Dear Friends and Members of Youngstown Presbyterian Church,
Last night, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Elders on our church Session (our governing body) discussed the current reality due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and, paying attention to the directives from health officials and the state and federal governments, decided that until further notice we must:
1. Suspend all in-person worship and offer on-line worship only and we will only have ONE WORSHIP SERVICE AT 10 A.M. (our summer worship hour);
2. Not allow any meetings of any group of ten or more to take place in our church building, (this applies to outside groups using the building as well);
3. Suspend the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper;
4. Cancel the Good Friday service and the Easter Sunrise Service at Old Fort Niagara;
5. Suspend the operation of our Montessori Children’s House Pre-K and Toddler programs (coinciding with the mandated closure of area public schools).
This coming Sunday, Paige Hardison, Phila Ibaugh, our lay leader, and I and maybe a few choir members will lead you all in our on-line worship which will be live-streamed on our FaceBook page:https://www.facebook.com/youngstownpres/
Remember, the live-streamed Sunday services will be at 10:00 a.m. (but if you can’t tune in then, the worship services will be archived on our FaceBook page. Those who wish may come to the church during office hours to pick up a hymnal to take home in order to sing the hymns along with the worship leaders.
Pastoral Care Issues: I am as close as a phone call to my cellphone: #716-628-1040. Currently, I cannot visit our members in the hospitals or nursing homes, but I will try to call each of them by phone.
The now serving Elders and Deacons are each being assigned from 7 to 10 households of our congregation to call upon by telephone to check on our membership, it is hoped on a weekly basis.
Because we need to protect the health of our church employees, much of their work will be done from their homes and we will be looking for volunteers to answer phones and keep the building open so people in need can have access to The Deacons’ Food Pantry. As a result:
Office hours at the church will be shortened to between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Deacons’ Food Pantry may be accessed during those hours only.
Also, each day at noon, Monday through Friday, I am offering a short time of prayer, song, and meditation live-streamed on our FaceBook page. Check it out!
Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our community and those most likely to suffer the most severe consequences of contracting the virus. We all need to practice the protocols of:
1. Staying at home unless absolutely necessary to go out;
2. Washing our hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds each time;
3. Avoiding touching others, including shaking hands (a reverential bow to others works very well instead!);
4. Maintaining at least six feet distance from others; and,
5. Coughing and sneezing into one’s elbow or a tissue (not into one’s hands).
Finally, please continue to support our church community with your prayers, your time and talents (as needed and prudent!), and your treasure (see how to support your church’s ministries and mission electronically or by other means in the box below).
The church will go on! Let’s try to see this new challenge as an opportunity to shine as followers of Jesus, sharing his love and mercy in new and important ways!
Yours in Christ,
Rex T. Stewart