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Pastoral Ministry at CPC
Ministry in our church includes numerous opportunities for mission work both locally, nationally, and worldwide. Ministry to our own members includes taking flowers and Communion to those who are hospitalized, Christmas caroling at the homes of shut in members, and providing opportunities for fellowship and recreation
May is in full swing and we are well on our way to summer. In years past, CPC has marked this transition in worship and fellowship. The end of year picnic and the celebratory moments in our last “regular” service work together to make for a special day. This year things are different. Instead of a big day in the house of the Lord, we will continue worship from our homes. We will join in a Zoom coffee hour instead of a picnic.
Session met for a specially called meeting via Zoom last Wednesday to make some difficult decisions. Collectively, we decided to host worship and all church wide events online through Labor Day of this year. With the extension of our shelter in place orders through June 5th, it only made sense to continue with digital church through that date, which carries us directly into the summer.
The summer schedule slows down considerably for us. I will also be away on maternity leave (beginning June 8th). Given those realities (plus the fact that we do not yet know when things will actually open up and the considerable challenges associated with re-opening), we made the decision to push through these summer months online.
Preparing for the reopen will be quite an undertaking. We are building a committee made up of 2 elders, 2 trustees, and 2 deacons to manage the reopen. The best advice we have at present is to reopen in three phases. Phase I, II, and III will entail distinct steps we can take in working towards resuming church as we know it.
When we do in fact have a date set when we can reconvene in person, things will be quite different. Social distancing will remain in effect. Pews will be marked off to ensure spacing is respected. Passed items- like bulletins and offering plates- will have to be replaced with contactless delivery mechanisms. Communion will not be served until we can develop a safe and secure way to observe the sacrament. Singing is the most complicated- it requires 20 feet of distance- so we may have to suspend in person hymn sings until we have better protections in place.
These realities are changing the face of church. While my heart breaks along with all of yours that we cannot enter into the sacred space of worship we’ve come to know and love, this is also the hand God has dealt us. Adaptation and adjustment are necessary, particularly since we have a high-risk demographic making up the majority of our church community. Depending on how things go over the summer, we may have to adjust our current projection for a reopen after Labor Day. For now, we will soldier on, and pray- hard- that Phase I will come as promised on Labor Day.
Slowly, but surely, we will work towards a Phase III reopen- a future date when we can settle into something more familiar. As we look forward to worshipping together again, we are also being called to think creatively about how we “do church.” This is an opportunity for us as a community to try some new things. As we have been doing for the past few months now, adapting and creatively adjusting to this new ministry landscape, we’ve done so with the strength of Christ on our side. Now as always, we will continue to be the strong church that is CPC, with God’s help.
Community Presbyterian Church
1459 Deer Path
Mountainside, NJ 07092
Pastor: Rev. Anastassia Cooper
Music Director/Admin. Assistant: Joseph W. Hill, Jr.
Church Office Email: email@example.com
Rev. Anastassia Cooper
Rev. Cooper offers a Lenten devotional on March 25, 2020.