Pastoral Letter for June 12, 2020
Pastoral Letter for a Distributed Church June 12, 2020
The above graphic is a true statement. We can’t wait to see you and to worship with you. We will be gathering this Sunday, June 14th, at Harper Park Middle School once again. We will gather for worship at 10:30 am, and we will be operating under Phase 1 of our updated Plan for resuming in-person worship (which you can find here: https://www.csmedia1.com/potomachills.org/plan-to-resume-worship-2020.pdf). Please read the whole plan, but the gist of it is that we will have numerous safety precautions in place (masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing are all required, and separate doors for entrance and exit).
Please be aware that there will be no Nursery, Children’s Church, or Sunday School under Phase 1. However, even though our Children’s Ministry won’t be up and running yet, we would still love to see your kids. Having our covenant children in worship is a good thing. There’s a long Biblical record of including children in the worship service (and besides, the accompanying noise doesn’t bother me when I’m preaching). It's our hope to restart Nursery and Children’s Church as soon as we can move to Phase 2 of our plan, but that will depend on how and when the state guidelines change (you should have already received a separate email about restarting Sunday School with a target date of July 12th). Children’s Sunday School materials will still be offered online for parents to use.
The teen and adult Sunday School classes will still meet via Zoom. Two big changes for the Zoom classes. First, they’ll start PROMPTLY at 9:00 am and will end no later than 9:45 am, allowing everyone time to get to Harper Park for worship. Second, the adult class will be recorded and posted online. This will allow those on the Worship, Set Up, and Sound teams to view the class later. For privacy reasons they will only be posted on Realm (not Facebook). If you don’t want your face seen in the recording, we would ask that you turn off your camera on Zoom.
As we resume in person worship services, let me remind you that in order for this to work, it requires each of us to be prudent and wise.
If you determine that you and/or your family should refrain from attending in-person worship for a time, the Session supports you. We encourage you to participate in worship through the online resources that will continue to be provided. Right now, our plan is to record the worship service and post it on our YouTube channel after the service. Since we haven’t done this before, with this particular setup, we ask for your patience as we do our best to make our online worship work well for you and will strive to improve each week.
Furthermore, let me also remind you of the need to protect of our most vulnerable members. People over the age of 65, those with compromised immune systems, and anyone who is or has been sick or has other health concerns are encouraged to participate online until it’s clearly safe for everyone to gather again.
The Coronavirus lockdown has meant cancelling many of the things we enjoy in life: dinner with friends, children on the playgrounds, fans attending our favorite events. And it’s meant the cancelling of some of the most important things in life: children cuddling grandparents, weeping at funerals, celebrating graduations, weddings, birthdays, and the arrival of children. It’s also led to the cancelling of the best that the Christian life affords: Corporate Worship.
As Christians, we assemble to worship God. The word ‘church’ means ‘assembly’ - therefore gathering in the name of Jesus is one of the things that defines us. Though Christians serve God all week, once a week we put aside all other things to focus our whole being on Him; to gather to meet with God, in His Son Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
And we do this because this is what life is for – this is our chief end – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We’re made in the image of God, in order to reflect His glory back to Him. We’re made to declare the praises of God to Him and to all creation. We’re made to be in relationship with Him. So the church is called by Christ to gather to worship God.
A few months ago, maybe you took corporate worship for granted. I hope that’s no longer the case! I hope that you’re as eager as I am to worship together. I hope, as imperfect as our worship service is, that when we gather again as one assembly before the throne of grace, that it will bring tears to your eyes! (That way I won’t be crying by myself!)
I miss you — but I’ll see you soon — at our worship service!
Dr. David V. Silvernail, Jr., Senior Pastor
Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church