Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis
Dear RMPC family,
Hear the words of the Lord through his servant David in Psalm 18:1–3: I love you, O LORD, my strength.
 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies. (ESV)
The Lord is our refuge and strength. We can depend upon him in every situation, we can cry out to him and know his salvation from every enemy. As we continue walking through the dark valley of the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to trust his sovereignty and his love. And we know that in the midst of this crisis he is providing special ways for us to love Him and to love each other.
The Session and Deacons met last night to consider how to best honor God, care for our flock and make the most of the opportunities God is giving us in these unprecedented days. We are inviting you into greater steps of faith and fellowship through uncommon means as we take steps to help slow the spread of the coronavirus through physical distancing.
We are taking greater steps to encourage fellowship and care as we also take greater steps of creating space in our lives. Here are our suggestions for maintaining fellowship and care at this time:
1) We must increase our connection with each other by phone. Call each other! Ask how you're doing and share your needs. Catch up on the kids and grandkids and what is going on at work. Share a Scripture passage that you are memorizing or that has become particularly meaningful to you. Pray with each other over the phone. As leaders in the church, we will set the pace. Everyone in our church will receive a phone call from their elder or deacon or both this week.
2) Connect over social media. Each of us has either struggled with regulating the use of social media or rejecting the use of social media. We are asking you to redeem the use of social media for God has provided the means for us to connect through these social media platforms. Use them and be ready to use them more as the church uses them to communicate with you.
3) Attend virtual worship and studies. We are going to provide opportunities for you to gather with the saints in worship and bible study so that you remain connected to God and each other at a time when we need Him and each other most.
Because of the need for physical distancing we will also take these steps:
1) As of today, Wednesday, March 18, we will suspend all gatherings at the church through April 5. This includes worship services, Sunday school, Bible studies, choir rehearsal, prayer groups, and all other gatherings regardless of size. We invite you to attend worship services and other gatherings that we can host virtually.
For those events we are able to host virtually, we will provide instructions for how you can do this. We will make every effort to make as many events and gatherings available virtually and to make attending them simple.
For Sunday morning worship, we will live stream the service on Facebook Live. It is very simple to attend the live stream on Facebook Live. Go to our website, rinconpres.org, and click on the red banner where it says, "Click to Watch". We will start the Live Stream at 10:20 a.m. and you can join at any time.
2) We may be able to host Sunday school classes virtually as well and will get back to you if we are able to do that and how you can participate.
3) Please continue to give financially to the work of the church. If you're still receiving a paycheck, that is God's grace to you. Continue to tithe to the church. If you're not receiving a paycheck, you have nothing to tithe. If you find yourself in financial hardship because your employment has changed, contact the Deacons. The Session and Deacons agreed that as needs increase, additional funds beyond our Deacon's fund will be used in order to give needed aide at this time. Do not hesitate to call them. They are ready to help you, not only financially but with other needs as well. The number for the Deacon of the Month is 488-8632. Requests for help from outside our congregation will continue to be given consideration but the Deacon's primary focus at this time is the wellbeing of the congregation.
4) The Office will remain open during regular business hours (9:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Friday) so that you can communicate with the church staff. Leah Kline, our Office Manager, will be here to answer your calls or respond to your emails. All other staff will remain at home except for necessary business at the church office.
5) LIFE groups and other informal gatherings may take place as the group or leader directs. We are encouraging minimal contact and minimal interactions for the next couple of weeks.
As we make these changes and endure this current hardship know that God is greater and bigger and mightier than any problem we have no matter its name or its origin. He is worthy of our praise! Trust him. Talk to him. Talk to your friends about him.
Pastor Phil on behalf of the Session
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