Letter from the Interim Pastor (March 20, 2020)

Dear SPC Family, Let me start by saying that God is present. I don’t know what each day, or even each hour, will bring—but I know this: God is with us. And I also know that in the past few days, I’ve seen you all be there for one another—making calls to check in, interacting on Facebook, participating in Zoom meetings, sharing moments of hope and light in the midst of a very challenging time. So I am reminded that the church is not “closed” and worship is not “canceled.” We can still be the church and worship together. We just need to do it a little differently right now. To that end, let me share with you some decisions made by the session and staff to help provide some clarity for the weeks ahead. First, we will continue to worship online (accessible on both Facebook and our website), rather than in person, at least through Sunday, April 12, which is Easter Sunday. Every source of guidance from public officials indicates that social distancing will be required at least that long, and our top priority is to care for each of you and our neighbors by doing everything we can to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As information develops, we will adjust this schedule, and we’ll be eager and ready to return to in-person worship as soon as we’re given the “all clear.” But we feel it’s important to be realistic in acknowledging that we have to plan differently for Holy Week. Imagining an Easter that doesn’t happen in the sanctuary is really hard, and we grieve that reality very deeply. But we will still celebrate the joy and promise of the resurrection, which is no less true or real no matter where we find ourselves worshipping on that day! Second, all other church activities and meetings will not happen in-person until further notice. Our Office Administrator, Aaron Watkins-Lopez, is working from home. He is able to access emails, phone messages, and documents remotely, so don’t hesitate to reach out for anything you need from the church office. Pastor Ashley and I welcome your emails and calls about anything, including how we can support you during this time. Committees and groups can meet and connect via Zoom, and we’ll be in communication about all of that. Third, we don’t want technology to be a barrier for anyone participating in the life of the church. If you’d prefer that we just call you, we’ll do that. If you want help with connecting to things like Facebook or Zoom, your staff is happy to help—just ask. Attached to this email are instructions for joining our Facebook group and for connecting to a Zoom meeting. We won’t be printing a Steeple News or regular bulletins for a few weeks, but we can share information in lots of ways. Let us know what method works best for you. We ask that as you are able, you continue to support the church financially with your regular giving. One-time and recurring donations, offerings and pledges may be given conveniently and securely through our website. Choose the method that best suits you, electronic check or debit/credit card, by simply visiting www.setauketpresbyterian.org and selecting “Give” then “Online Giving” on the menu ribbon at the top of our home page. Checks can also be mailed to Setauket Presbyterian Church at 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket, NY 11733. More information is available on the web site under “Online Giving” or by emailing Financial_Secretary@SetauketPresbyterian.org. In addition, please consider your annual gift to the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering, which importantly supports Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. PDA is providing resources to congregations during this pandemic, support for communities in Tennessee still recovering from tornadoes, and critical services at the U.S.-Mexico border where SPC members recently traveled on a mission trip. One Great Hour of Sharing is usually collected at Eastertime, and you can designate a gift in all the ways to give indicated above. One of the most helpful things we can do at this time is support national and local organizations that are on-the-ground experts in providing the services that people need most. Friends, I hope you will be intentional about resting in God’s certain presence during this anxious time. We will get through this together, and our bonds will be even stronger as we do. Let us know how we can help. You are in my prayers everyday. Peace & grace, Kate

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