March 17, 2020–announcing Rebecca Irelan
I have attached the letter read on Sunday to the congregation announcing that Rebecca Irelan will be the new pastor of Eureka First UMC effective July 1, 2020. I am delighted with this news and feel assured that you will be in excellent hands with Pastor Rebecca. You will receive a copy of this letter in the mail later this week as well as a letter from me telling about our church’s response to COVID-19.
In the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament we read these words, “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 11:24-25) These words came to mind this morning as I considered how we are to be the church in the midst of being told by Public Health that all persons over 65 need to “social distance” in their homes, and that no groups of 10 or more persons should gather in the same location. The church is not the church without people coming together in various ways as the body of Christ, and so I’ve been struggling with how we are to continue to be the church when we cannot physically be together. It makes me sad that in the interest of the health of all we need to curtail the gathering of folks together until the emergency is past.
Later this week you will receive a letter in the mail explaining ways we are addressing this situation, but I wanted you to know now that Worship on this Sunday, March 22, will not include a congregation in our sanctuary, but we will provide a livestream beginning at 9:30 AM on the church Facebook Page. We will also try to record it for viewing in other formats. We will also be sending out via email, ideas for worship at home for this Sunday and each Sunday that we need to not have a congregation gather. In addition we will make that resource available in print through the mail to those who would prefer it not via email. There will be no study groups this week, nor bell choir practice, but by next week I hope to offer our study of The Screwtape Letters via online Zoom meeting to those who have internet access. It is also my intention to communicate regularly my thoughts during this crisis through email, and regular mail for those without email access. We have set up a committee of folks to contact everyone in the congregation by phone in regards to what is happening at the church and to check on the welfare of each of you.
We cannot follow the guidelines in Hebrews 11 to “meet together” in person, but we can “provoke one another to love and good deeds,” and continue “encouraging one another,” through prayer, phone calls, emails and handwritten notes. Please reach out to one another and do not hesitate to contact Gary in the office (707) 442-3015 Monday through Thursday 9-noon, or me at any time (707) 599-2295.
Rebecca Irelan to Eureka