Please read the latest news about First Church closures from Pastor Nanette and Moderator Larry.
We are writing with an important update about First Church activities.
Yesterday, March 12, Governor Mike DeWine announced that he has ordered all schools (kindergarten through 12th grade) to close beginning on Monday, March 16, lasting through Friday, April 3. In addition, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH signed an order to prohibit mass gatherings in the state of Ohio. Defined as an event “that brings together one hundred (100) or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time,” the ban order “does not apply to and/or excludes religious gatherings.”
We believe First Church and our worship services are an essential place of affirmation and healing for our community especially at times of heightened fear such as this and the wellbeing of our members and the community is of paramount importance to us. Therefore, effective this Saturday, March 14, we will be suspending all non-essential meetings and activities until further notice. Essential meetings and ministries are explained below.
As before, we encourage you to join us in following common-sense practices.
- If you are sick or have been advised by a doctor or health official to self-quarantine, please stick to it for as long as recommended.
- Keep a safe distance from others (six feet is the recommended distance), and be mindful that many people are immunocompromised.
- A smile, a deep nod, a hand across your own heart, or a word of encouragement are safer ways to show compassion and support right now.
- Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, long enough to pray the Lord’s Prayer or maybe sing through a verse of a favorite hymn.
For more tips and information about the coronavirus, please visit the Center for Disease Control.
Sunday and Wednesday Worship…
Until directed otherwise by public officials, we will still hold worship services for those who wish to attend on Sundays at 9:30am in the Upper Room, 11am in the Meetinghouse, and on Wednesdays in Lent at 7pm in the Chapel. We are planning to stream these services making them available in real time on both our website and Facebook.
All other Sunday morning and Wednesday programming is postponed. This includes our choirs, Chancel and Handbell, who will not meet or formally participate in worship, coffee hour, and our Church School. Childcare for infants and toddlers will continue to be available on Sunday mornings. Pastor Nanette Pitt, Associate Minister Antigoné Lowery, Julie Lehman, Dave Aberth, our Soloists and Instrumentalists, and support staff will be on hand to create a meaningful experience and to share a message of hope and faith with you whether in-person or virtually.
Our food justice ministries are one of our core callings and meet an essential need in the community especially at times like this.
- The Peanut Butter and Jelly Ministry is here today to pack as much food as possible to distribute to the families of Mason CLC ahead of the children’s extended school break.
- We hope to continue to operate our Feeding Hope Food Pantry on Tuesday mornings each week and on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evening. If you are available to volunteer during this time in particular, please email email@example.com.
- Through our partnership with the Love Truck, we serve meals each month to the homeless. On March 28 and for the foreseeable future we plan for volunteers to prepare those meals here in the church kitchen but to then box the meals and serve them takeout-style as opposed to the usual dine-in method. If you are interested in supporting this ministry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our staff and church are committed to supporting the recovery community
that meets in our building each week. Therefore, at this time, we will
continue to host AA groups on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at noon
provided the group coordinators continue to convene the meetings.
Our partnership with United Disability Services BraVo! program has quickly become another core ministry partnership and so we will continue to welcome the volunteers in each day and are deeply appreciative of their continued assistance in helping us with additional sanitizing and cleaning.
All Other Group and Ministry Activities or Meetings…
We will work with our various Board Chairpersons and Ministry Team
facilitators to arrange for essential meetings to occur via Zoom. Please
expect to receive individual notifications regarding those meetings.
We are postponing all other meetings, groups, and ministry activities both on and off-site until further notice. This includes but is not limited to Time with Tots, Church Chats, Men’s Lunch Bunch, Women’s Spiritual Journey, Prayer Blankets, Bible Studies, Wednesday Night at the Movies, and Wednesday Community Meals.
Those in Need or Who Want to Help…
We will be working with our Care Team to check in on homebound members and offer support to members in need. Pastoral care is available in many different capacities and we encourage you to be in touch with Associate Minister Antigoné (email@example.com or 330.253.5109 x101) or Pastor Nanette (firstname.lastname@example.org or 330.253.5109 x100) if you have a particular need or would like to assist in providing care to others.
Church Office Remains Open…
Until directed otherwise, the church offices will remain open regular hours: Monday-Friday 9am-2pm and Sunday 9am-1pm.
Keeping Our Hearts Lifted…
As we all seek to remain focused on the goodness of God amid the difficulties, we share these words from the 15th century Friar Giovanni Giocondo:
There is nothing I can give you which you have not.
But there is much, very much, that,
while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts
find rest in it today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden
in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.
And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Rev. Nanette Pitt, Senior Minister, and Larry Becker, Moderator