We hope this email finds you well and finding new rhythms after these first few days of our new adaptive challenge! You might remember the phrase, “adaptive challenge” from our strategic planning work—something we face that requires new learning, new ideas, and new ways of being. I’d say we’re sure living into that right now, in very different ways than we had ever imagined!
In this uncertain time, those of us in leadership at Central want you to know that your CPC family is here for you. For the last five days, we’ve worked almost ceaselessly to come up with ways to stay connected and keep the heart of our ministries going. I’m so proud of our session, deacons, staff, and other leaders who have stepped up at this time. Here are some updates and things for you to look forward to in the coming days – bear with me for a long email:
How Will We Worship?
Saturday night we’ll send out a worship service similar to you what we shared for you to do at home last week, this time adding some pre-recorded elements, including a meditation from Pastor Emily, that will be uploaded to our yet-to-be-created youtube channel! We hope you’ll join us in worshipping God through our shared liturgy and experience.
How Will We Fellowship?
Virtual Coffee Hour! In the email with the service, you’ll receive a link to join us live on Zoom for some conversation with your CPC family Sunday at 10:45am. Bring a cup of coffee along with you, and we’ll break folks into “tables” so we can better have conversation. More directions will come in the email with the link.
How Can I Give My Offering?
Though we are not in the building, our ministry still continues. So does the need for money to keep our staff and bills paid. We need your continued financial gifts, as you are able to continue to give them. You’ll be receiving a much more comprehensive email from the Session about the options to continue your giving within the next few days. But for now, you can give a one-time gift online at https://cpcdowningtown.ccbchurch.com/goto/giving (select 2020 Core Fund from the drop-down menu), or by putting a stamp on your gift and sending it in the mail to the church. Thank you for your generosity.
How Can My Children Stay Connected?
Our worship liturgy that goes out on Saturday is family-friendly. And Amy Lisk has already sent emails to our families to support them.
Starting next week, day and time to be announced, we hope to offer a Story Time with Pastor Emily and Pastor Jenny for our families to Zoom into. More information to come!
How Else Can I Stay Connected?
We’re also exploring ways to use our CPC Facebook page for other ways of connection. If you’re not yet a part of that group request to join! Search “Central Presbyterian Church of Downingtown, PA” in Facebook’s search bar to find us.
If you've never ventured into Facebook-land, we invite you to give it a try, at least for this season, where we'll be needing to use it to keep us connected. Facebook is free, and not hard to navigate. Go to www.facebook.com to sign up.
How Can I Receive Pastoral Care?
More than ever, we want you to know we are here for you! Pastor Jenny and Pastor Emily, your deacons, and others are ready to support you. We can do so through phone calls and emails, individual video conferencing, and other means depending on your circumstances. Whether you need someone to pray with you, to just chat, could use help getting groceries, or find yourself suddenly without a pay check and needing a boost financially—we will try to find a way to support you. But you need to reach out to us. Fastest way is by email. ([email protected] and [email protected]). We’ll also check the church phones at least once a day if you leave a message there (610-269-1576). If you want to be put on the prayer chain, please let us know that as well.
How Will We Continue Mission?
Our work as a church has never been just about ourselves—it has always been about sharing God’s love with the community around us. We know there is an immediate need for food at the Lord’s Pantry. If you’re doing a grocery run for your family and can grab some extra items to share, we encourage you to do so! Here’s their website for more information: https://www.lordspantryofdowningtown.org/.
If you want to be a part of deeper conversations about how we can share God’s love, even in little ways, in a time of social distancing, check the facebook page soon for info on an upcoming zoom brainstorming session!
How Will Board, Committees, Classes and Fellowship Groups Work?
We’re currently working on it! Reach out to your ministry leader about the specifics for your group. (And ministry leaders, if we have not been in touch with you – please be in touch with us).
How Can YOU can help US?
We could use some people comfortable with technology, ideally with some social media experience, to help us get up to speed launching these initiatives. We also need community moderators (like camp counselors for social media groups) in these online spaces. Though Pastor Emily is a millennial and knows enough about technology to be opinionated about it, she admits that her skills are stronger in other areas. Pastor Jenny is wrapping her head around the fact that COVID-19 considers her “elderly,” and says she has marks on her heels from being dragged into the tech world.
The work takes a lot of time, more than our small staff has, to move an entire congregation’s ministry into a new place and in new ways. We have tons of ideas we could implement if we had folks to help us realize them. If you’re willing to help, please let Pastor Emily know.
No matter how uncertain the times, we remember as the church we do not face these challenges alone. God is with us, and in that we place our hope. The thing about hope is that it stands right next to real fear we might feel and gives it a great big hug (thankfully the Holy Spirit doesn’t need to heed to social distancing the way we do!). I will admit that I—Emily—finally hit a point where I just had to step back and just cry today. God welcomes our honest emotions of all kinds, right now and always. And we also trust that hope perseveres through the tough times, remembering Paul’s words from Romans who said, “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
With love and peace,
Pastor Emily and Pastor Jenny