Dear Members and Friends,
Grace and peace to you all!
Fall has finally arrived and there is reason to rejoice amid this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The heat, high temperatures, and humidity have faded making outdoor activities much more appealing. Furthermore, the metrics related to COVID (which means there are a declining number of cases and the percent testing positive is getting closer to or below 5%) have enabled Governor Cooper to move us into phase 2.5 of easing restrictions. This allows for groups of up to 25 to gather indoors and 50 outdoors while masking and practicing social distancing.
As a result, the Session has moved our Service for the Lord’s Day outside to the lawn and parking lot (weather permitting) beginning Sunday, October 4, 2020. For those unable to attend and if technology permits, we will still offer a virtual livestream service. If not, a recorded service will be posted later. In the event of inclement weather, we will revert to virtual so please keep an eye on the forecast. We hope that these trends will continue and get us moving toward meeting indoors. I hope that these changes will help you feel comfortable not only about the weather, but gathering at JPC.
Still, worshipping in person during the pandemic will seem different from our normal gathering in the sanctuary. The service will be abbreviated to reduce exposure to the threat of virus as well as exposure to the elements. I encourage everyone to bring a blanket, chair, or sit in their vehicle at a safe distance from others that are not part of their household. Musicians will play music, but congregational singing is discouraged with vocal-only as part of special music. Listen, be inspired by what you hear, hum along and feel the music. Tithes and offerings may be placed in receptacles placed in designated areas or, if you prefer, you can still use online giving and the postal service. Be open to this new experience and moved by the Spirit that gives us the very breath of life.
We cannot say thank you enough for how faithful many of you have been in giving of your gifts during this extraordinary time. We are also grateful for a number of you who have practiced stewardship by contributing your time and energy to offer music for services, voluntarily cleaning and taking care of the church building, helping with technology, and caring for – and checking in with – members in need of care. Thanks be to God for your generous service to Christ and JPC!