Sharing Life While We're Apart: Responding To COVID-19 Together
Dear NPC Family,
If you are dumbfounded and disoriented, you are not alone. The COVID-19 virus has turned our world upside down, and things keep shifting and shaking. It is all but impossible to keep our balance, and we are all, in one form or another, scared. Even so, by God’s grace we are able to offer our hearts and our prayers to those who are suffering, and also by grace we are able to sense Jesus’ invitation to hope and to be open to how he might want to love his world through us.
I had a relentlessly optimistic friend whose response to every hardship was, “It’s going to be okay! We know the end of the book!” He drove me crazy. Yes, this emergency will come to an end, but in the meantime we are in middle of this surreal, inescapable disaster. These are difficult days, and they are made more difficult by the fact that we can’t be with one another. We have actually been ordered by the state not to get together. So at a time when we need most to gather for worship and fellowship and ministry and for normal life, when we need most to literally hang on to one another, we can’t.
We need each other to get through this. We have made thousands of choices to make sure our lives our are interwined. We are deliberately interdependent, and suddenly that is a bit problematic. So what do we do? How do we get through this together if we can’t be together? There is an answer, and it is doable: the answer is to mutually commit to creating and implementing new ways to engage with each other. It won’t be life as usual (which is frequently overrated, anyway), and it will include using technologies that some of us might find intimidating; even so, we will be able to share life together, to share life in ways suited to these odd days, to share life in ways that might even be lifesaving.
Below you will find a sketch of some of the things we plan to do to facilitate our ongoing life together as Northminster Presbyterian Church, under the heading, NPC PRIORITIES AND ACTION STEPS. Please resolve with us to continue living as Jesus’ people in this place for this time as we invest our energies and resources in the priorities of worship, stewardship, and care.
The love of Christ surrounds us. Our shared past evidences his faithfulness. These moments are infused with his presence. And our future is assured by the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We may confidently look forward to sitting around the Lord’s table, face to face, breaking bread and rejoicing. Until then, please know that God is equipping and inspiring us at NPC to live as wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ, particularly in these days that cry out for God’s love and grace.
Trusting Jesus with you,
NPC PRIORITIES AND ACTION STEPS
At 10:00 AM tomorrow morning (Sunday, March 22) you are invited to read and pray through the Order of Worship you will find below.* As you read and pray, be aware that others in our communit doing the same;
In the weeks ahead we will offer simple worship services on video, and we hope be able to stream services “live,” in real time.
Along with streaming Sunday morning worship, when we have the technology in place we will stream brief mid-week “prayer services” (days yet to be determined).
We will continue to suggest online resources that we find interesting and inspiring (or maybe just funny).
Many of us, perhaps most of us, will need some coaxing and patient coaching to be able to access these online opportunities, so we will be offering assistance/training in the use of social media, etc., for those who are unfamiliar and/or inexperienced. Until we are able to distribute a list of folks who have volunteered their assistance, we encourage you to experiment and to avail yourselves of any available 12 year old.
During crises, financial stewardship is apt to taper off a bit. But it’s during crises that consistent giving is particularly important. We can continue our ministries for our congregation, our community, and our mission partners to the extent that we all continue our financial support of the church. As God provides, please do all you can to keep your giving up to date, to NPC and to other organizations you support.
There are multiple ways to deliver your offering to NPC. You can mail a check; you can use your bank’s online bill pay system, or Zelle; you can also send funds indirectly via credit card or Paypal, though a fee will be deducted from your gift.
Our deacons are working with our session and other volunteers to begin a “calling” ministry to ensure that our congregation stays connected.
We will establish ways for those with needs to communicate with the church, and we help coordinate the services of all the volunteers we can muster (potentially for delivering groceries, medicine, etc.)
Beginning next week, Charlie and other leaders will send out a brief daily devotion to further cultivate our awareness that we remain connected in Christ.
NPC’s paid staff are subject to California’s order not to venture out, however “essential” we’d like to think we are. We are learning how to work and communicate from our respective homes, and we trust that our congregation will be understanding and patient as we adjust to these circumstances.
All campus gatherings of any sort are postponed until further notice.
Again, we will be strengthening our digital platform and capabilities in order for NPC to stay connected.
Northminster Presbyterian Church 400 Rancheria Road | Diamond Bar, CA 91765 | PH: (909) 861-4715