FCPC’s Response to COVID-19
Last Updated 4-28-2020 at 4:13 pm.
A communication from Cliff Stewart to the FCPC church family:
Yesterday we received directives from Governor Abbott regarding the beginning phases of reopening the State of Texas more fully. This included a detailed directive for churches. If you would like to read this I will be happy to email you a copy of the five page document.
First off, let me say that our church is not closed! We are open for ministry and trying our best to be a “live” presence in our community.
Obviously, restrictions have kept us from having our regular Sunday morning worship services and that is sorely missed. We are trying our best to have an “online” presence.
The new directives strongly urge that “houses of worship conduct as many of their activities as possible remotely.” We will do our best to continue this as we explore the best time to “reopen”.
Many are asking about what the Governor’s Executive Order means for public worship in the near future. I am going to go out on a limb and say that we will not consider doing so until there is a downward trajectory of Covid-19 cases in our city. From my vantage point it looks like Abilene is in the midst of an upward incline of cases.
I am appointing a sub-committee consisting of relevant committee chairpersons (worship, property, personnel as well as the deacon moderator) to study this lengthy directive from the Governor. The sub-committee will make a recommendation to the Session who will prayerfully and thoughtfully weigh alternatives and do what we think is best.
This is not a time to act impulsively. We must consider the health and safety of our congregation and community.
We together pray for health and wholeness across the globe. We pray for all who are caught in these economic hard times that touch all of us. We pray for hope, courage and new opportunity for mission to others.
Click “download” below to download and read Gov. Abbott’s directives about churches.
Announcement from 3-20-20 at 1:10 pm.
THE UNANIMOUS RECOMMENDATION of the FCPC Session is to immediately suspend all face-to-face activities on our church grounds through Sunday, March 29. The office will remain open for business, but the church building will be closed to the public. We will maintain regular Monday through Friday office hours. Our pastors, of course are available 24/7 for pastoral needs.
WORSHIP at FCPC will move online during this time. The online version of the worship services can be found on this website and on our Facebook page. Each video will post every Sunday morning at 8:00 am.
HOW TO WORSHIP AT HOME –
FCPC, like most churches, will not be able to come together for worship in our usual fashion, but thanks to technology, we can provide an on-line alternative. It will be different. However, just keep in mind that the church began in homes, so it is possible. The following are some suggestions you may want to consider…
Between now and Sunday morning, consider where you and those in your household will worship.
- In which room of your home will you plan to be or as a family gather?
- Maybe you would like to worship outdoors on the patio.
- How many will be with you? What seating will be available?
- One suggestion is to consider meeting around a dining table.
- Some of you may find that a lighted candle is both symbolic of Christ’s presence, and also provides a focal point during the service—much like the stain glass windows may do in our sanctuary.
We encourage you to allow God’s Spirit to work through your imagination to create a worship space in your home that is welcoming and reverent.
THE OFFICIAL ACTIVITY WE ARE HOLDING AT THE CHURCH IS THE FOOD PANTRY. We have devised a way that people can receive their food in a drive through. Sonic beware! It was really great to see so many people this afternoon￼￼￼ receive food and encouragement from our Food Pantry workers.
We will continue to review the situation …evaluating before March 29.
RATIONALE – We feel a deep and compelling reason for this action. While most of us are not at serious risk from Covid 19, we have many in our community who are – namely the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. If the spread of the virus is not contained, not only will it put many we know and love in danger, but our medical system will be overwhelmed and unable to serve the vulnerable and needy. To provide the necessary social distancing for the spread of this virus to slow, and because we feel a responsibility of love to our neighbors we gladly comply.
Keep in mind – just because a church takes a break from physically gathering together does not mean it ceases to be a church! We all know that a church is more than bricks and mortar, and while called to gather for worship it is vastly more than a Sunday service.
Dear God, we look to you in this time of trouble for our community and our world. May your Son, our great physician be present to all of us. Especially be with those who will have a very difficult time with this isolation period. May our church be concerned not only about ourselves but others. In your name we pray…I’m very appreciative of the adaptability of our congregation in light of the necessary cancellations we’ve had to make because of the coronavirus threat.
Cliff and Janice
Medical Mask Project
The shortage of medical masks is real right here in Abilene and we can help!
- To make fabric medical masks download the 3 PDF’s that are for the pattern, supply list and instructions
- There is also a Facebook group that many of us are part of: Medical “Mask” Force of Abilene. A person can go to the Facebook page for additional information and links to videos showing step-by-step instructions on how to make the masks.
- If someone wants to help but doesn’t sew, it would be great to have volunteers cutout the pieces that others can stitch.
- For volunteers in Abilene, you may drop the masks off here at the church (corner of N. 4th and Beech St. is location of parking area near offices) between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because the church doors are locked, call the office when you get here and someone will come receive them from you. The office number is 325-677-3501.
- If you live somewhere other than Abilene, first see if medical professionals in your area need masks and offer to supply them first. If they are not needed in your area, please send to us at First Central Presbyterian Church, 400 Orange St., Abilene, TX 79601 and we’ll see that they get to the hospitals and offices where needed!
- If you have fabric to donate, we can use 100% cotton or cotton blends. You may bring this to the church and we’ll distribute to volunteers.