Dear FPC Members and Friends,
We miss you! It is our hope you are staying well as we pass the nine-month mark of this pandemic. Although these are dark days, the light of Christ continues to shine so we wish you the very best as you celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas. In this pastoral letter, we will list some of the ways that we can worship, learn and remain connected, even in these challenging times.
First, we want to inform you of a decision made by the session on Tuesday, December 15. After reflecting on the recent rise in coronavirus infections, the session decided for FPC to remain online for worship through the first two months of 2021. We will plan for a transition to in-person worship services in the sanctuary beginning in March 2021. We know how much everyone wants to see each other in person so if weather and other conditions permit there may be opportunities for outdoor gatherings for worship before March (see below for Christmas Eve opportunities).
When we do begin to gather, we will meet in-person for the 8:45 a.m. worship service only, as well as, live-stream this service. This service will be rebroadcast at the 11:15 a.m. time slot. We hope to be back together for two services by Easter Sunday. Initially, we will use recorded music, require masks and social distancing protocols will be in place. Although many will find this delay to be frustrating, we want everyone to remain safe as they participate in worship and other church activities.
Second, we want you to participate fully in the online and gathered activities that are planned for Christmas:
In addition to the online Christmas Eve service on YouTube, we will provide two, in-person outdoor service opportunities on Dec 24 at 4:30 pm and at 7:30 pm on the Glebe. The first service will be a masked, socially-distanced lessons and carols service featuring LIVE FARM ANIMALS alongside the Nativity Scene on the Glebe at 4:30 pm. Children can enter into the experience of Jesus being born among animals. The second service will also be a masked, socially-distanced lessons and carols service, featuring live brass and timpani music at 7:30 pm. The service will end with outdoor candle-lighting and singing of Silent Night. Please dress appropriately if you are joining us for these outdoor Christmas Eve services.
Thank you for the tremendous efforts that so many put into the feeding of the homeless during our hypothermia prevention week, under the leadership of Mary Wade and Sheri Zimmerman. And a big thanks to Ako Cromwell and Red's BBQ, which put on a fundraiser that collected over $2000 for this important work.
As always, we are grateful for the many ways that you support Christ's work at FPC in these challenging times.
In hope, health and peace,
Henry G. Brinton & Yena K. Hwang