FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
where all are welcomed and embraced in the inclusive Love of God
Would you like to know more of the background and rationale for the Session’s recent difficult, yet unanimous decision regarding reopening the church for Sunday morning worship? You likely are already aware that on August 25, Session decided to continue to offer recorded, remote Sunday morning worship through the end of the year; while revisiting that decision monthly in hopes we meet the gating criteria sooner that would render in-person worship safe again. This video, written and presented by Pastor Laurie Brubaker Davis, offers a deeper dive into some of the background, rationale, and prayer that led to this decision. We hope you find it helpful.
Pastoral Letter November 20, 2020
I wonder what it’s like to be a nurse or a doctor in the midst of a pandemic. I wonder what it’s like to be Davante Adams waiting medical clearance to play on Sunday against the Colts. I wonder what it’s like to be a parent struggling with childcare and homeschooling amidst the pandemic. I wonder what it’s like to be an educator managing in person and virtual school. I wonder what it’s like to have COVID. Or to be quarantined because you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. I wonder when we will turn the corner on this deadly pandemic. News of potentially viable vaccines offer hope in 2021.
But right now, we have so many questions. So many struggles in our families, church family, community, and nation. We are all living under this collective cloud of increasing COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Even if we have been spared from a direct brush virus, all of us are indirectly affected. On the immediate horizon we wonder about the Thanksgiving holiday next week. Some of us are still figuring the plan that makes sense for us. Traditionally the Thanksgiving weekend is most highly traveled in the whole year. Not in 2021. Many of us will be alone on Thanksgiving.
As we face these real and difficult struggles, our church family connections are more important than ever. Here at First Presbyterian Church of Marshfield, we strive to be a safe place, where people are accepted, included and cared for as they are. Right now, that means not meeting together, for worship, community service, study or for fun. That’s hard! We are striving to increase alternative ways of caring for one another. Perhaps you received a treat bag this week at your door from one of our Deacons.
We want to hear how you are doing in the midst of this pandemic? Are you feeling connected and cared for? If not, how could we do better? The Creating Connections Team welcomes your response to questions such as these and is hopeful that you will take about six minutes to complete a brief survey so we can better understand how we are doing and where we might be able to do a little better. To access the survey, click here.
On Sunday, we will conclude our three-week series on Matthew 25 with my sermon titled “Kin-dom Power.” In this passage, Christ calls all who are hurting, bound, hungry or homeless his family and invites us to do the same. There is no wonder here. Jesus is telling us: We are all God’s children. Let us listen to and love one another with the compassion that leads us into the light and the love of Christ. One conversation, one survey, one gesture of recognition at a time. There you are Christ. Together we are made whole.
Join us this Sunday Morning!
- Sunday School for grades 3-5: Watch for the Zoom link from Carmen Lawler. Please have your student have his/her materials ready to go.
- Worship by virtual platform. This week we will conclude our three-week stewardship series on Matthew 25. My sermon this Sunday is titled “Kin-dom Power.”
- Sunday morning Joys and Concern Prayers at 10:30 by Zoom led by Pastor Laurie. The link and/or phone number and code can be obtained at our church office or from any member of the FPC community. Refer to the Thursday Eblast for Zoom link.
Will you Help us? The Creating Connections Team has created a quick whole church survey that we would love to get everyone’s responses to. We will use what we learn to make informed decisions about how to keep and improve our connectedness while the pandemic continues to call for us to refrain from in-person worship and activities. Please follow the link and help us out. Thank you! Click here to complete the survey!
FPC SOCIAL HOUR: Sunday, November 29, 2020 @ 6:00 pm then settle in for the Packer game at 7:20! We will gather just after the Thanksgiving holiday, so let’s take the opportunity to connect with friends near and far. Feel free to pop in for a moment or to stay the whole time, latecomers especially welcome!
We will extend invitations to members and friends who live far away to join us, to remind us of the wonderful connections we can maintain over this virtual format. This could be a great opportunity to catch up!
If you have ideas of people to invite for this special fellowship time please let the church office know or invite them by sharing the Zoom link.
Update from The Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes, General Presbyter of our Winnebago Presbytery, regarding in-person worship in light of the most recent COVID data: As you all know, Wisconsin is one of the hotspots for new Covid-19 infections. Our hospitals are nearing capacity, we have uncontrolled community spread with a 7 day average positivity rate of 27% and no coordinated plan to slow infections down.
The Wisconsin Department of Health and the Governor’s office have both asked communities of faith to cease in person worship.
The vast majority of our congregations are not meeting in person right now. I am aware of five or six congregations that have some in person gathering on Sunday morning. The remaining congregations are either meeting digitally for worship or staying connected in some other way.
Gathering in person is not advisable and congregations should be making plans for no in person gathering for the foreseeable future.
When will it be safe to meet again?
There is not yet consensus on the answer to this question, however there are two metrics that are emerging as places to start the conversation.
One metric to consider is a positivity rate of less than 5% (to determine the rate divide positive tests by by total tests on any given day). Most of the state of WI is seeing positivity rates in the high 20s. You can find the state positivity rate at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/data.htm#summary . Some counties provide this information, if yours does not, you can simply divide new cases by total tests for a day to get the rate.
The World Health Organizations recommends that the positivity rate should be 5% or lower for 14 days or longer before opening organizations up again.
Another metric is new cases per 100,000. This data is easier to find and can be found for every county at this Department of Health Services website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/disease.htm
Hover over your county on the map to see cases/100,000.
Wisconsin considers the new case rate low if it is 10 or below
The Wisconsin Council of Churches has put together a Covid toolkit (new as of 10/20/20)
These documents include some grounding principles and best practices for:
Preventing and Slowing the Spread of COVID-19
Communicating about COVID-19 Exposures and Outbreaks
What to do when you’ve found out someone in your faith community is COVID-positive
A model letter for communicating to those who may have been exposed
Keep washing your hands thoroughly! Here is way to turn that time into prayer time:
Hand Washing 20 second Prayers & Meditations for Soul Cleansing
Why not multi-task during our multiple hand-washings each day? Getting a little tired of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, or Counting to 20? How about this: Let those 20 seconds become a chance for a little Soul Cleansing, too.
Click this link for three different ones to get us going! Add yours to the mix as you think of them.
Did you miss the most recent Forum For All featuring Jodi Chojnacki?
Don’t worry, you can still zoom in
and watch the recording.
Click here for the link.
Passcode is: 2Ei$Xh@w
The food pantry of SOS (Soup or Socks) remains open during the pandemic.
To obtain food or to volunteer to help,
call SOS directly: 715-387-1796.
Parish Nurse Karen
First Presbyterian Church, Marshfield, Wisconsin seeks to welcome all to join us on our journey of faith, denying no one, based upon his or her particular human condition, participation in the life of the church. We want to be a safe place, a sanctuary where people are accepted, included, and cared for as they are. We will be agents of God’s transforming power, aligning ourselves with the Holy Spirit as we pray, worship, learn, share fellowship and serve together. By attending to the love of Jesus Christ in our midst, we discover a deepening faith that makes a difference in our lives. As a community based on God’s love, we strive to be of service to our neighbors and to the world.