|Newland Presbyterian Church Family,|
[*I hope you have been taking up new patterns of worship while at home these last weeks. Here is a link to the latest YouTube Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alivx1AzjjM
** Two forms of donations are welcome to be dropped off at the rear church entrance (overhang near basketball goal). 1. Easter eggs by Wednesday, 4/8 for a “social distancing” egg hunt. Families will have an opportunity to sign up for time slots to go by the church, collect a packet of Easter materials and hunt eggs in the church yard as separate family units. So drop off some plastic eggs at the rear entrance between now and Wednesday if you’re out to the store. 2. Food donations for RAM. Containers of food will be sanitized upon delivery to agencies.]]
Please read the update below…
Your Session (board of elders) continues to meet bi-weekly by Zoom conference call to pray and to discern our response as a congregation to the novel coronavirus and its impact on our community. We pray that God will be glorified in you during this time.
In particular, emphasis has been placed upon:
1. the physical and spiritual wellbeing of our NPC family
2. maintaining lines of communication and personal contact
3. the financial wellbeing of all church employees
4. opportunities for continued worship online
5. ways to give to and serve the needs of our larger community of Avery
Here are a few of the concrete ways that NPC has responded, to date:
1. A suspension of all on-campus worship services through the end of April. This, unfortunately, includes Easter Sunday. May the Lord increase our spiritual hunger for fellowship with his church, and for his sacrament during this time!
2. The institution of online worship, posted weekly to the church website and emailed directly to parishioner’s inboxes.
3. A unanimous decision to continue paying all church employees during this time of uncertainty.
4. Regular (weekly) phone calls made by NPC elders to everyone in our church family. If you haven’t yet received a phone call, please alert the church office at (828-733-2186). Or, if you have needs, please be sure to let your elder know!
5. Updates to the NPC website, including a “Mission @ NPC During COVID-19″ tab: http://newlandpresbyterianchurch.org/responding-to-covid-19/, with links for 1. Assistance Requests, 2. Prayer Requests, 3. Worship From Home Resources, 4. the NPC YouTube channel, 5. Online Giving, 6. Resources for Children and Parents, and 7. Online Articles encouraging Christian reflection upon our current experience.
6. An ongoing roll-out of Zoom meetings and Bible Studies. Please call or email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part in any of the online group options below:
Ecclesiastes Bible Study w/ Debbie Clark
Ephesians Bible Study w/ Marie Gwyn, Chuck Vizzini, and Patti Detwiler
Discipling Our Children Study w/ Michael McKee
7. Monitoring and Supporting (financially and in person) our local Avery County agencies that help provide food and financial aid to folks dealing with various kinds of insecurity. (Feeding Avery Families (FAF) & Reaching Avery Ministries (RAM), in particular). The Session just voted to immediately distribute the full budgeted amount of our annual gift to both of these agencies, with hopes of doing much more in the coming weeks and months.
8. Prayerful support of our members and community.Michael, along with Phillip Greene (Newland Christian), Joe Ingham (Emmanuel Baptist), and Brent (Minneapolis Baptist) have established an online Avery County Prayer Vigil, accessible through Facebook, which has seen hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people signing up for a time to pray at the top of each hour. Please, if you haven’t already, join in this important work of intercession.https://www.prayervigils.net/vigil.php?pvId=383&fbclid=IwAR0pTbqkQE0i9o1LQvmzxoaDcanfB_InQtR33C-YUOVLR1BGL2i5vgxsAcs
And here are some things we hope to encourage moving forward:
Generous Giving. Presumably, utility expenses will be lower given our decreased use of the NPC building. But personnel costs remain, by far, our largest budget obligation month in and month out. In addition, the Session is exploring ways that we can grow our community aid during this season of need. Various other technological expenses have been incurred getting our worship online and copyright compliant. All this to say, the fulfillment of your pledge is needed, not only to fulfill our obligations to church staff, but also to expand our community mission during this critical time in the life of the world. You may give in two ways:
1. By mailing a check (this is preferred) to Newland Presbyterian Church, PO Box 579, Newland, NC 28657 or;
2. By going online to http://newlandpresbyterianchurch.org and clicking “Give.” This will take you to PayPal, where you can enter your debit/credit card information. PayPal does assess a 3% transaction fee to the church, which is why a mailed gift is preferred.
3. As always, if you find that you are, yourself, in need of financial assistance, please alert Michael or an NPC elder when they give you a call this week. Sharing our resources is an act of love.
4. We can’t wait to see how God uses our generosity as a church to make a positive difference in the spiritual and physical needs of our community. Hopefully, we can look back upon the uncertainty of this time, and see how God used our faithfulness for good.
Serving the Children & Elderly of NPC
1. At present, 21 children and 12 young adults call NPC home. 14 of them are under 6 years of age. 12 of them have had their college semester strangely interrupted. We are interested in ways that we can be supportive of all our young people, through online presence and snail-mail gifts.
2. Many of us are counted among the most vulnerable populations facing the coronavirus outbreak. Age and underlying health conditions being to the most risk-advancing categories. We’re exploring ways, through our NPC elder phone calls and connections, ways that we can be of service either picking up groceries or making garbage runs for those who cannot safely get out. Please let us know if we can add your name to the list…
In the meantime, I want to encourage you to be in prayer for our church, our community, our local, state, and federal healthcare officials, all those who are sick and those who are caring for the sick. This is certainly the time to live out of the great hope we have in Jesus our Lord, rather than the fear that shapes much of our societal moment.
So care for your family, staying home when you are able, and being conscious about washing hands and basic hygiene. Care for your neighbors, even if that means following a very basic rule of doing no harm by risking their exposure. And care for your church family! If you have need of basic supplies like food or medicine or toiletries, and are unable to make it out to get them, please let us know!
With Faith, Hope, and Love,
Michael and the NPC Session, Holy Week 2020