This passage from Romans 5:1-5 has been a part of my daily prayers these past 6 months:
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
As pastors, we have heard many stories of suffering that you have endured in mind, body and spirit. We have also heard amazing stories of endurance, courage and hope. We have also witnessed to the character of each of you as you have chosen ways to be the body of Christ to one another during our time of physical separation from our beloved faith community. These experiences deepen us as we forge a unique way forward in the months to come and develop what the “new normal” will be.
The FPC staff is beyond grateful for the work of the Session, the COVID Task force, and all who have offered guidance and support as we prepare a new worship option starting October 18 at 11 am in our sanctuary. This option by no means replaces our live streaming service that will be available at 9 am, and all day post-conclusion at 10 am. We want all who prefer to live stream to feel comfortable continuing to do so.
This in-person option is our first attempt at exploring how to be back together in our sanctuary. It is a start… and it will change over time as we learn what works and what doesn’t work. It will have the integrity and spiritual beauty of Presbyterian worship traditions and will last 45 minutes. Please be aware that there are many considerations and restrictions (please read below) to ensure the safety of our members and our staff.
The Session has approved a return to in-person worship with modifications. NC’s trends are steady, Guilford County’s hospitalizations are down, and doctors know much more about treatment. This has been a trying and often lonely time, and we are excited at the thought of being together again in the Sanctuary!
The Livestream service will move to 9 am. You can watch the recording at any time afterward. An in-person service with up to 100 worshipers will begin at 11 am. Look for more information in your mailbox and on this page.
Many staff and members have been planning to make worship together safe and meaningful. You are the most important piece of this: If you are in a high-risk category, or have symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, please keep yourself and others safe by staying home and worshiping via the Livestream. Remember the believers in Acts, who “spent much time together in the temple” and “broke bread at home … with glad and generous hearts.”
We will try this schedule until mid-December, calling on our Spirit-fruit of patience as we learn and make changes.
A gentle reminder that this is a work in progress. Our Session and staff are doing our best to be faithful and careful during these challenging times.
As Paul says, we “boast in hope of sharing the glory of God” as we know that God’s love has been “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” during these times of suffering.