Coronavirus (Covid-19) Congregational Update
Monday, March 16, 2020
Update from the Pastor
To First Presbyterian Members and Friends
Another week is beginning, and many changes are taking place -- sometimes faster than we can absorb them. Know that God is with you as you grapple with the many changes in your life. I urge you to stay in touch with one another, to check on your neighbors who are vulnerable, and to keep in touch with me by phone, text, and email. In a time such as this, loving one another cannot be overstated as a necessary way to begin each day.
For your information:
1. The church building will be open today but the photo gallery is closed until further notice.
2. The education building is open; but beginning today, we will monitor walk-in traffic into the office area in order to provide the most protection for our office administrator during the day. When you have business that requires a trip into the office, please consider how you might accomplish the business by a phone call or email.
3. Joan will meet with deacons by email for their regularly scheduled meeting today.
3. All regular meetings at the church or in the education building have been suspended for this and next week; we will extend those suspensions as needed when information and official guidelines continue to be issued.
* Exercise classes will not meet until further notice from Sandra Burkes.
* Boy Scouts will meet for their Pinewood Derby today but then suspend meetings.
* Men's Prayer Breakfast suspended two weeks.
* Tuesday morning Bible study is suspended until further notice.
* Wonderful Wednesdays are suspended until further notice -- meals and Immerse study.
* Sunday school and church services are suspended for the next two weeks. The 10:30 service will be live-streamed as it was last week but without congregation.
* Confirmation classes are suspended. Joan will work individually with confirmands by telephone during the week.
4. Jon Gates will be in touch with the choirs as to any participation in the live-streamed worship services.
5. In order to maintain fellowship, group study, and a sense of God's gathered people loving one another, we will prepare some short prayer services on videos to be sent by text or email to the congregation. Joan and Jon will lead these services. We will depend on our tech experts for video assistance and sending to the congregation.
6. If you have any special needs, please contact the church office by telephone (601-442-2581). If you need groceries or medicines but feel that you cannot go out for them, please let us find help for you. If you need to speak to Joan or one of the deacons, by all means, make that call. We want to know each need so that we can respond appropriately.
The leaders of your church are continuing to meet, talk, and pray about ways to respond to the times in which we find ourselves. We know the spread of the COVID-19 virus is an event that could affect all of us in this church and in our community at large. I am asking you to seek peace and reassurance of God's presence in the world through your daily prayers and meditations. Pray for each other. Pray for church leaders and staff as we make plans day by day. Pray for the world and all people in it. Pray for the medical community and world leaders everywhere.
Other steps taken recently by your church to stem spread of the virus in our community:
1. We canceled a concert by the Jackson Metro Men's Chorus that was scheduled in the First Presbyterian sanctuary March 14. It will be scheduled for another day sometime in the future.
2. We canceled the special service and luncheon that was scheduled for March 15, to honor our local first responders. That event will be scheduled at a later date.
3. We live-streamed the 10:30 service on March 15, uploading to the First Presbyterian Facebook page. This will be an ongoing event each week. If you need help to get to the page, please call the office and we will have someone give you easy instructions.
4. If you have an underlying medical condition that makes you especially vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 virus, please stay at home.
5. Please stay home if you are ill. Practice wise self-care.
6. During any encounter with others, refrain from hugs and handshakes. You may smile and nod; or offer the fist or elbow gesture of greeting.
7. In recent weeks, we have increased our efforts to sanitize the FPC buildings. Still, it is important for you to take measures such as washing hands often and using hand sanitizer. Wash hands for twenty seconds -- say the Lord's Prayer once or sing the Doxology twice.
8. Remember all of those in our church community who need your tender loving care. Please make phone calls and write notes to those who may be feeling lonely or afraid.
Always call me or come to me for whatever needs you have in these or any times.
Serving Christ alongside you,