Monday, March 30, 2020

Church, Coronavirus and You! Part 4, I think

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue to move these uncertain times.  In Luke 10, Jesus tells his disciples to say, "Peace to this house." when they enter someone's home when they are out on their mission activities.  Since we are limited on what we can do in regard to visits, we send you a holy, "Peace to your house!" while you are spending so much time inside.

Here are church updates that you need to know about:

No In-Person Worship in April.  The Worship Committee met last week and based upon the conditions we are still under, there will be no in-person worship in the sanctuary during the month of April.  We will continue to work in ways to connect and worship through online options and mail.  What does this mean for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter?  Here is what we have planned so far:

Palm Sunday, April 5.  Besides a recorded service, we will place palms by each entrance of the church on Palm Sunday, and you are invited to come by and pick one up at your convenience that day.  We would then like you to take a picture of yourself and your family with your palm and send it to us by Wednesday, April 8th. We will put together a video of the photos and send it out to everyone as a virtual palm procession.  If you are unable to come to the church, we can deliver your palm and take your picture (with proper social distancing, of course)!  Either send us an email or give us a call to line that up.  Our cell is 541-786-8281.

Good Friday, April 10.  The pastors of the Rector Set are planning a pre-recorded service.  Stay tuned for details!

Easter, April 12.  By 9:00 am on Easter Morning, we will place the Christmas Tree cross outside in the yard of the church by the main sanctuary doors at the corner of 6th and Washington. You are invited to bring a flower down anytime during the day and place it on the cross to make it "bloom." Please keep appropriate distance from other cross-decorators. :) Please decorate the cross by 5:00 pm. We will send out a picture of the Blooming Cross after that. 
       We will also be recording some sort of Easter devotion for you to use at home. If we come up with other things we to celebrate the day, we will let you know.  No matter what, when we are able to gather again in-person as a congregation, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  

Office:  The office will remain closed during the month of April.  Donna will be in to check mail and we will continue to monitor the phones and emails.  Ellen will also be in to do finances, to please remember your giving to the church during this time.

Assistance:  A wonderful group of folks have volunteered to run errands for people.  If you need someone to pickup some groceries for you, send us an email or give us a call and we will get one of these good folks out getting things for you.

Small Group Learning Opportunity: Pastor Laura is going to facilitate a small group experience on Zoom using the book Re-Creating a Life: Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story  by Diane M. Millis.  (click on the link to learn more about the book). I envision gathering groups of four participants to work with prompts in this book to share our life stories. If you are interested in being part of a small group, email us at pastorshudson@eoni.com or call/text to 541-786-8281. If you decide to participate, there are Christian Ed. funds available to reimburse your purchase of this book. 

We love you and miss you all very much. You are daily in our prayers, that you would be well and be filled with the peace of Christ which surpasses understanding in this unprecedented time on earth. Keith and Laura

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mar 23-25 Store runs

Hi, friends-If you need an errand ran Monday afternoon through Wed, please contact Jessie Street at jessiestreet@rocketmail.com or 541-550-9563. 

We will be out of town.  The Thurmans are graciously letting us use their cabin for a couple days so we can let the kiddos play in the snow.  We originally were going to be gone for the week, but with the situation at hand, we thought it would be better to come back sooner.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sunday worship for 3.22.20

Greetings in the name of Christ!  Here is our first attempt at a virtual worship service for this Sunday.  Many thanks to Taylor and Sean from the Methodist Church for use of the tech support and some minor editing.  I will say it was a little odd not having all your lovely faces out there while leading prayers and reading scripture!

Watch at your leisure.  But one thing I have heard is that routines are really important during this time.  So you might want to watch it Sunday morning at 9:30. 

Next week we are hosting at the Presbyterian Church!


Blessings,
Keith

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Getting out for needs

Hi, Friends-we have a great group of people that have volunteered to help folks who may not want to leave their homes due to CV-19!  We were thinking this would be a great way to to get people groceries and household goods.  Not sure how it would work for prescription drugs, but it we can pick up over the counter meds easily. 

Here is what we will have you do.  If you have email, send me an email with your needs, your phone number, and your address.  If you don't have email, call our cell phone 541-786-8281 and leave a detailed message if we don't answer.   I'll forward your info out to the volunteers and hopefully get someone on it pretty quick.  The person getting your items will give you a call to go over your list to make sure they get the right items.  They will keep the receipt and when they come to your house to deliver, you can pay them back.  If for some reason you can't pay them back at that moment (you are out of cash or have run out of checks), we will work something out through the church's HELP fund until later.

Remember to plan ahead!  Line this up before you are on your last roll of toilet paper.  We will try to get someone out shopping for you ASAP, but we can't guarantee it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Church, Coronavirus and You Update 3

Hi, Friends-The grace and peace of Christ be with you during these interesting times!  Session met Sunday and made some decisions and we have spent the last few days implementing those plans and working on the details.

Sunday Morning Worship: We have suspended in-person Sunday morning worship for the rest of the month of March.  The Worship Committee will monitor the situation closely as we move through the month to determine what we may do in April.  But between now and then, we are working with our fellow pastors from the Methodist Church and Zion Lutheran/St. Peters Episcopal Church to provide a 'virtual' worship service.  We will record the service on Fridays and then upload it to YouTube.  We will email out the link to watch it either on Friday or Saturday.  You will be able to watch it at your convenience, but we are encouraging people to watch it Sunday morning.  If you would prefer to receive a printed copy of the sermons, let us know and we will add you to a mailing list.

Office Hours:  Starting Wednesday, March 18, the church office will be closed until March 31.  Donna will work from home and is able to check her work emails.  We (Laura and Keith) will still be in the office regularly monitoring the phones and working.  Feel free to call the church and if we aren't around, leave a message and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can!

Assistance:  Since this weekend, a small group of church members have reached out to us to let us know they would be available to help other church members if they had needs and were unable to go out to take care of those needs.  Would you like to help with this spontaneous outreach ministry?  Let me know as we will coordinate what this will look like over the next couple of days.

We are monitoring this situation closely and it seems like things change daily.  We invite you to watch your email, Facebook, and mailbox for updates from the church.  Do not hesitate to contact us as the need arises.  Also, reach out to each other!  If you missed Keith's sermon on Sunday, he stressed the importance of staying in contact.  Use the phone, send an email,or send a card.  Remind each other that you are not alone in all this.

This morning in our inbox we received a delightful email from former church member Chuck Choate letting us know they were "mostly hunkered down but doing well in Minnesota."  He sent us a copy of a poem that their pastor shared on Sunday that we now share with you:

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Christ's peace be with you!
Keith and Laura

Friday, March 13, 2020

Community Fellowship Night March 18 Canceled

Due to the ongoing concerns about Covid-19, we have decided to cancel the dinner Wednesday night on the 18th.  Please communicate this to people you may know who come to the dinner who don't have access to this email or other church communications.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Coronavirus, Church, and You update

Hi, Friends-If you have followed the news, a lot has happened in the last few days because of Coronavirus and the work people are doing to keep it from spreading.  Know that we are monitoring events and will keep you posted on church activities as necessary.  Session is meeting Sunday after church and we will continue to discuss these important topics then.

For now:

We are still having church!  9:30AM.  If you are not feeling well or for whatever reason you need to stay home, please do!  But don't be afraid to worship if you feel up to it.

Passing the Peace.  We are still going to have the Passing of Peace.  Remember to respect the wishes of those who do not want to shake hands or hug.  Do an air hug, cross your arms across our chest and bow, or just say,"Christ's peace be with you," while doing a slight bow.  I read that elbow taps may not be the cleanest thing to do as you are supposed to cough into your elbow!  

Communion.  Communion was scheduled for Sunday, but we have decided not to have it until we have a better plan in place on how to serve the elements in way that is the most hygienic.  We will be prepared for the Holy Week and Easter celebration!

Offering.  We are going to place a collection plate in the back of the sanctuary where the small baptismal font sat by the info table.  You are invited to place your offering in the plate before or after worship where it will then be picked up.  During the Offering, Mary Helen will play and you can meditate on how you can respond to the gifts of God in your life.  We will still sing the Doxology, but the plate will still be available in the back at the end of worship in case you didn't get your offering in at the beginning.

Stay tuned!  Things may change as we move forward and we want to make sure you are informed along the way!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Church, Coronavirus, and You!

Hi, Friends-With the recent news filled with information about the Coronavirus, we wanted to let you know some important things you can do to keep yourself healthy and what the church recommends you do to keep others healthy while at church. 

If you are not feeling well, stay home!  Yes, you might not get the chance to see your brothers and sisters in Christ, but it is better that you take the time to let your body heal from whatever is making you not feel well.  And remember, do not hesitate to call your doctor or go to the walk in clinic if necessary.  We want you taking care of yourself!  This is an important recommendation even if the Coronavirus wasn't out there!

You don't have to shake hands during Passing of the Peace.  If you have concerns about picking something up, feel free to just cross your arms across your chest, do an elbow bump, or some other way to share Christ's peace.  If someone else doesn't want to shake hands or hug, respect their wishes and space.

There is hand sanitize in the back of the sanctuary.  Feel free to get up anytime during the service to use it.  

Even though our current way of doing communion is one of the most hygienic,  we are reviewing to see if there are ways that we can make it even less likely someone will spread a bug.

Also, if you didn't get a chance to read it, Robin wrote a great article on the Coronavirus in the most recent newsletter.  Here is the link-http://fpclagrande.blogspot.com/

Last, but not least, don't be afraid!  We haven't counted it ourselves, but we have heard that "Fear not!" and "Don't be afraid!" are in the Bible 365 times.  One for everyday of the year!  Assess your current situation and use common sense. If you are feeling well, come to church and other church events!  If not, stay home and contact your health provider if necessary.

Blessings,
Pastors Keith and Laura, Parish Nurse Robin