As per the newest guidelines of the CDC and our Governor, The Church and the Parish House will remain closed until further notice. This includes all activities at the Church and Parish House. Please continue to maintain social distancing and call Shepard if you have any questions or concerns.
Monday, March 16, 2020
Good afternoon everyone,
I hope you’re well, safe, keeping your distance, washing your hands and doing the things you need in order to get through these difficult times.
I want to bring you up to date on a few things: — I have canceled my vacation, so I am back in town serving you as your pastor and preacher. — Throughout the week and in the days ahead I will be posting on our website and sending out via email some thoughts, devotions and updates. — We are organizing phone groups: folks who would be willing to call others to check in, let them know we’re here for them and to see if they need help in any way. If you would like to help with making calls or know anyone that needs to be contacted please let me or the office know.
— We are making plans to worship remotely and will keep you posted.
We are living in times unlike any we’ve known. Uncertainty is the order of the day and even that will change tomorrow. We need to heed the directions of the CDC, state and local elected officials, and health authorities in order to slow the spread of Covid-19 throughout our communities. Washing hands, maintaining social distance, staying home and traveling for only the most essential purposes is necessary for our health and the health of all those around us. It is equally important while we are not able to come together that we do the things we need to stay together. So, let’s stay in touch, share our faith and hope with one another; and trust in the constant, all-inclusive, never ending, all-powerful love of God for each and every one of God’s children: and that includes you and me! As we will have more time on our hands, I invite you to take some of it to be still and think of things for which you are grateful. Write them down if you like. Make a list. Share it. Invite others to join in your thanksgiving. Even though we are apart from each other; remember, we are one in Christ.
Sweet Honey and The Rock have a song that says it so well; Gratitude Although we are apart, God’s love holds us together.
In the love of Christ,
Friday, March 13, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the First Church of Christ Woodbridge,
After much prayer and consideration, and in consultation with health professionals, our Moderator, Chair of Deacons and other church leaders, I want to share with you some measures we are taking in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
As recommended by our Southern New England Conference Ministers, we are canceling our Sunday morning worship services for the next three weeks — March 15 - March 29 — and all other church activities. Our church office will be closed as well. Church staff will be coming in as necessity warrants. It is helpful to know that we are not alone as other denominations and faith communities in our area are taking similar precautions.
No doubt this is disappointing and a source of frustration. However, for us to continue as though everything is “normal” will only put our church and the larger community at greater risk. Self-quarantining is an action we can take immediately to slow the spread of Covid-19 and safeguard the most vulnerable in our community. The research is clear, to proceed otherwise will enable the spread of the virus and the suffering it causes.
I will be coordinating with the Deacons and other church leaders in developing plans that will help us remain the connected body of Christ as we love and support one another at a distance. Among these will be planting a phone tree to be in touch with all for whom we have phone numbers. In this way we can check in with each other and share information. We don’t want anyone to feel isolated or lonely or be without those things necessary for our physical and emotional health. We are also making plans so we can maintain our spiritual wellbeing through remote worship, prayer and reflection. Updates will be posted on our website along with links to helpful articles and information.
With the sudden closing this week of schools, places of work, entertainment and other social gatherings, the need for urgent action has hit home. As we adjust to our common life of self-quarantine, we may find we have more time on our hands. What an unforeseen gift in the midst of such uncertainty. Prayer, meditation, listening to music, catching up with friends on the phone, reading a good book or walking in the woods are just a few ways through which we can find spiritual and physical renewal in these difficult times.
Please don’t hesitate for a moment to call with concerns or ideas that will keep us connected. I and your church leaders are here for you.
Our biblical faith reminds us that the gift of faith comes to us even in our doubting; that hope is delivered when despair is knocking at our door; and that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals the all-powerful love of God to be the source of our lives now and forevermore.
In the Love of Christ,
The following links to resources below may be helpful to many of us: