The following letter was emailed to the congregation on March 19th, 2020:
In light of the current situation surrounding COVID-19 let us first look to God's Word for wisdom and comfort. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." As we continue to monitor the effects of the coronavirus and heed the recommendations of our national and local governments, I want to offer you three things.
- The practical details of what PCC will be doing regarding Sunday worship and other ministries.
- A word about Christian responsibility during this time.
- Specific ways to live as believers and be the body of Christ.
PCC Worship and Ministry
For the next two weeks (March 22nd and 29th) we will be offering (conducting) our Sunday morning worship service through live-streaming. Some of you experienced this last Sunday. What does online worship look like? Our Pastors, assisting elder, and musicians will lead us through worship live from the Sanctuary, and we encourage the congregation to follow along from home.
Please visit our dedicated LIVE page to view the live stream of the service as well as links to the current bulletin and the Trinity Hymnal.
We will worship at our normal time (10:30AM). If you have any questions feel free to contact the church office. Though we may be physically dispersed for a time we will continue to worship as one body the Lord Jesus Christ.
All other PCC ministries are cancelled, although smaller groups (fewer than 10) may meet at their own discretion. For example, the Session recently met for prayer as well as discussion related to our current ministry circumstances. If a smaller group meets they should follow the CDC's guidelines below:
- Encouraging older and vulnerable individuals to not attend
- Recommending social distancing and limiting close contact
- Practicing proper hand washing, sanitation, and cleaning
- Following environmental cleaning guidelines (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently)
It is painful for God's people to not meet together. Some of us may feel like Paul as he wrote to Timothy, "I thank God whom I serve...as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy" (2 Tim.1:3-4). We find ourselves in difficult circumstances. During this time we should be seeking the good of one another and of our neighbor.
As Christians it is helpful to think of this as love for our neighbor (Matt.22:39). What we are seeking to do is limit or slow the spread of the virus, allowing a greater period of time for health care systems to adapt, and researchers to work on a vaccination. More than self-protection, we are seeking to live in a way that protects and serves others. We are also seeking to be subject to the governing authorities, for "they are God's servant for your good" (Rom.13:1,4). The President as well as state authorities have called for the cancellation of gatherings over 50 people for the next eight weeks and are suggesting gatherings of no more than 10. While we may find this disruptive, that is not its purpose. The purpose is for the well-being of others. There is wisdom in heeding these directives. Remember, this is temporary.
At the same time I am fully aware of Jesus's words, "do not be anxious about your life" (Matt.6:27), with specific reference to our length of days. We should not be filled with worry or anxiety about our physical health or how long we may live. Instead we should "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (Matt.6:33). The point in mentioning this is to recognize that the goal of life is not mere preservation or length of days but to live with true passion for the kingdom of God. While we are seeking to be wise, care for one another, and love our neighbors, let us not shrink back during such a time but rather live with intentional devotion to our God. Below are some practical ways to do this.
Living as the Body of Christ
The Scripture says that though we are many members, we are one body (1 Cor.12:12). While this is a challenging time in many ways I want to encourage you to live as the people of God within the circumstances God has ordained for us. Below are some specific ways to live as the church in this time.
- Private and Family Worship. Set time aside for prayer and the reading of Scripture. Pray for God's people--for strength, wisdom, and provision. Pray for those who are needy and vulnerable during this time. Gather with your family for worship on Sundays and throughout the week. This is not time off from worship and devotion, this is a time that reveals all the more our need to seek the Lord with all of our heart.
- Caring for the Flock. Many people may feel isolated during this time. I would encourage you to use the phone and other means of communication to offer words of encouragement. Also, consider people in the church who may need meals or food delivery.
- Continue to Give. While we are not physically gathering let us continue to worship the Lord through the giving of our tithes and offerings. You can also support the Deacon's ministry by writing "Deacons Fund" in the memo line. You may mail your offerings to:
The Presbyterian Church of Coventry
55 Trowbridge Road
Coventry, CT 06238
- Caring for our Neighbor. There are a number of ways to bear-witness in this time. Consider the needs of your neighbors. How might your words or countenance be a demonstration of God's grace and peace? Are there errands or practical ways you can help? Look for opportunity to share the hope that is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
During this time we will seek to be in regular communication with you (through email and the church website). If you need anything, don't hesitate to call, email, or text. Let us pray for one another and give heed to God's Word: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Sincerely, your Pastor in Christ,
Will Snyder (for the Session