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Dear Friends in Christ,

Here we are in the middle of August! Last spring, we most likely all had hopes that by the fall, we could go back to living the way we did last year. It’s become obvious to most of us that that is not going to happen. As so many have written, perhaps it’s a good thing that we can’t return to “normal.” Now is our chance to re-think the way we do things.

For all of you who have school age children, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. These must be particularly difficult days for you all. How does one make the decision on what to do? If any of you have ideas for how you might like the church to be there for your children, please send in your suggestions. Should we organize Zoom meetings? Would you like packets sent home with activities? Is there someone who might wish to head this up? As we look toward the future, we are going to have to be creative about how we welcome our children and their families.

Our denomination and our presbytery are both strongly suggesting that we not meet at our churches until it is safe for everyone. Churches are listed in the top five places where this virus is spread.

I’m a firstborn and I’ve read that when you are a first born or only, you tend to want to keep tradition going. We might be the ones who resist change the most! However, these days are not the times to be afraid of change. If we truly believe that the church is not the building, how will we live into that calling? What mission activities can we continue in this time of social distancing? One program that has been brought to my attention is the need for poll workers. Could we organize a group from the church?

As we look into the lectionary this week, we read about the Canaanite woman. She argues with Jesus to be more inclusive. She wins the argument! Jesus credits her faith for bringing healing to her daughter. Most mothers I know are women who would fight ceaselessly for the well-being of their children. My heart breaks when I think of the young children who are locked into cages, without their mothers or fathers, and treated like animals. At one point they were not allowed soap or toothbrushes. What trauma this is inflicting on all those caught up in this unconscionable treatment. Is there a way we can support those who are fighting to bring families back together?

I am taking a virtual class being sponsored by the Stony Point Center and the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, led by Rick Ufford-Chase called “Awakening to Structural Racism.” 300 people from across the country have signed up for this class! Dismantling our white privilege and understanding what being White means is a beginning for us. I hope to bring some of my learning back to this church and share some challenging and hopeful materials. This class is Monday nights through August and unfortunately, registration is closed. They did not expect this large a turnout. 

One person made the statement, “I just want to be able to go and get a milkshake without having to think about racism.” Our white privilege is visible here – if we can even think that. Can a BIPOC (Black, indigenous, person of color) ever think that? 

These are the changes that will never allow us to return to “normal.” Once we’re aware of the realities that have been invisible to us, how will we ever be able to return to the old status quo? In so many ways, this pandemic has brought this nation to a place where going back seems impossible. We, as Christians, are called to the future, as we hear “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” May it be so.

There will be a new members class taking place, virtually, of course!, on Tuesday evening, 25 August. We have four people who are interested. If you are someone who might like to attend this class, please let Deb know by text, phone call, or email. The more the merrier!

Our August bible study has ended but I am planning another one for September. Stay tuned for details! There was a good turnout for these sessions and we had some very lively discussions.

Peace and grace,
Pastor Deb
Sunday Worship 8/15 @ 10am via Zoom

Welcome to online worship with PPC! If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans.
  • To join by computer, click here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86465725219
  • One tap mobile: +16465588656,,86465725219#
  • To join by phone: call 646 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 864 6572 5219 (followed by #)
Click here to open/download the worship bulletin and hymns:
Bulletin
 
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue to give online or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906) as you are able. Thank you!

We invite you to stay online after worship for virtual coffee hour :)

The weekly sermons can be found on our website under the "Recordings" tab here. *NEW* – Transcripts are now available in addition to the audio recordings. Older audio sermons are also available here. Thank you, Ruth Kirlew, for posting and continuing to maintain the page!
PPC Book Group 8/22

Join us on Saturday, August 22, from 10:30am-12noon for our continued discussion of The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh. We will focus on the latter half of the book and debrief on our real-time life learning (from a “growth mindset”) since our last discussion.

New Members Class 8/25

Pastor Deb will be leading a new members group via Zoom on Tuesday evening, August 25, for anyone interested in finding out what membership in the PC(USA) looks like and what that means in our church. If you would be interested in attending, please let Deb know by text/phone/email: (585) 703-0987 or revdeb02@gmail.com. The more the merrier!

Continuing opportunities

If you are interested in being a part of a newly forming grief group, e-mail, text or phone Pastor Deb at (585) 703-0987 or revdeb02@gmail.com.

If you’re interested in joining the Wednesday morning prayer gatherings (about 8 am, via zoom) contact Suzanne (401 523-4907), Jill Moles (401 241-9812), or Dan Blackford (401 273-2435).

To participate in Mission and Outreach through PPC please contact session elder Bipen Rai at bipenai@gmail.com or (510) 499-7339.


If you are interested in serving as a worship leader for a particular Sunday or in general, call/text Jill Moles at (401) 241-9812.

If you would like to join a small-group gathering via zoom, contact Murray at murray.blackadar@gmail.com.

If you can help in the church's flower garden please call/text Suzanne at (401) 523-4907.
Resources

If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if accessible, or otherwise contact deacon Milton Liu at mjliu1029@gmail.com or 401-340-5847 (text/voicemail) and he will coordinate care. If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907. 

Click here for some helpful Zoom tips from Milton including phone controls for muting/unmuting, and naming yourself.


Visit our presbytery's website (psne.org) for summer book study info and more. Visit our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) for info about the recently concluded General Assembly, racial justice resources and more.

You may continue to reach the church by phone message (401-861-1136) or email (provpresri@verizon.net), both checked daily. Pastor Deb Packard may be reached at revdeb02@gmail.com.

Submitted by Marianne Harrison, Tech & Communications Committee

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