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A Note From Pastor Gregg

March 21, 2020

Saints,

As we prepare for a couple of more weeks of no congregational face-to-face time and no communion, let us remember all the aspects of the communion of saints. Our formal communion or Eucharist is a sacred meal, but it highlights the fellowship and unity in the body of Christ that is to be expressed in the ordinary daily lives of the Saints.

So during this time when we are limiting our social congregational interaction, be grateful to God that we do not have to limit our communication and contact with one another through phones apps, texts, email, letters, etc. Since we will not see each other very much in these weeks, Take every effort to contact people that perhaps you would not ordinarily call. Make a determination to contact every family in our church over a few weeks, a few people a day. Ask them about their circumstances and their older family and friends. Pray on the phone.

That we may not have our ordinary meal of communion we do have all that means we need of expressing the communion of saints.

Find the Family Worship Liturgy for this week, including a sermon on Psalm 23 here.

In His Service,

Pastor Gregg Strawbridge


March 17, 2020

"With the spread of the coronavirus and the unprecedented response by the US Government and governments worldwide, we find ourselves in uncertain times. It is important that we remind ourselves that this is not at all an uncertain time for the One who is control, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us rest in Him and worship and serve Him. Our help is in the Lord." - Presiding Minister, Virgil Hurt  

 

Because of the recommendations we are getting from Governor Wolf, our session has decided to cancel church services and all weekly church activities through March 29.  Pastor Gregg will continue to provide a weekly Family Worship Liturgy, and this week will include a sermon for your family's worship time.  As time moves forward, we will make other accomodations as necessary.  This week you can also look for a special version of the liturgy to print out for your children to follow.

 

In the meantime, please remember to notify any deacons of needs you may have.  

 


March 14, 2020

 
Dear Saints,
 
As you know, session determined it was wise to cancel this Sunday’s service (3/15/2020). If we need to continue to avoid large gatherings after this, then we will consider alternate forms of communication. Across the CREC, churches are considering various kinds of broadcasting, conference video/live cast, or smaller gatherings in different places. 
 
For this week, I have provided a Family Worship Liturgy which preserves the themes of this Sunday’s lectionary and liturgy (Lent 3). It is very remarkable how relevant these themes are to our current pandemic, just as last week’s Psalm 121 (“My help comes from the LORD"). Sharon and I worked on this together and it includes many things relevant to younger children. It takes between 15-20 minutes to lead your family through it. Use this Lord’s Day well and stay safe as you look to the Lord in this crisis.
 
A few options to use the Family Worship Liturgy
 
- Print out this PDF:
- Follow along online
 
While all the music is contained or linked in the document, you may find it handy to use a copy of the Cantus Christi, as well.
 
Additionally, here are a few verses that may be useful to post and rehearse with your family:
 
Isaiah 26:3 The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
 
2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
 
Philippians 4:6–7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
1 Peter 5:7 [Cast] all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
 
Matthew 6:27: And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
 
Grace and peace to you!
Pastor Gregg

March 13, 2020

In light of the reports and recommendations coming from the CDC, we have decided to cancel church on Sunday, March 15. We do this not in a spirit of fear, but in hopes that our precautions may help slow the spread of the virus and alleviate the strain on healthcare professionals.

Please continue to pray for God to be glorified, for a spirit of peace, and look for ways to be the hands and feet of Christ to our family, friends, and neighbors during this time.

Let us know of any prayer requests or physical needs you may have as the days progress. Additionally, you can check out these links for further information, recommended by All Saints Elder, Kevin Kanoff, who works at Hershey Medical Center:

Johns Hopkins | PA Department of Health


March 13, 2020

A note from CREC Presiding Minister, Virgil Hurt:

"I am sure you are all following this rapidly changing situation. I want to encourage you to rest in the Lord for He is your peace, and strength and help.

Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.


I am reminded that we made our bulletin for this coming Sunday on Monday of this week and printed them on Tuesday. There is nothing in the bulletin about the Coronavirus. The situation in the USA has all happened since Tuesday. So, a very rapidly changing situation that will continue to unfold today and tomorrow.

In such a situation, we do not want to over react. We also do not want to fail to act where we should. As of this writing, midday Friday, our service is on for Sunday and we have no restrictions. However, North Carolina has asked for all meetings of over 100 people be canceled. There is no such statement from Virginia Governor Northam at this time. However, were the request to be made, we will comply with the request. I also encourage you to follow your state's recommendations on gatherings.

In the case of gathering size restrictions, you may still be able to hold some limited services and livestream them to your folks at home. The Lord grant you wisdom in your own particular situation.

While the coronavirus does not pose a dire health threat to most of our people, we still do not want to catch it and pass it around. The biggest danger seems to be the rapid spreading of the virus such that it overwhelms the health care system and providers, which makes treating serious coronavirus patients and other non-coronavirus critical need patients difficult or impossible. That is what is going on in Italy. If the spread of the virus is slowed, then the health care system can keep up and treat people adequately.

Below are the recommendations for our folks at Providence. Your situations are likely quite different depending on the level of virus spread in your state or city.

Providence Church, Lynchburg, Virginia USA
Look for updates in the next couple of days about our Sunday Service. At this point,
1. If you are ill, please do not attend church Sunday.
2. There are no coronavirus cases in Lynchburg as of this writing.
2. If you are an 'at risk' individual for a serious case of Coronavirus, then feel free to stay home this Lord's Day. At risk individuals are those over 60 and those with other health problems: heart disease, diabetes and weak immune system, etc.
3. If your family is concerned about catching the virus and wants to lay low for a week or two, or as the situation becomes more clear, perhaps for longer, then we are fine with you staying away from services.
4. Given the fact that we may have an interruption or alteration of services at some point, we may make plans to hold some services with leaders and limited people and live stream to those who are not in attendance.
5. Pray that the Lord will use this uncertain and chaotic time to draw many people to Himself. Be a calm in the storm.

Be at peace and trust the Lord. This seems a bit chaotic right now but the Lord is still in control and this is part of His plan. He is good and all things work together for the good of His people.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Hurt"

 

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