Worship Services

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Update: Message Regarding

COVID-19, Coronavirus

 

Season of Lent

March 17, 2020

Dear members and friends of 1UPC,

Grace to you and peace!

As you know, the world continues to grapple with how to respond to the coronavirus. Over the weekend, several events occurred that have required our church’s leadership team to consider how to best keep our community safe—not just our own church community but others too!

Considering recent significant changes (outlined below), First United Presbyterian Church will not have in-person worship services for the balance of the Lenten season, with the hopes of resuming worship in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday, April 12.

Regretfully, all church events and activities have been canceled through March 31.

Federal and Iowa Updates

·       Yesterday (March 16, 2020) the CDC issued new guidance about gatherings of 10 people or more. The CDC recommends no gatherings with 10 people or more take place for the next 15 days to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

·       In Iowa, there have been new cases of COVID-19 reported—at this writing the statewide total is 23 according the IDPH, including one in Polk County and two in Dallas County. It is believed three of Iowa’s cases come with no identified travel-related risk or exposure to a known COVID-19 case, indicating community spread.

·       Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Health, recently recommended all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

·       Finally, just this morning, Gov. Reynolds issued a public health proclamation declaring a disaster emergency. Among other things, the proclamation prohibits mass gatherings at any and all venues—including worship services—of more than 10 or more people.

Although we will not be gathering together physical for a season, we want to ensure that we stay connected in as many ways possible, and in ways that work best for each of you. Yes, we are looking at online options for worship, teaching, prayer, and so forth. But, just as importantly, we will give our attention and energies to the simple 1-to-1 or small group connections—phone calls, texts, and one-to-one email, etc.

We want you to “feel visible” even when you’re not physically present at a church gathering or worship and we will be implementing a variety of ways to ensure this happens. Please feel free to text or call Pastor Randy at any time—507.317.9814—or send a one-on-one email. Please feel free to call each other! We can still speak to each other about our needs and prayers, our hopes and fears, and the ways we are seeing God in our lives—and I believe this is more important now than ever before! Let’s stay connected to each other and to God’s presence in our lives. 

Peace of Christ,

FIRST UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Rev. Randal K. Lubbers
Pastor and Teacher