Worshipping and Serving Together in this Time of Precaution

The Consistory and I have decided to heed the recommendations of our local and national government agencies and our denomination to take appropriate steps of caution as we worship and serve together as a family of faith as our community adjusts to preventing further spreading of the coronavirus.  Below are attachments with more information from these agencies not only about the coronavirus, but safety protocols and guidelines for how our church may fulfill its ministries moving forward.  The Consistory will decide each week as to what church events may need to be postponed or cancelled and updates will be given via Phone Tree, email, the website, and Facebook.  Please feel free to call church office (828)464-4421, Pastor Ryan (828)404-2100, and our Consistory President Chad Linebarger (828)308-0780 for more details or if you are need of assistance.

Now, having said all that, let’s be honest — what can we do together as a church during this time of self-distancing?  I’ve thought about how we can individually and collectively grow in Christian education and service even though we are not meeting regularly together and we can actually accomplish quite a lot!  Below are some ideas for how we can make good use of this unique time.

What Each of Us Can Do Individually

DEVOTIONS, PRAYER & SACRED TIME – In this season of Lent we are asked to prayerfully reflect on our spiritual lives.  I am so thankful for the discussions and the new understandings that happen at each Sunday School and Bible Study that our church offers.  However, if we will not be having those opportunities then we need to supplement them with some new materials and opportunities for spiritual reflection.  Break out your BIbles and any devotional books you may have at home and over the coming days, I will be offering suggestions and links to material that will offer encouragement and comfort.

REMEMBER and SUPPORT OUR MEMBERS IN NEED   We recently asked in worship for members to sign up for our Prayer Chain.  Members of the Prayer Chain will receive updates with the prayer concerns and joys of our congregation along with information about our Homebound/Shut-In Members.  Notifications will be sent via email or text or printed out and placed in your box by the church office.  Please give your preference to me by calling (828-404-2100) or email GraceUCCPrayerChain@gmail.com.

THINK OF WAYS TO GIVE and SERVE  Unfortunately, one of the realities of not meeting for worship is that we are not able to support the financial needs of our congregation through our offerings.  We are addressing methods for online giving, but in the meantime, the Postal Service will gladly transport any financial offerings.  Also, consider checking the websites of the ministries of ECCCM, Corner Table, and other organizations that we support to see how each of us may be able to help out in this time.

GATHER HOPES, DREAMS & EXPECTATIONS FOR OUR CHURCH  And finally, I would love it if each of us would think about the endeavors and ministries of our church.  Yes, our worship attendance is not what it could be, our ministries to our children and youth could be expanded, our efforts in mission and outreach could be much more — So, let’s consider how we might be able to rev up our engines and devote ourselves to an aspect of our church’s ministry when this time of crisis subsides.

What We Can Do Together — Even If We are Apart

WALK THE BIBLE & READ THE BIBLE  As I update our website and online presence over the next couple of days, I will revive our efforts to Read Through the Bible and “Walk the Bible” with online resources and discussion.   Let’s again commit ourselves to more physical exercise and spiritual reading in 2020 – no matter what the current circumstance!

SHARE SPIRITUAL RESOURCES  We have an amazing church library that has recently been supplemented with some wonderful biblical commentaries and resources from Chris West.  We are also adding to our DVD collection and I will highlight these additions on our website.  If you have recommendations and suggestions for books and films that we should acquire, please let Chris or myself know.

ASSIST THOSE IN NEED  I continue to give thanks for the loving community that this church offers.  When a member is in need, I am so thankful for the outpouring of support that quickly follows.  If you are in need during these challenging days, please let me know personally (828-404-2100) or call the church office (828)464-4421 so that we might be of assistance ti\o you and/or your family.

Thanks again for the honor and joy of serving in ministry with all of you — no matter what is going on in the world!

God’s grace and peace,
Ryan

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