Dear First Presbyterian family,
As a session, we have been continuing to monitor the danger from the COVID-19 pandemic, and last night we met online to make decisions for how we will handle our life as a church while this situation remains a concern. As we thought and prayed through the issues, we wanted to make sure that we prioritized physical safety from illness while still providing for both the spiritual and physical needs of those whom we minister to on a regular basis. Our vision of "a heart for the Rancocas Valley" remains central.
On this basis, we will be cancelling or modifying a number of our regular church activities. Significantly, we will be moving worship to remote format that will be made available on our Facebook page and on our church website and the community lunch will move to a "to go" approach with a bag lunch that minimizes risk of exposure. Details on these and other adjustments are in the attached resolutions that were unanimously adopted by session.
Only God knows how long the pandemic will last or what the lasting effects will be in our nation. Session has committed to meet on a weekly basis to adjust our responses as needed based on the rapidly changing situation. We will also be coordinating with the Deacons to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are cared for. Going forward, we will communicate frequently and through multiple channels to make sure everyone is up to date.
Please pray for our congregation and those in our community that are most at risk both from the pandemic itself and the important but disruptive restrictions that have been placed by our government. We encourage everyone to do all that is necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, while also boldly resisting the spirit of fear, understanding our God remains sovereign and cares for each one of his children.
Scott Buchanan on behalf of Session
- FPCMHNJ will not support in-person gathering of any group of 50 or more until the state of emergency is lifted or updated.
- FPCMHNJ personnel will comply with the following preventive measures (in accordance with CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019cov/community/organizations/checklist.html).
- Stay home when sick
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet)
- Additional and frequent cleaning/sanitization of common areas shall be put in place in accordance with CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
- FPCMHNJ will close all non-essential rooms in the church.
- FPCMHNJ will continue to pay all staff and accounts payable.
- FPCMHNJ authorizes the Finance Team Chair, Senior Pastor, and Financial Secretary to coordinate the movement of funding as necessary to satisfy any valid payments required. The Board of Trustees may meet electronically to support any approval required by our by-laws and as may be requested by the Finance Team.
- FPCMHNJ will continue to support both the physical and spiritual needs of our members and neighbors. Keeping Jesus Christ central in our lives remains critical in these difficult times. To that end, FPCMHNJ will:
- Cancel normal Sunday Services (and in-home communion) and transition to an electronic delivery of a weekly scriptural message. Its contents and durations are left to the Senior Pastor. This will begin immediately and continue until cancelled. This will also include remote ministry to the children and teens, overseen by the Director of Next Gen. Ministry.
- Discontinue all normal Sunday services support including Choir, Sunday School, Band, Fellowship time, and greeters.
- Discontinue immediately all on-site meetings and gatherings to include but not limited to:
- i. Boy Scouts
- ii. AA
- iii. AL-anon
- iv. Book Clubs
- v. Team Meetings
- vi. Study Groups
- vii. Small Groups
- FPCMHNJ will continue to operate the Community Lunch, but it must do so within the requirements specified in the NJ Executive Order 104 which covers provision of community services.
- FPCMHNJ will ensure our building remains secure and operational. Specifically, staff will conduct periodic checks to ensure normal conditions continue to exist and take any appropriate action necessary to ensure the building’s safe maintenance.
- FPCMHNJ will provide emergency communication to staff and congregants via:
- f. Email (Elexio)
- g. Phone communication for those without internet/email access through our Deacons
- h. The church website: http://firstpresmtholly.org/
- i. FPC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FirstPresbyterianChurchMountHollyNJ/
- FPCMHNJ will be providing assistance to home-bound congregants or those that have special needs.