03.13.20 | Coronavirus | by Christopher Edmonston
Dear Friends and Members of White Memorial Presbyterian Church:
I write with an update for each of you. As we live into the reality of all the changes being thrust upon us, the first thing to remember is that God has given us a calling to be of strong faith in the face of uncertainty. God has given us a calling to care. Times of crises and upheaval are the time to remember the command of Jesus “to love one another as I have loved you.” No virus takes away the grace and mercy of our Lord.
Effective Friday, March 13, 2020, the White Memorial campus will be closed to all ministries, activities, and classes until April 1, 2020. We are also recommending that off-site groups (like Bible Studies and fellowship groups) postpone meetings until church activities resume.
Our Weekday School will be closed from Monday, March 16 - Tuesday, April 14. Weekday School families are encouraged to check the WDS website frequently.
This is done because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and is a change from our previous communications in response to the directives of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services who have requested that no groups of 100 people meet (including church and worship services) for the next weeks. We will continue to follow the guidance of the NCDHHS and pray for our fellow North Carolinian's who will find themselves impacted by this pandemic.
In the meantime, we will commit ourselves to the following:
- We will have online streaming only worship services on Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 11:00. These will be simple services with limited number of worship leaders in attendance. Bulletins available online too.
- We hope to resume services of worship on campus on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020.
- We will continue to staff the church campus during weekday office hours. Please communicate with church staff via email and the telephone. Some staff members will be allowed and encouraged to telecommute.
- We will continue to provide pastoral care. Nearly ALL pastoral care will be by phone or other electronic methods. Please let us know of your pastoral needs and be patient with us as we live into these practices during the coming weeks.
- We will explore electronic means of offering prayer meetings, Bible studies, and other spiritual practices. The way to learn about these offerings is to check your weekly emails from WMPC and to check the church website. Our ministry has not ceased. Rather, we are exploring ways to creatively share our faith.
Please help us in the following ways:
- If you are feeling unwell, please refrain from coming to church even to meet with staff or to visit the library. Please contact your health care providers if you are unwell. Please take care of yourselves and be prayer partners and good friends.
- Pray for those affected. Pray for those who will lose work, who need the Food Bank, and who are caring for loved ones. Pray for our health care workers. Pray for those who are afraid. Now is a time for deep empathy and deep compassion. Like all crises, this one will hit the most vulnerable the hardest. Pray for them.
- Visit the church web site very often. We will be updating regularly.
Like all of us, this is our first pandemic. While the virus is real we all need to monitor our fear. Fear leads us to irrational ends. This is a sober, serious time. This is a time that demands awareness and caution. But, in time, and with good medicine we will see a day when we have weathered the worst of the storm. Until then, I cannot encourage you to pray enough. Prayer settles the soul, stills the heart, and helps us keep our fears from getting the best of us.
May God bless us, all, with mercy and grace divine,
Christopher H. Edmonston, Pastor