It has been a trying week around in our world as we face the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. The leadership of St. James has taken time to deliberate, to pray, and to discern the right course of action for our congregation. In unity, the Session of St. James asks that you worship at home this Sunday, March 15, 2020.
This week’s worship service will be live-streamed via the St. James Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/saintjamespres), and service content will be made available via our website (www.saintjamespres.org) and other social media platforms. Service materials will be made available on our website and posted on social media so you can follow along and keep up to date with events around the church. I encourage you to stay connected to our website and Facebook page for updates and ways to connect while we are not gathering together in person.
We make this decision with deep care in our hearts for the vulnerable among us, as well as in caution for all who gather together for worship. This week’s preaching text is drawn from Matthew 25, where Jesus reminds us that whenever we care for the sick, the imprisoned, the thirsty, the hungry…we are caring for him. This act of not gathering together in person is intended to be an act of care for Christ’s body itself, the Church, and all who seek Christ’s loving presence.
The St. James Deacons will be contacting members of their parishes promptly to ensure our congregation members know not to arrive at the church this Sunday. The Session will discern and make decisions regarding next week’s activities very soon, without acting in haste but seeking wisdom to best care for our community.
There are ways you can be involved: Take the time to reach out to a friend or loved one in these next few days, either over the phone or by sending a note in the mail. Times like this can be incredibly lonely and isolating, so we encourage you to not give up meeting together through conversations and caring relationships that can be fostered from afar. There will certainly be some members of our community who cannot venture out to run errands or pick up groceries: if you would like to assist with this, please contact me (email@example.com) and we will find a way for you to be involved.
In all of this, we hold steadfast to the hope we know in Christ. Disease and fear and uncertainty may swirl around, but they do not hold the final word for us, nor for how we engage in the world as Christ’s ambassadors. So hold fast, my friends, to the hope you have found.
On behalf of the Session of St. James Presbyterian Church, grace and peace be with you.
Pastor Seth Thomas
St. James Presbyterian Church