LETTER FROM THE PASTOR & RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE SESSION

 

Dear Friends,

 

We find ourselves today in very challenging and uncertain times.  According to all my reading and conversations with medical personnel, it is no longer a matter of containing the Coronavirus, but of slowing it down so that our medical infrastructure can manage the pandemic.  To that end and with God’s help, we must do our part.  Therefore, I commend to you the attached Recommendations on the Coronavirus from our Session and I am grateful for their leadership on this most pressing issue.

 

I want to assure you that God is present in this difficult situation.  Together, we must pray that the Lord will strengthen, guide, and encourage us no matter how difficult the challenge.  We can be confident that our hope remains secure in Jesus Christ.  So, let us love and uphold one another each day with the amazing love and grace of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

One concern I feel compelled to express to you is with church attendance.  I know that you are very faithful in your commitment to worshiping God, but I would encourage you to stay home if you are at all concerned for your own health or the health of others because you might be ill (Please see the Session’s Recommendations below and attached).  It is far better to err on the side of caution in the midst of this pandemic.  Please know that I want what is best for you and that sometimes the most faithful thing we can do in God’s sight is to care for ourselves and others.  Besides, I will not be keeping attendance for the next month or two!

 

I would also remind you that we record our morning worship services and would be glad to share the CD recording with anyone who requests it.  We further plan to explore ways in which we can post worship services online.

 

Please note that if you are in the high risk category (as identified in the Session’s Recommendations) or if you are sick and quarantined at home, we have members who will gladly go to the grocery store, drug store, etc. for you so that you do not have to get out in public.  Please do not hesitate to call the church office (828-287-3466) or my cell phone (828-289-0902) so we can take care of you and make sure you get what you need.

 

Finally, I am always available to each of you should you need pastoral care or just to hear a friendly voice.  I am willing to visit with you, speak to you by phone, or communicate by text or email.  Please let me know how I can be of assistance or encouragement.  I am praying daily for all of you.  Together, with God’s help, may our love grow, our joy and peace endure, and our hope never fail.

 

God’s richest blessings,

 

Don

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE SESSION

OF THE RUTHERFORDTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

 

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19)

 

As a congregation dedicated to worshiping God, growing in our faith, and supporting one another in love, we must carefully consider how to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic.  While we are certainly concerned about the health and well-being of our congregation, we must also consider the well-being of the larger community of which we are a part and do what we can to slow the spread of this virus.

 

After careful consideration of the most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS), the Presbytery of Western NC, and some of the medical personnel within our congregation, the Session of Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church makes the following recommendations (subject to change as this situation evolves):

 

1.      Members who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should strongly consider not attending church services at this time.

 

Persons at high risk include anyone:

 

§  Over 65 years of age, or

§  with underlying health conditions including heart disease,

lung disease, or diabetes, or

§  with weakened immune systems

 

2.       Members who are sick (cough, fever, etc.) are asked to please stay home and

      not attend services in order to prevent the spread of illness and protect fellow

      church members.

 

We ask that you use your best judgment with regard to these recommendations and determine what is best for you and for our congregation.  No one will judge your attendance or absence. 

 

In addition, we are instituting precautions in our worship services to limit contact and the spread of this disease.  As you enter the sanctuary, we ask that you engage in “social distancing” and spread out in the pews rather than sitting close to others.  The choir director has decided to temporarily suspend the choir.  In the morning greeting, we request that you no longer make physical contact (shake hands or hug).  Also, we will temporarily suspend the use of the Friendship Registers.  Instead of passing the offering plates, we will position the plates near the exits so that you can drop your offering in the plate when convenient.  We are still working on plans for communion and will let you know about our safety procedures as we approach the first Sunday in April.

 

We encourage those who do attend service to wash their hands before and after the service and please use the hand sanitizer near the exits as needed.

 

 

As the Session of RPC, we are deeply concerned for the welfare of our congregation and are determined to do all we can to make worship a safe, meaningful and holy experience for everyone.  We love each one of you and are determined to find ways to support you and your families through this difficult and stressful time.  May God bless, comfort, and heal everyone throughout the world in the days ahead.