Due to social distancing measures put in place by our Michigan and federal governments, many churches are shifting to at-home worship, including our own. In this way, members’ health is maintained and civic duty fulfilled, while Christian worship endures. Times like this can be difficult for people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and so even though we are suspending in-person worship for safety reasons, we want to maintain worship in our homes and hearts in order to keep our faith alive, our hopes up, our community strong, and our hearts and minds engaged in God’s word.
Because we cannot meet in-person to share worship, we are sending worship out to you! We encourage you to use the at-home worship packet attached below to host worship over the phone with a friend or with those who live with you. Our goal is that, even though we cannot meet physically, by sharing in the same worship activities at the same time, we remain connected spiritually. These things may seem strange at first. But since we do not know how long we will have to suspend in-person events, we believe sharing worship in an unusual way is better than not sharing worship at all. Consider also the very first Christians, who lived long before true church buildings were built. Worship at home was all they knew. So in a way, this crisis gives us the chance to return to our ancient Christian roots of house churches. Regardless, worship continues!
Our Sunday worship guides in the packet feature a short Bible study and guided prayer, with scripture as their main focus. While you are welcome to ask more questions about the main scripture and do prayers beyond what we provide, we encourage everyone to at least share in the same baseline together so we can maintain a sense of churchwide unity on Sundays. Our Tuesday worship guides are for use during a midweek meal of your choice and feature an “agape meal,” an ancient ritual that eventually became communion as we know it today. Anyone can share such sacred meals celebrating God’s love, and we hope this preserves our sacred connections to each other and the Lord, even if we cannot share communion in-person. On Thursdays our church will be hosting a brief devotional via automated phone call, though if you do not wish to receive such calls you can unsubscribe. Finally, for those who miss the sights and sounds of in-person worship services, we encourage you on Sundays at 10:25am to visit 1st Presbyterian Church of Saginaw's livestream on YouTube (no account is needed to view it). Each Sunday, their pastor and organist meet in an empty sanctuary to broadcast worship via Facebook, complete with music. We hope that by tuning in as a church together to the same worship broadcast, our own congregation similarly feels united in worship.
If you are looking for ways to safely stay connected or involved beyond worship, there are a few other options. You can donate online here on our website by clicking “Give” in the upper right corner. Or you can mail in a giving envelope as normal or slide one under the secretary’s door. Our soup kitchen and food pantry are continuing under additional safety precautions, as hunger does not take time off. We are shifting to a takeout-style approach for these programs so people can get food while still avoiding infection, but volunteers and donations are still appreciated. And of course, we should continuing calling each other via phone or webcam over the coming weeks in order to maintain our church community and friendships despite the distance. If you need a church directory, please email Pastor Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org to have one mailed to you or to receive instructions on how to access our smartphone app directory.
While these changes may be difficult at first, we are trying to find the best answer possible to a bad situation. Our goal is to maintain continuity in our worship and community, even as we also try to maintain social distancing for the health of our members and well-being of our city. If you have any questions or concerns, as always feel free to call our church office at 810-664-8565 or email Pastor Alex at email@example.com.