Letter from Interim Pastor (March 13, 2020)

Dear Friends,

As you know, the last couple of days have brought significant changes in our understanding about the measures required to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, limit exposure for those most at risk, and ensure that our medical and health institutions and personnel are equipped to handle those who are sick. At Setauket Presbyterian, we take very seriously our responsibility as a faith community to care for all of you, to help contain the outbreak, and to support one another during this difficult time.

At a called session meeting last night, the decision was made to not gather in person for worship this Sunday. This is a very difficult decision and was made with significant weight, discernment, and prayer—heeding the urgent call from public and health officials that now is the critical time to implement social distancing measures. The Three Village School District likewise announced today that schools will be closed for the coming week.

What does this mean at SPC?

  1. This Sunday morning at our regular worship time of 9:30AM, we will provide a modified worship experience online via Facebook live. Clear instructions on how to access this will be sent in a separate email. We will also have members of the congregation willing to be on-call “tech support” to help you get set up with any of the technology.

  2. Adult Education, Church School, and Confirmation Class will not meet in person this week.

  3. Decisions regarding future Sundays and gatherings will be made and communicated clearly as information develops. Information about ODE, the Soup Kitchen, and other weekly meetings will be communicated directly to those involved.

  4. The church WILL be open this evening (Friday) from 6-7PM for prayer and reflection, as has been the case on Fridays during Lent.

  5. If we’ve not thought about something, or you have a question about how this impacts any of your plans, please just call the office or email/call me (kate.jonescalone@setauketpresbyterian.org or (646) 823-7158).

It’s important that we find ways to intentionally be in touch with one another during this time of increasing isolation. Please, check in with your neighbors, friends, and those on your mind from church. Lift each other’s spirits. If you’re aware that someone doesn’t have access to our email notices, give them a call with updates.

We also ask you to be in touch with the church office (631-941-4271) or me about any needs that you might have—picking up groceries or prescriptions, other errands, etc. Truly, the church is here for you, and we want to know any way at all that we can support each other as a church family.

I want to share with you some words from Shane Berg, a professor at Princeton Seminary. He wrote:

“We are well aware that there is something both sad and ironic about intentionally creating ‘social distance’ between the members of our community….We want to draw closer together, not push ourselves apart. Social distancing strikes us as deeply wrong; it feels antithetical to fostering Christian community. Though these misgivings are understandable…it is not fear or irrational caution that led the Seminary’s leadership to put robust social distancing in place for our community. It is rather fidelity to Christ’s charge to love our neighbors and care for the least of these that compels us….Serving the common good in this way, to be sure, calls forth a sacrifice from us. We choose to limit for a season our participation in certain forms of human community—which brings us so much life and joy—in order to preserve human life.”

This is a time of great uncertainty. But SPC has seen times of uncertainty and risk before, and we can be confident that just as in the past, God is with us, the Spirit leads us, and we can still be the hands and feet of Christ for one another.  Please know that I, along with the Session, hold you all in prayer and will be in frequent touch.

Peace & grace, Kate 

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