Covenant Presbyterian Church – Athens, GA

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For Such a Time as This…

The gospel call to “be not afraid” is surely being tested as we face the coronavirus crisis. How do we continue to gather as God’s people and serve our neighbors with compassion and hospitality, while also respecting everyone’s health and safety? The session met via ZOOM to discuss reasonable practices and responses that we will be undertaking in the days ahead.

In the meantime, here are some important things to know:

Beginning Sunday, March 15th, we are suspending our corporate gatherings for worship, Sunday school, ministry team meetings, and Covenant Connection indefinitely. In addition, community groups using our facilities have been encouraged to find virtual ways of convening while our facilities are closed. While this feels counter-intuitive to our gospel DNA, this seems like the best way we can love one another and our larger community at a time when public gatherings need to be drastically limited.

We continue to work on a virtual option for worship, and beginning March 15, you will be able to access a “trimmed” worship service through You Tube on Covenant Channel CPC 2020. I’m aware that this will not make worship accessible for everyone, but I hope it will be one way for us to stay connected and rooted in God’s love. Please be patient as we navigate this challenging time.

In addition to virtual worship services, we are investigating different ways of holding virtual Sunday school, midweek Bible studies, and PW Bible studies, as well as meetings. We understand that the use of such platforms as ZOOM will be challenging for some, but please feel free to contact the church office and Karen will be able to put you in contact with someone familiar with the ins and outs of this technology.

Second, Rindy, Karen, and I plan to continue coming into the office during the week, and I am happy to report that Karen is now able to work at home because of upgrades to her computer. We will find ways to be in touch with you and offer pastoral care — even if the best option is by phone. Please do not hesitate to call if you have a particular need or simply need to talk. We are coordinating with congregational care to look for ways that we might help those who prefer not to venture out to get groceries and needed medications or who simply need a compassionate ear.

Third, it is our deep desire to continue serving our food insecure neighbors through our food pantry. If those of you who have signed on as volunteers with Sign-up Genius feel comfortable continuing in this important ministry, we would be most grateful. However, we also respect anyone’s decision to take a step back. As far as FEAST goes, we will discontinue this vital ministry until further notice because of the difficulty in maintaining safe social distancing practices. We will keep you updated on our other ministries such as Family Promise and Our Daily Bread.

These are challenging times, no doubt. But God’s people have found their way through the wilderness before, and our Creator promises to remain with us even now. Let’s lean into these difficult days with faith, hope, and love, trusting that we are being held in God’s grace even when we cannot literally embrace one another.

Grace and peace,
Mark