Hello to all the friends and family members of Eastridge Presbyterian Church,
Earlier this year, we began our Wednesday night GiFT faith formation evenings with these words of scripture,
“But now, says the Lord— the one who created you, Jacob, the one who formed you, Israel:
Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Isa 43:1)
These words have brought me comfort for most of my career now, as I have used them at baptisms, weddings, confirmations, and funerals. I use them now, hoping they provide comfort and grounding for us all during this unusual COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic.
“Out of an abundance of caution…” these words are being used by many government and private organizations as we face the changes we are being asked to make. Now, I join in using them, in regard to some changes being made at Eastridge Church.
In light of the latest guidelines given by the CDC, our President, Governor, and Mayor, we are closing the office and moving our ministries online.
We ask for your patience with us as we do this. We love our church and our ministries! Our Bible studies, groups, worship services, meals, gatherings…all of these connections are important to who God has called us to be as a community of faith. At our weekly staff meeting yesterday, we brainstormed ways we can each use technology to connect, in voice, image, and spirit, if not in proximity.
After much discussion, we determined that it is best to direct everyone to two main sources for information online: our website (eastridge.org) and our Facebook Page (Eastridge Presbyterian Church). We have changed the format for our website so you will be able to see the latest – worship service, announcement, Bible study, etc. We will also continue to post on our Facebook page.
We will also be utilizing zoom for regular meetings like session, deacons, committees, small groups, Book studies, Faith Connection for children and youth. If you are part of one of these groups, information will be sent to you via e-mail with a link to join. Zoom is free! All you need is a free account. We will then “host” the meeting, so you’ll have no worries.
As I record this, we have a team of deacons and elders working on forming a phone call system so we can check in with you often. One of my primary concerns is for those who feel isolated, and are now even more isolated. If you would like to help by calling someone on the phone, please contact Donna Gustafson, Cathy Schapmann, or Greg Tubach. We are also working with some deacons and volunteers to be tech help on the phone, guiding members with questions through the steps to join zoom, make a facebook account, or find us online.
Worship will continue to be live streamed, one service every week at 10 am. We are working on how to get the worship materials to you, but will likely continue to e-mail a “worship packet” on Friday, with the prayers, songs, and lamp included.
We are dedicated to continuing the Food Pantry distribution as long as possible, however, we are in desperate need of help to keep it going. We are looking for folks who are not in the at risk category who can help deliver the food on Monday mornings and distribute the food during the week. If you are interested and able to do this, please use the sign up link on the website.
With the office closed, there will be many things we are figuring out. Donna will still likely check into the office in person, however, we are trying to limit contact with her. If you have something to drop off please either put it in the office mailbox, or on the Welcome Center Desk. If you see her in the office, please honor the restrictions in place. We are trying to keep everyone safe. Kris and Brian will be working primarily from home as well, and can be reached by e-mail.
John, Vince, Will, Brent, Jenny, Chase, Brett and Andy will all still be working in their usual capacities…in different ways. All of our staff are pulling together as a team!
Thomas and I realize the challenges this places in our ability to connect with you all for pastoral care. For the foreseeable future, we are both working exclusively from home. We are happy to meet virtually (Zoom, Facebook, Facetime) or by phone (using our cell phones). Because we have children out of school and spouses at home as well, we are asking that you first make an appointment with us so we can schedule time to be as present as possible.
Finally, it is important that we all take care of ourselves and our neighbors by following the guidelines we are given. We can all help #flattenthecurve or even #lessenthecurve by sheltering in place and staying home.
Please keep our world, country, President, Governor, Mayor, and all those working to help us shelter in place and stay home in your prayers. May God be between you and me until we meet again. Amen.
Melodie Jones Pointon