Kovacs & Dorothy Boulton
P. S. – “Wash your hands….” ~James 4:8b
Rev. Kenneth E. Kovacs, Ph.D.