Covid-19 Service Updates

COVID-19 - Church Building and Ministry Update
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM DR. MATTHEW RICH


 
Introduction to Phase 1 - Reopening the Church Campus

May 27, 2020

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

I am writing to share with you an update from the Session after their May 26th Monthly Stated Session Meeting. In addition to this letter and watching the video, I ask you to please read the three attachments. There is a great deal of important information contained in each, so please take time to review them all.

The Session takes its responsibility very seriously to be spiritual leaders for our congregation and community. The decisions it faces are challenging and complex and also surrounded by prayer. To guide their work and decisions regarding reopening the church campus, the Session first approved the following Theological Commitments:

  1. We seek to be gathered together as the church - “Where two or three are gathered in my name, [Christ is] there among them” Matthew 18:20

  2. While the church is the people and not the building, there is a vitality for the church’s faith, spirit, health, and ministry experienced when the church gathers together for worship, fellowship, study, and service.

  3. While it is impossible for the church to completely eliminate the risks associated with gathering together, it is the responsibility and commitment of the Session, church staff, and all members to reduce the risk in gathering as much as possible. We will seek to act and make decisions out of love and not fear. 

  4. While the Session and the church staff will seek to reduce the risk in gathering for all members of our congregation and community, we recognize a particular responsibility to care for the most vulnerable during this time of pandemic.

  5. While we recognize that not everyone will choose to be present every time the church gathers, the Session and church staff will make every effort to ensure that precautions and arrangements are made so that all are welcome and included every time the church gathers. 

  6. We will live in hope and confidence - “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 

In light of these Theological Commitments, the Session voted unanimously to set Monday, June 1, 2020 as the beginning of phase 1 of reopening the church campus. This will allow the church staff to return to work in their offices, for you as congregation members to make appointments to see members of the staff (but not just drop in), and for us to work toward when the church campus will be available for small (less than 10 people) groups, meetings, and studies.

The Session also voted unanimously to approve guidelines for Phase 1 of in-person worship as an outdoor, evening, worship experience beginning on June 14, 2020 at 7 PM. A recorded video worship service will still be shared at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings, so this evening service will be a different, creative, casual service for any who choose to attend. The Session will confirm this date, based on the most recent guidance and information, on Thursday June 11th.

Again, please watch the video and read the attached documents for important information on the reopening of the church campus, plans for outdoor worship, and a summary of all the other ways we continue to minister and share the good news of the gospel during these days. 

As I shared with the Session last night, the church continues to be sustained by the same practices as it was on that first Pentecost: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). Thank you for your faith, your care for one another and the most vulnerable in our church and community, your financial support, and most of all your prayers. 

God bless,
Matt   

Reopening the Church Campus - Phase 1
Instructions for In-Person Outdoor Worship - Phase 1
RMPC Ministry Updates - May 26, 2020

RMPC Ministry Update (May 14th, 2020)

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

The Session met for a called meeting this evening, so I wanted to provide you a brief update on decisions made tonight. In the midst of ever changing news about COVID-19 cases and testing; the governor’s executive orders and local guidelines; businesses and churches both reopening and remaining closed; scientific data and opinions, and our God who is faithful always, I am very grateful for how your Session continues to prayerfully consider how we might best continue to share the good news of the gospel with our congregation and community. There is much which is yet to be decided and many details yet to be worked out. However, the Session did vote this evening:

To set Monday, June 1, 2020 as an aspirational date for reopening the church campus with both theological commitments and strict safety guidelines. If this date is confirmed, it will allow the church staff to return to work in their offices, for you as congregation members to make appointments to see members of the staff (but not just drop in), and for us to continue working toward the church campus being available for small (less than 10 people) groups, meetings, and studies.

To set June 14, 2020 as an aspirational date to resume in-person worship services. This date also remains subject to change as we continue to monitor the most recent guidance from the CDC, health and governmental officials, and our denomination. We do not want to gather for an in-person worship service until we can do so as safely as possible. The tentative plan for June 14th is to share a recorded video service in the morning via Facebook and YouTube and hold an outdoor evening service (with different scripture, sermon, prayers, and music) on the lawn and parking lot of the Alan Fuqua Center.

The Session’s next Stated Meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 26th. At that time, if the Session believes it is faithful and safe to proceed with these dates, the Session will consider and approve more definite plans for this phase 1 of opening the church campus and returning to in-person worship services. I will share more with you as soon as it has been approved by the Session.

Thank you for your faith, your care for one another and the most vulnerable in our church and community, your financial support, and most of all your prayers. You are living examples of what we will hear in our scripture text this Sunday: “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” 1 John 4:16

God bless,
Matt


Ministry Update - April 29, 2020
Following Christ now and "not yet" - 1 John 3:2


March 17, 2020
Dear Friends,

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

In these days of anxiety and uncertainty, Paul’s words to his beloved church in Philippi have spoken to me and I pray they are words of comfort and strength for you as well.

I am writing after a called Session last night to share with you the ways Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church will continue its witness of faith, hope, love, and joy in these constantly changing days of the COVID-19 virus. These are not easy decisions, and yet with great prayer and hope, we seek to follow Christ’s call to best love one another, especially the most vulnerable in our congregation, and to best nurture the health of our community.

In accordance with the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations that group gatherings of more than 10 people be limited for the next eight weeks, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church is:

• Closing our church campus and suspending all face-to-face worship, activities, and events through Sunday, May 3rd. If conditions and advisories change, we will return to normal ministry sooner. Please remember that while the church buildings might be closed, we are the church and together we continue to be the body of Christ.
• We will be worshiping on-line on Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM and Wednesday nights (until April 1) via livestream on Facebook Live and with a recording posted on the RMPC YouTube page and website. After a good start this past Sunday, we will improve the broadcast and seek ways to make it even more interactive for you at home as we become more accustomed to worshiping in this new way.
• You will provide resources in print and online so that bible studies, small groups, committee meetings, etc. can continue in a new and creative ways. Watch for more information from individual leaders and staff members in the days and weeks ahead.
• We will continue to provide pastoral care, but recognize that it will be largely through phone calls, emails, text messages, and video conferencing.
• Our church staff will be working from home, so if you call the church office, please leave a message so that we can respond to you as quickly as possible.

(continued)
As we are the church in this new dispersed way, I want to ask several things of you:

1) Please pray: Let your requests be made known today. Pray for the peace that passes all understanding. Pray for those who are sick and those who are caregivers. Pray for public health officials and health professionals. Pray for our leaders who make decisions. God hears us as we pray, so keep praying.
2) Please love your neighbors: I never expected a time when loving our neighbors would mean not gathering face-to-face, but this is that time. However, telephones still work and are a vital tool for us to care for one another. We are encouraging our church staff, elders, and deacons to be in touch with you regularly. I encourage you to do the same with one another. In addition to emails, texts, social media, and other communication, please continue to call, talk, and pray with one another.
3) Please continue your support of the church: While our ministry is different during these days, it continues in new and important ways. We are committed to continuing to pay all of our church staff. We are committed to supporting our ministry partners near and far as needs will increase, not decrease in the months ahead. We need your financial support. If you normally give in the offering plate each week, send in your offering by mail or use the online giving option at www.reidchurchaugusta.org. Someone will be receiving the mail each day, so your gifts will be secure.
4) Please share your needs: These are uncertain days. Let us know your worries and we will pray with you. Let us know if you need help with shopping or prescriptions, etc. and we will seek to be of help. Let us know your concerns and we will do our best to respond. We are the body of Christ and God has given us all we need to care for one another in this and every day.
My friends, God has gifted us with this amazing community of faith and support. We are called in times such as these to be ready to stand together in love, fighting fear with our confidence and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we unveiled our new church vision last fall, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church: We’re on the Way!, I do not think any of us expected all the twists and turns ahead. Yet, we are confident that we walk this way with Christ and he is the way, the truth, and the life.

God bless,
Matt


March 15, 2020
Third Sunday in Lent
Dear Friends,

Our God our Help in Ages Past, Our Hope for Years to Come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

In these uncertain days, we rely upon our God who has been and will be faithful always. Despite our faith, there are many questions about the best way that we as a congregation can be of aid to our communities and health professionals in light of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. Last Sunday I shared a letter in the bulletin with our initial response as a congregation. As you know much has changed since that time and the situation continues to be a fluid one.

I had intended to send a message to you earlier this evening sharing our plans for modified worship on Sunday. However, based on requests from Governor Kemp and advice of local medical professionals, instead I have asked the Session to cancel "face-to-face" worship, Sunday School, and other church activities on Sunday, March 15.

I want you to know that we make this decision not out of fear, but out of a desire to best love one another, especially the most vulnerable in our congregation, and to best nurture the health of our community.

So, instead of "face-to-face," we will study and worship differently.

At 10:30 AM on Sunday we will be "live streaming" a modified worship service with prayers, scripture, hymns, and sermon on Facebook. On Sunday afternoon we will post a video recording of the service on the RMPC website and YouTube page. I'm working with Richard Cook to ensure that the hymns will not be solos by the pastor!

Facebook Live-stream link - https://www.facebook.com/Reid-Memorial-Presbyterian-Church-100860219958698/

RMPC YouTube page - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2TMURYFf05HNFJpeumFLJg

Pastor Nadine will record a lesson for week 3 of our Love Does series and it will be posted at the above sites as well.

The Session will meet early next week to consider the ways that we will continue to worship, study, and care for one another and our community. We will continue to monitor guidance from health professionals, our government officials, and our denomination. I anticipate that further temporary modifications will be necessary for our life together. We will share more with you as soon as we are able to do so.

It is especially important that we continue to find ways to show care and love for one another, so I ask you to call someone during the worship hour on Sunday and pray together. Think about those who normally sit around you in worship, let them know by phone, text, or email that you are praying for them. If you have or know of needs we might assist with, please let me know via email or phone.

In these uncertain times, I urge us to remember what I heard today from a friend: Reading daily devotions will never be cancelled. Singing your favorite hymns will never be canceled. Studying scripture will never be cancelled. Praying will never be cancelled. Love will never be cancelled. People of faith, we can do this!

God bless,
Matt

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