Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2)
Dear FUPC family,
Your Session met the morning of March 13 to make decisions about church activities and services in light of the COVID-19 virus. We know that this virus cannot be contained, but that we need to work to “flatten the curve”—that is, to slow its spread as much as possible so that our healthcare system has the best chance possible of treating those people who suffer serious cases. We also know that this virus can be deadly to those in high-risk categories: those who already have health issues, those who are experiencing homelessness, and those whose age puts them at-risk; severity of the virus seems to increase dramatically for those over 70. To this end:
- “In-person” worship services are cancelled, starting this Sunday, for the next month at least. You will be able to go to the website (lvpresbyterian.org) to hear this week’s sermon on Sunday afternoon. Beginning Sunday, March 22, we plan to be able to stream the worship service so that you can participate from home. Details will be forthcoming.
- Church activities are cancelled until further notice.
- Choirs are cancelled for the rest of this season.
- Sunday class is cancelled, but I will be getting study guides out to class members; we might consider to meet via conference call if the class wishes.
- Lent Soup Lunches, Deacons Lunch, Sundae Sunday, Deep and Wide service, and other activities are cancelled.
- The church office will be closed. Linda will continue to do the work of the church and will be available by phone during regular hours, but doors will be locked.
- Samaritan House meal teams will continue to provide a Friday evening meal for Samaritan House clients
- Although we are cancelling services and activities, please remember that church expenses will not be cancelled! We encourage you to continue supporting the church financially during this time through online giving. Simply go to our website (lvpresbyterian.org), click on “Give” at the top of the page and then on “Donate” and follow the instructions from there. You may also mail your check to the church at P.O. Box 37, Las Vegas NM, 87701.
- We will all miss seeing one another each Sunday morning, but we will continue to be in touch. You will be hearing from one of your church leaders frequently to ask how you’re doing and whether you might have needs we can help with. We will all continue to pray for each other. We will also be continuing to communicate via email or snail mail, the newsletter, and worship as described above.
It’s difficult to make decisions that will result in less personal time together, but it is the right thing to do to serve God’s people. Two days ago, New Mexico reported its first confirmed case of COVID19; today that number has climbed to 10. It’s estimated that for every reported case, there are at least 300 other cases. The pandemic is real and, though panic does no good, awareness and commitment to good health practices are important. So practice social distancing, wash your hands often (especially after handling money or being out of your house), use hand sanitizer if you have it, avoid touching your face. Do all those things. And remember that God is with us and that we can gather in God’s name via phone, computer, and in our hearts.
I read online earlier today that, by taking these steps, we are not closing ourselves off from one another but rather we are standing in solidarity with each other to protect those most vulnerable and to give our healthcare workers the support they need to cope with this virus. May we stand together in spirit to accomplish these ends and may we hold each other in prayer.
With thanks for all of you,