Worship at 10am Sunday Morning
At Grove City YMCA | 543 E Main Street

News & Events

Christ Pres COVID-19 Update

Dear Church Family,

     With all of the cancellations happening all around us, I know many of you have been wondering how the church is planning to respond to the recommendations from Governor Wolf and the CDC that religious groups “exercise discernment” with regard to gathering for worship.  The elders and I have been paying attention to the different recommendations, as well as the facts that we know at this point about the risks involved in gathering together, and we have measured them prayerfully alongside the words of Scripture in coming to our decision at this time.  As is the case with every other institution, we will continue to monitor the situation and to provide updates as necessary at www.christgrovecity.org, as well as on the church’s facebook and twitter accounts.
     At this time, Christ Presbyterian Church is NOT cancelling Sunday worship, but we ARE changing the way we do some things in order to protect our church family, as well as our neighbors, against the spread of this virus.  Please see below for a few of the factors that played into our decision, as well as what concrete steps we are taking to protect everyone, and what you can be doing as well.
A Few Things to Remember
     First and foremost, we acknowledge that we serve a BIG and sovereign God, whose plans will not be thwarted by a virus or by anything else.  This pandemic is not outside of His power, nor is He surprised by it.  He does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control, a Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” (2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15)  So we trust in Him and pray for His protection, not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors.
     As many have already noted, this new virus does not tend to be any more threatening than the flu for otherwise healthy children and young adults, and by God’s grace, we have many in our congregation who fit that description.  However, it has also been noted to be especially hard on, and even deadly for, the elderly and those with other health conditions or compromised immune systems.  The Lord Jesus reminds us that one of the greatest commandments that God has for us in all of Scripture is to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-40).  For that reason, even those of us who are at less risk for complications if we do contract the virus are compelled by love to do what is within our power to slow the spread of the virus for the sake of those within our midst who are at greater risk, as well as for the sake of our neighbors, families, and loved ones.  We all know people who would have a much harder time if they got sick, so for their sake, we need to take every reasonable precaution.  
     We also know that the regular gathering of God’s people for worship is important.  It is the regular means He uses for our growth in faith and for the furthering of His mission on this earth.  If it weren’t important, we wouldn’t work so hard to do it every week.  What we want to do is strike a balance between prioritizing the importance of worship and not falling prey to fear, while also wisely and lovingly caring for our neighbors in this time.
What the Church Is Doing Differently
     Current scientific models show that the more we can do early on in this pandemic, the better the overall outcome is likely to be.  To that end, our worship service tomorrow will look a little different than it usually does.  
  • We will be setting the chairs farther apart, as per recommendations from the CDC to maintain “social distancing” in public spaces.  (Kudos to the Harmon family for being our earliest and most enthusiastic “social distancers,” though I believe the recommendation was 6 feet, not 6 time zones.)
  • We will be thoroughly sanitizing all of the chairs, nursery equipment, toys, etc. before the service starts.
  • We will provide hand sanitizer at the refreshment table before and after the service.
  • We will change the way we do communion for the time being.  Instead of passing around trays for everyone to touch, we will have everyone come to the front to receive the elements.  We will still plan to retain the elements and eat together as a symbol of our unity in Christ.
  • We will also not be passing around the offering bags for the time being.  During the sermon response song, there will be someone in the back of the gym, by the sound table, holding an offering bag into which you can deposit your gift.  We also continue to offer online giving at www.christgrovecity.org, if you would prefer to maintain your contributions in that way.
     All of these measures are temporary and designed for the maximum continuity of the unity we enjoy in worshiping our Lord together, while seeking the minimum opportunity for the spread of microscopic pathogens.  
What You Can Do
     First and foremost, you can pray.  As already mentioned, our God is greater than any pandemic or any wave of fear that surrounds it.  Pray for safety for those most at risk.  Pray for wisdom for those making decisions on behalf of others.  Pray that the church would continue to shine the light of the gospel in a dark world and that the message of Jesus’ love for the nations would not be “quarantined.”  Pray that we would love each other and our neighbors well.  Pray that we and those around us would seek the Lord in times of uncertainty, and that He would reveal Himself to those who earnestly seek Him, as He has promised to do.
     Second, if you are able to come early tomorrow to help in the task of sterilizing everything, that would be appreciated.  We will provide sprays, wipes, etc., for the task at hand, if a few of you can provide hands and feet.  You are also welcome to bring your own sterilizing materials to help.
     Finally, if you are sick, even if it is just a cold, we would ask that for the sake of others, you stay home tomorrow.  It is true that corporate worship is important, and your commitment as a church to the gathering of God’s people is greatly encouraging.  But in a time like this, when spreading extra pathogens can be extra harmful to some, it is a means of living out the second-greatest commandment to keep yourself from others as much as possible if you think you might be sick.
     Likewise, if you are someone in the higher-risk population, or if you are in regular contact with someone in the higher-risk population, we completely understand that the wisest decision for you is likely to be for you to stay home.  Though nothing can replace the corporate worship of God’s people, we do have a large archive of old sermons at www.christgrovecity.org, and would encourage you, if you do need to stay home, to have a time of worship together with your family while your church family worships together tomorrow morning.
     Church family, this is a moment for the church to shine, to show the world that we have faith in a God that can not only heal the sick but raise the dead, and that He is of great importance in our lives.  It’s also a time to live out His commands to love one another deeply and practically.  If you have any questions about these decisions, or about what other ways you can be living out these twin truths, please feel free to contact me.  
In His grace,
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