March 14, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the First Presbyterian Church Red Wing Community,
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded that “the greatest commandments are these: love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul also reminds us that “...nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”
In these days, as we continue to live in the midst of what has developed into a global pandemic, we are constantly seeking God’s guidance and direction as to what it means to live without fear while loving our neighbors as ourselves.
The situation regarding the COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has been rapidly evolving. Pastor Heidi and Pastor Greg, along with the session have been in contact with local churches, the Presbytery of the Twin Cities, and have been staying abreast of the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. This morning the session voted unanimously to move to online only worship until at least April 5, 2020.
Starting Sunday, March 15th, we are suspending all in-person events at the church building and those sponsored by the church, i.e. Mandy’s Coffee and Thursday Morning Book Club, until April 5, including worship on March 15th, March 22nd, March 29th, and April 5th. During this time, the Session will be meeting using various electronic means to continue to evaluate and make decisions regarding moving forward. The pastors and office staff will also be updating our availability in the office depending on health and school cancelations, but the pastors and the office will both be available by phone and email should circumstances dictate that we work from home. At this time, the office will remain open and the staff will practice “social distancing” of at least 6 feet.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance in preparing for this time of social distancing, please contact the pastors or the church office.
Please join us on Sunday at 10:30AM on Facebook Live and on our website. The livestream can be accessed at these links: www.facebook.com/fpcrw or firstpresbyterianredwing.com/live-stream/ . The worship video will also remain on the Facebook page and our website after the service has concluded where you can access it at any time.
We also ask you to remember that, even when we do not have in person worship, the ministry and the work of the church continues on, so we encourage you prayerfully consider how you may continue to support the life, mission, and ministry of the church by mailing in your offerings and pledges to the church office. You can also make your financial contributions to the church online at this link: http://bit.ly/FPCRWDonate
As always, you can listen to sermons on-the-go on i-tunes, a podcast app on your smartphone, or on our podcast channel: https://firstpresbyterianredwing.buzzsprout.com/
If you have a prayer concern that you would like to lift up, you can fill out a “virtual” blue prayer card by commenting on the Facebook link or by texting the pastors at (651) 327-0779.
Please know that we have not come to this decision lightly, nor out of a sense of panic or fear. However, out of an understanding of loving our neighbor, we are taking the recommendation of the CDC to promote “social distancing”. This is particularly important for people over the age of 60, in order to “flatten the curve” so as to lower the rate and speed of transmission and to protect the health of not only our attendees but also the greater community.
The Session is also working on plans for providing for worship, devotion, education, and community during this time. There is no guidebook or roadmap for these days, as we are in uncharted waters. However, know that we will seek connection and relationship with you so that you do not feel set adrift during these uncertain times. Please keep your eyes and ears open for information regarding these things, including online sign-ups for ways to help our neighbors or reach out when we need help.
If you worry that we may not have your current contact information, please send it by email or phone to Briana Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org) 651-388-9584.
Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Keep yourself healthy, and remember that you are loved, by God and by your church.
Grace and Peace,
The Session of First Presbyterian Church
(Brenda Hendrix—Clerk, Jennifer Beck, Pete Dulak, Jolene Hanson, Pam Paulus, Missy Phillips, John Plehal, Kai Rodgers, and Dale Wagner)