To the First Parish Church Community…

I want to provide you with an update on where things stand regarding our efforts in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • As announced before, our Worship will once again take place online this Sunday. The procedure for how to join in the live-streamed version at 10am, or view it after the fact will be sent by Nancy Klebart in a separate email, including an electronic “bulletin”. Joining me in leading this Sunday’s Worship time will be Herman Weiss, Rebecca Shrimpton and Paul Knox. Richard Smith, Cindy Boyea and Nancy Klebart will once again handle the tech arrangements.

You are welcome to send joys and concerns for Sunday directly to me by email (mark.fpchurch@gmail.com) or text (908-477-5426) anytime between now and Sunday at 9 am. As these Worship celebrations will likely be at least glanced at by others outside our membership (We have had about 200 online views of last Sunday’s), for reasons of confidentiality, I will be expressing those joys and concerns on camera in “general” terms, leaving out specific names. However, the Deacons and Care Team will be made aware of those specifics.

  • Beginning next week, our Tuesday night class, “The Walk” (7-8:15pm approx.), Wednesday night “Prayer and Meditation” (7-7:40pm approx.), and Thursday afternoon Bible Study (4-5:15pm approx.) will also be held online. The procedure for how to join in will be sent by Nancy Klebart the day of each event. We will also be submitting a letter to the Cricket inviting the public to join in on these gatherings.
  • As for how long we will continue holding Worship, classes and meetings online, you will receive another update on that by the middle of next week after I have conferred with lay leaders and the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, and we see what the expectations of our federal, state and local governments are at that point.

However, please know that I fully anticipate that we will need to continue this way for a few more weeks, with great hope that it will be sooner. This means that Holy Week and Easter will be quite different than what we are used to. I have already begun getting input and formulating a plan for what we will do in that event, and will pass that on to you by the end of next week. What I can tell you for certain is that it has already been determined that the ecumenical Good Friday commemoration, as well as the annual “Sunrise” Easter celebration at Singing Beach will not be held this year.

  • The Deacons, Care Team and I are set to start the “Check In” plan I referred to at the end of last week. Everyone in our directory will be kept in touch with on a regular basis throughout this time so that whatever physical, emotional and spiritual needs that arise can be addressed, and as another way for us to maintain a sense of community while we have limited in person contact with each other.
  • In response to an interest expressed by some of you, we have reached out to several area colleges to let them know that we would be willing to provide a temporary home in individual houses for students required to leave campus but who have nowhere they can easily return to, or the means to get there. If you would like to add your name to the list of potential “host homes”, please let me or Nancy Klebart know.
  • At the suggestion of the Deacons, in light of the very real possibility that we will not be in the Sanctuary for Easter, we ask you to consider using the money that you might have put toward Easter Lillies to make a donation to The Open Door’s “Virtual Food Drive”. You can find that at theopennetworkforgood.com

Also in regard to The Open Door, they are still accepting a limited number of volunteers for their curbside service. Please contact them if you are interested.

Again, I thank you for your patience, understanding and support as we continue to do what needs to be done for the good of our spiritual community and all God’s people.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you any questions, concerns, or needs.

Blessings,

Mark

Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea

Minister, First Parish Church