As sporting events are cancelled, restaurants close, and schools close their doors, our sense of normalcy is disrupted to say the least. But even in these times, some things remain constant. God’s love for you is an incredible gift that will never be taken away. God’s grace is abundant and free, and it will never revoked or cancelled. God’s Church remains strong and united, even if the way we are drawn together is changing in this season.
 
Until the public health situation changes and our county Health Department lifts its restrictions on large gatherings, worship will be online-only. This means we will not meet in person on Sunday morning. Instead, worship will be offered on YouTube on Sunday morning or anytime you are able to view the video. To participate in worship through this platform, you only need a link to the video. You do not need a YouTube account, though YouTube will ask if you have one and encourage you to sign up for one. Still, all you need for worship is a link to the video.
 
This is the church’s YouTube page. The worship video will be posted here on Sunday morning by 8:30: https://parkvillepresby.org/watch
 
Most other in-person events at the church are cancelled or postponed until further notice. 
 
Community groups that meet in the church have all decided to cancel or reschedule events until at least April 6th. For PPC itself, we have already cancelled the Easter Egg Hunt (scheduled for April 11th) at the urging of our host site, Park University. As a fundraiser for local missions, we were planning to participate in the Riss Lake neighborhood garage sale (scheduled for April 17th-18th), but Riss Lake has postponed its sale until September.
 
As a church, we will make further decisions about other events in April and May at our next board meeting.
 
In the meantime, our SPEAC Food Pantry remains open and is serving an increased number of clients. As other pantries close in response to concerns over the pandemic, we are open, providing a vital service to a community in need.
 
We have also volunteered to be a drop-off site for a civic effort to collect surplus medical supplies and cleaning supplies for local hospitals.
 
We continue to serve others in mission, and when it comes to fellowship, we are looking for new ways to gather, moving to online spaces where we can still provide love and belonging in this time of social distancing. Until we are able to worship in person again, Pastor Steve will offer prayer gatherings through Facebook Live on the church’s Facebook page on Friday mornings at 6am, Sunday mornings at 10am, and Wednesday afternoons at 12pm. You can access these gatherings at www.facebook.com/parkvillepresby. A Facebook account is required for participation.
 
We will also gather people on Tuesday evenings at 6pm for Bible Study. The Bible Study will be offered through Zoom, and here is the link to participate: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/538765028
 
In this season, we know that many of our members will not be able or will not be comfortable with the transition to online gatherings. For those members, we plan to be in touch at least once a week to offer love and support.
 
We are also offering to run personal errands for anyone who may be unable to leave the house during this time. If concerns over the coronavirus are keeping you inside, but you need help with groceries or filling a prescription, call the church office at 816-741-1641, or call me at 816-351-4993. We have a growing number of volunteers willing to assist with personal needs, eager to offer their time and energy to friends and neighbors.
 
How else can you help? Many of us are feeling isolated and helpless in this strange and uncertain season, but there are ways for you to step forward and make a difference.
 
– If you can, consider giving blood to the Community Blood Center and ask them to credit your gift to the PPC Blood Drive on May 3rd. Blood is sorely needed at this time and if you can help, your donation will be put to good use.
 
– We also encourage financial contributions to PPC’s Community Assistance fund. While our community reels from closures and job losses, this fund is our best means of supporting those with emergency financial needs. To give to Community Assistance, simply mail a check to the church and designate ‘Community Assistance’ in the memo line.
 
– Please maintain your financial support of PPC’s general ministries. During this time, we are committed to remaining as open as we can and serving our community with all the energy we can muster. You can support our ongoing work by mailing a check to the church; setting up a recurring donation through automatic bill-pay with your bank; or giving through the online tool at the bottom of this page.
 
Friends, we don’t yet know how all this will play out. If everyone–including you, you who are healthy and vital and show no signs of illness, you who are the most likely to get exposed to the virus and spread it to others because you believe a lack of symptoms make you immune to the rules–if everyone stays inside as much as possible, washes their hands frequently and with care, and finds the joy in this strange new reality, all this could be over in a matter of weeks. But it might take longer for life to return to normal. We simply don’t know.
 
Here’s what we do know: our God is great and good, loving and kind, and always present. Even when we are lonely and afraid–indeed, especially when we are lonely and afraid–God is close and will guide us through. In the meantime, the church will remain as open as it can be, serving as many people as we can with all the energy we can muster.
 
In this brave new world, we may find new ways to be a vital resource to our community, new ways to be present with each other, and new ways to be the church God calls us to be.
 
In this time of public concern and anxiety, we pray for peace, comfort, and healing for all. If you have additional questions or concerns, please e-mail Pastor Steve at stevenandrews@parkvillepresby.org.