September has arrived! Along with many others, I was sure that by fall we would have had this coronavirus under control and life would have begun to pick up the pace of being “normal.” Instead, while we in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states have succeeded in bringing the pandemic under control, we are still struggling with getting the number of cases lower.
As a result of this, parents and teachers are coping with hard decisions on how to meet and where. All of you, teachers, parents, and students, will continue to be in our prayers as cautiously you take the steps to keep students and teachers and support staff safe and yet recognize some of the social needs of the children.
We are faced with the same, hard decisions. Some churches have begun, with strict caveats, to meet in person. Most of the Presbyterian churches I know that are doing this are meeting outside on large properties. We don’t have that luxury. Our situation is that our building does not have good ventilation. That seems to be the most important element necessary for safe(r) indoor gatherings. Many of you have expressed your longing to meet again on Sunday mornings, but your Session has unanimously agreed that until all are safe we won’t be gathering in the sanctuary on a weekly basis. We will do our best to stay connected.
At a nurture committee meeting I attended this past week, questions were raised about what future staffing in the church would look like. I’m not sure that Session has a picture of what that will be. It was good to be reminded that we are often not attentive to the communication that needs to flow between the leadership and the congregation. Especially in this time when you can’t learn information at a coffee hour or in person, we will work harder on being transparent and keeping the congregation informed on future steps. As your interim/transitional pastor, I see improving our communication so that there is good transparency as an important priority.
The nurture committee did make some decisions on how we can meet the needs of our youth and children. Matt Harrison and Mark Pfeiffer stepped up to the plate and will again work on youth gatherings. The plan is to make those gatherings be a twice monthly offering. One of those times will probably involve an outdoor activity so that the youth can meet in person. Masks required! Sally Lockhart has agreed to put together packets for the younger children that will be sent, by snail mail, to those children from age 3-6/7. Stay tuned for more details on all of these early ideas.
In the meantime, we will continue to seek ideas for ways to stay in touch. I will be offering a bible study in September, beginning on the 15th (Tuesday) at 5:30. This will be a three week offering and we will be looking at the women of the bible. I look forward to seeing people in this way. It will again take place on Zoom and I will send the link to all of you who were involved in our August study. If you weren’t attending that study and would like to join this one, please let me know so that I can send you the Zoom link.
The Presbytery continues on its journey on looking at causes of systemic racism. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, our EP, will be leading a group of clergy on a bi-weekly basis as we present case studies and talk about what we as clergy observe in our daily lives in the church. There is always work to be done!
Finally, from 4 October – 8 October, I will be retreating in Narragansett. The denomination, through the Board of Pensions, offers a program called CREDO to mid-career clergy. Usually, this program takes place in one venue where all those invited go for a week. Time is spent in exploring financial concerns, ecclesial concerns and personal issues. However, with this pandemic still raging, the gathering will take place via Zoom and each of us are invited to find a retreat place from which we can attend. I have made reservations at the Aqua Blue Hotel/Conference Center in Narragansett and will be tuning in to the daily sessions from there. I feel blessed to have been invited and doubly blessed that I can do so oceanside.
Peace and grace,
Sunday Worship 9/6 @ 10am via Zoom
Welcome to online worship with PPC!If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans. Please have Communion elements (bread and juice) ready for celebrating the Lord's Supper.
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:
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 our virtual coffee hour.
Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
PPC Book Group 9/12
On Saturday, September 12 at 10:30am we will continue the discussion that’s emerged from Dolly Chugh’s book, The Person You Mean to Be, specifically focusing on what we will DO. How are we being invited to engage practically and actively as builders – both as individuals, and as part of the PPC community? Join us on Zoom:
If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-340-9444 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.
Milton has put together some helpful tips for using Zoom – read them here and here.
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.