March 18, 2020 | News by Rev. Matthew Ruffner
Dear Preston Hollow Family,
It has been one week since the CDC recommended we work from home and quarantine ourselves as much as possible. It has been one week since we closed the church office to the public, and already I cannot wait for the doors to be opened wide again. Unfortunately, I know we’re not there yet; so until that joyful day, we are writing to provide an update on our church safety and practices.
In these strange and shifting days, I want to remind us that the core of who we are as people and a community doesn’t change. We are a people and a community who trust that all belong to God, and seek to live like we belong to one another. We believe that God hovers close to us in this season of our lives. While our core conviction in these days does not change, how we go about living this out must change.
As a community, we believe every life is sacred and holy. Therefore, we will continue to practice social distancing to ensure that we can do our part to try and flatten the curve of the Coronavirus.
The Executive Team is following the CDC’s guidelines for gatherings. This means:
- Our church office remains closed to all non-staff. A majority of our staff are now working remotely. There are small numbers of staff in the building to complete special projects, but we expect fewer and fewer will be in the building later in the week.
- We expect the building will be closed to all ministry programming for the next eight weeks, beginning March 15.
While the building may be closed, this does not mean our ministries will be paused. Your staff team has been diligently putting together digital resources for connecting and gathering over the coming weeks. In addition, we will continue to find ways to worship and new ministry content will be made available to you each week.
Based on what we have prepared this week, we expect this rhythm for the next four weeks.
- Sundays: Virtual worship service via livestream or Facebook. You can also listen to last week's sermon here.
- Mondays: Our Lenten study of the Book of Mark continues, with a weekly devotional
- Tuesdays: We'll release a new episode of The Takeaway, a new podcast and blog series from our pastors focused on equipping you with the tools and habits to live faithfully in the world. Listen here or read here!
- Wednesdays: Our school chapel team has put together short videos of virtual worship, perfect for families! Watch here.
- Thursdays: One of our pastors will be live on Facebook at 9 a.m. to offer a prayer or short reflection! If you don't follow our social media, I highly encourage you to start! Follow us on Facebook here, and Instagram here. You can also follow my Instagram page here. We will also send out our normal Thursday email with ministry highlights.
- Fridays: We will publish a new blog from a staff member, or release a podcast episode of our new Young Adult ministry podcast, Something Bigger. Listen to a preview here!
Stay tuned for other educational opportunities, Bible studies, notes from pastors and more! I encourage you to continue our Book of Mark reading plan throughout Lent. You can download the reading guide here! If you'd like to go further, download the study guide here.
We will continually update these resources, and you can find a full list at phpc.org/resources.
We will continue to meet virtually for worship each Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can watch via phpc.org/streaming, or if you'd like to engage with other members during the service, watch via our Facebook page here.
We're also reaching out to you to help us write our weekly Affirmation of Faith. To that end, we would love to hear from you about what you feel hope is! Click here to send us your thoughts!
I have been deeply moved that so many of you have inquired what can we do for those on the margins of our city during this time. I love that we are a community that seeks to care for those inside and outside of our walls! Over the past several days, we have been in touch with our partners throughout the city, and as you can imagine, every organization is grappling with how best serve and also keep the community safe. To that end, our partner organizations have asked for direct funding to ensure they can provide food and housing services. Most organizations are limiting service to their own staffs. You can find a list of organizations that you can support here. We are focused on ensuring people are fed and that housing is ensured during this time.
As we continue to be a community that creates a culture of belonging, I want to encourage you to check in with one another via phone calls, text and emails. Will you reach out to someone you sit next to in worship, or are in Bible study with, or attend men’s breakfast with and see how they are doing? The leadership of the church is committed to staying in touch with all of our members, but as a church body we are also called to care for one another. Should a pastoral concern emerge from one of your conversations please email Mark Brainerd, and our care team will follow up.
My dear friends, we walk these days together in faith. And we do not walk them alone. Much is still unknown, but what we know for sure is that there is no place we can go that is away from the presence and love of God. May we be a people who walk in love and light during these days, so that by the grace of God we reflect that light and love to the world.
Be well, my friends.