Currently in the state of Massachusetts the Governor has issued a ban on all gatherings of 25 or more people through April 17th. So obviously this means we need to reconsider how we gather and live as church family. While information and guidelines are changing rapidly and subject to constant change, the following post is meant to help communicate with you how we anticipate serving each other and our communities as the Church in this important time. There is a lot of information, please take a minute to read it all.
We will be using our mail chimp email, social media, and these web posts to keep you all as updated as possible. If you are not part of our mail chimp emails, please email Paul Gordon to have your emailed added.
Over the next 5-weeks we will have a mix of in-person small group gatherings and online virtual gatherings every Thursday evening, starting tomorrow.
These gatherings will be limited to 12 people per gathering and will require you to “sign-up” for one of the nights. Each gathering will be led by Paul & Elizabeth and will be essentially the same structure — so there is no need to come to more than one.
If you feel more comfortable gathering virtually — please do so. We will be using Zoom for these gatherings and the appropriate zoom links will be sent to those signed up for each respective night.
If you are not at all feeling sick and would value the gathering of a few people, please come to one of our in-person gatherings which will be hosted in a home. For these in person gatherings, we will have hand sanitizer available, practice appropriate social distancing, and not share any food or drinks.
You can view our Thursday evening schedule and sign up for one of our gatheringsHERE.
We will NOT be gathering together on Sunday morning until April 19th.
Elizabeth & Paul are working on recording 2 videos. One will be our Good Friday Video and will be released on Sunday, April 5th.
The second will be a video for Easter Sunday and will be released on Sunday, April 12th.
Both service videos will be posted to our YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to HERE.
For the next two Sundays (March 22nd and March 29th) should you be interested in watching a church service from home, please feel free to watch our sister churches as they post a service video on their YouTube channels.
Given that we are a smaller crew with limited resources (especially time) we aren’t able to produce a video each week at this time.
While we may not be able to produce a weekly service video for you all, Paul Gordon and Elizabeth Hill will be recording short videos on their phones to share. Pastor Paul will be sharing 1-2 short videos each week with devotional thoughts and Elizabeth will be sharing worship songs that may be timely and good for us to hear & sing in these times.
These videos will be posted on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Be sure to follow us to see these.
One of the ways that we may miss each other’s presence most is in the manner of praying for one another. So, please reach out to each other and start text threads so we can keep checking in on each other, encouraging each other and asking for prayer. In these text threads, it may be helpful to write out prayers not just say “praying for you”. Perhaps even schedule a phone call with 1-2 or other people so you can pray together.
While it may be different, we must not forget to pray with and for each other in these days.
Our Community At Large
Last week I (Paul) encouraged us to not make protecting ourselves and our health our only concern. We must not just be a church that retreats into the virtual world. There are still community members that need help and those of us who are not at-risk and remain healthy can and should help.
In North Berkshire an “Operation Center” has been set up that is attempting to connect potential volunteers to organizations and places that need assistance. Places like the Al Nelson Friendship Center/Food Pantry or the Berkshire Food Project, etc.
I’ve been in contact with those organizing the Operation Center and they included me on their distribution. So, when volunteer needs arise in the community they will contact me. If you are interested in possibly volunteering in any way, please email me and be sure to include your phone number in your e-mail.
As volunteer requests are sent out, I will email/text that to whoever may be interested and if you are able to fill a gap, you will let me know and I will connect you with the appropriate people. You will have the option of serving or not serving for each opportunity that comes up.
In the meantime, please remember to care for those immediately around you in your neighborhood. Be sure to ask your neighbors if they need anything from the store, particularly the elderly. Offer to shop for them and/or pray with them.
Often there are very real needs close to us and around us. Please allow the Lord to use you to serve your neighbors.
SPECIFIC TERRA NOVA CALENDAR ITEMS UPDATED
The following already scheduled events will be postponed:
– Monday Gatherings on March 23rd and April 6th (these will be replaced by the weekly Thursday gatherings above)
– Imago Bible Cohort on Thursday, March 19th
– Baptism Class and Q&A on Sunday March 29th
The following already scheduled events are TBD or perhaps will be moved to virtual meetings
– Imago Bible Cohort on Monday, March 30th
– All Night Prayer Vigil at All Saints Episcopal Church on Thursday, April 9th.
I love you all and am grateful to do my best to serve you as I can. As I am sure you all may be able to appreciate, time is a precious commodity right now in our family with Nicole working at the hospital as much as needed and our children home from school.
I know our Lord is sovereign and good and will ultimately make all things new. And in that day, even this temporary affliction will pale in comparison with His glory (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Come, Lord Jesus and while you tarry may we be Your servants. Grace and peace my brothers and sisters,