Pastor Bob's eNews - March 26, 2020
Dear FPC family and friends,
Most of us have settled into a new normal at our houses. We rarely go out, we have all of our children home with us all of the time, we look for different ways in which to eat even while we are at home and limited in our creativity. We walk the dogs looking to avoid other people. We take walks hoping we don’t run into anyone. I don’t know about you, but if someone were dropped down from a different planet and knew nothing about the virus he would think that we are the most unfriendly people in the galaxy! But what we are doing now is for the sake of ensuring that all of us are safe even while we are looking for ways to maintain our connection as the body of Christ.
This past week a lot has changed. We have a slew of families within the church who are no longer gainfully employed and are wondering exactly what the future will hold. On Wednesday session will meet again, just after two weeks, to decide on how are we going to provide some Congregational Assistance and what form will that take. I hope a week from today I will have an action plan approved by session that we will be able to institute as soon as possible. Session continues to meet and interact by zoom and email and today they voted to take the recommendation of the Pandemic Task Force headed by Dr. Andrea Petrokonis which stated: "Per our task force guidelines, and on alignment with school closings, we need to update our church closing recommendations for the Covid 19 pandemic. At the direction of Governor Wolf Pennsylvania schools are now closed through 4/10 (essentially not returning until 4/14 due to Easter break). Therefore, FPC Strasburg should remain physically closed through Sunday, April 12th."
So, my dear family, this means that we will not be together physically for Holy Week or for Easter. On Monday we will be mailing to all of you a palm cross so that you can have it for Palm Sunday. Please let me know if you do not receive it so that we can be sure we have your address in our database. We have to find ways to stay connected and continue to worship which is what produces our love for God and for each other. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is built around our willingness to worship our Savior. Even if we do not worship in person, I pray that you are taking advantage of the opportunities that you have to worship with us live on Sunday morning. Below I have the listings of our worship and other activities that you can follow live virtually.
Even while we are distant we are still loving our neighbors in a very practical way. This past Tuesday we were able to feed 10 families by giving out 17 bags of food and we delivered to 4 different families. Please call me at 717-799-0777 if you are wondering if you should go shopping or not. The answer to that question, if you are asking it, is no. Take advantage of the service that we are offering to go shopping for you. Thank you to Pam Johnson who is coordinating our volunteers and the team of 25 that we have who are going strong!
Also, Clubhouse will be going live as well. On April 1 we will be providing the children of our church a chance to be together in Clubhouse as we gather to celebrate the Easter story. Below you will find the links to join us for that event.
I mentioned to someone this week that 9-11 changed us as a people forever as we transitioned from people of hope and benefit of the doubt to people of fear. That was not a good transition. My prayer is that we will make it through this time in our lives, a time that none of us has ever experienced, and we would come out a people who appreciate even more the value of community. When we gather together next we will gather together as a people who will demand that the body of Christ remain unified and constantly seeks to meet each other’s needs.
Your servant in Christ,
HAPPENING IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH…
The work of FPC continues: I hope you are able to see that the work of FPC continues and that all of the staff are still working hard to keep us connected and to keep the light of Christ shining within the community. While programmatically things may have shifted, we are still looking to provide a family for those who don’t know Christ, for those who want to grow in Christ, and for those who want to go with Christ. This not only takes time and planning, it also takes resources. We fully realize that we are in a time that we are going to have to rely even more on the providence and provision of God during this time. You can play an enormous role in helping us meet the needs for our staffing and our programs during this time when we are not able to collect any tithes in person. There are a couple of different ways that you can give your tithes and contribute to the work of FPC. One way is to send your tithe and offering checks to First Presbyterian Church at our address which is 101 S. Decatur Street, Strasburg, Pa 17579. Just make it out to First Presbyterian and our financial accountant will take care of it. Another way to give of your tithes and offerings is online. Here is the address of the church website. http://www.straspres.org/ Once you go to our church web site you click the donate button. From there if you are on your home computer you will need to look at the top of the page and click on computer giving. From there you will need to click on go to engage egiving. From there you can either create an account if you wanted to give more frequently and if you wanted to give in a recurring way, or if you just wanted to give a one time gift then you just click create a gift and it gives you similar options. You can pay either by credit card or by ACH, your bank information. Please take the time to make your offerings have an impact on your community at this time. If you have any questions about electronic giving please give me a call at 717-799-0777. I can walk you through it.
Sunday morning worship: We will continue to meet virtually every Sunday morning at 8:30am and 11:00am. Here is the link where you can go to see the live worship service. https://www.youtube.com/
Church Closure: Because we do not know for how long we will not be able to gather in person as a congregation, we felt like the safest and most responsible step for our campus would be to keep the entrance locked. If you need access to the church for any kind of maintenance or administrative tasks then please call me at 717-799-0777 and we will be sure that you have access.
Food Bank Hours: We are open Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-4. We also have a service of delivering groceries for people who might need it. Just give me a call at 717-799-0777 and we will send out someone to get the groceries for you. We have a team waiting to work for you!
Calendar of Events:
8:30am worship https://www.youtube.com/
9:30am traditional music Chris Henkel https://www.youtube.com/
10am Children’s Sunday School Beth Feiler https://zoom.us/j/6973576558
10:30am contemporary music Tess Feiler https://www.youtube.com/
6pm youth group https://zoom.us/j/8501033156
Wednesdays – This week only on Thursday
7pm Bible Study https://www.youtube.com/
11am Preschool Chapel https://www.youtube.com/
Also, Amy Stauffer, our preschool coordinator, has a youtube channel and you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/
FOR THE KIDS:
Join us for a virtual Clubhouse experience Wednesday April 1st, no fooling! Using some tech tools and from the comfort of your own home, we'll be following the same schedule we normally do beginning at 6:00pm.
Opening Songs with Pastor Bob (You Tube)
Bible Story with Miss Kristin (Zoom). Stay on this link for Games with Mr. Walter.
Crafts and Closing with Miss Beth (You Tube)
You can pick up your pre-packaged craft kit at the church between 3 and 4pm Wednesday. Just drive up, stay in your car and we will put the package in your car.
Worship on April 5
On Palm Sunday we will be taking communion together virtually. I encourage you to have bread and juice or water available so that when we take part in the elements you can do it in your home as well.
Nominations for Elders, Deacons, and Trustees in the year 2021 are being considered. Please submit names to be considered to Alice Eisenhooth 717-725-2675 or email@example.com thank you.
Current Church Officers:
2020 Heather Schnader 2020 Janice Bowers
2020 Phil Geiger 2020 Carolyn Groff
2020 Don Johnson 2020 Dave Russell
2020 George Pontz 2020 Donna Stettler
2020 Terry Sweigart 2020 JoAnn Sweigart
2021 Dan Colvin 2020 Lynda Cornelia
2021 Alice Eisenhooth 2020 Ed Braden
2021 June Stum 2021 Debbie DiFranco
2022 Emily Welk 2021 David Griffith
2022 Jeff Marsh 2021 Glenna Kirchner
2022 Pete Coste 2021 Joan Coste
2022 Karen Bachman 2022 Wendy Hess
2022 Lillian Myers
2022 Bill Rouse
2020 Tom Martin 2021 Todd Barge 2022 Todd Allison
2020 Dave Rineer 2021 Dave DiFranco 2022 Kathy Via Barge
2020 Jeff Stoltzfus 2021 Ron Lowe 2022 Kirk Shaub
2020 Don Welk Jr. 2021 LeRoy Welk 2022 Ben Welk