Sisters and Brothers,

Daily we are supersaturated, through all forms of media, information and misinformation about the coronavirus. Difficult for me are the words and phrases used to describe “how we should behave.”

Self-distancing, no touching, and living under quarantine feels antithetical to the Gospel, our need for communal worship, and what it means to be in the world.  However, it is impressive how determined and creative our pastors and churches are in finding ways to overcome these barriers and be the church of Jesus Christ. 

We are finding new ways of thinking about the distribution of the Sacraments, making congregational decisions, delivering pastoral care, and even “hosting” an installation service!

So many of you are demonstrating adaptive change. Please continue to share your stories with us. Also, be sure to follow updates and stories via the presbytery website and our eNews. 

Cancellation of May’s Stated Meeting

Due of the uncertainty of a definitive duration for this viral threat, in addition to the planning time required, the May 30, 2020, Stated Meeting of Grace Presbytery is now canceled.

Our standing rules allow the presbytery’s Moderator, Lisa Patterson, in consultation with the Stated Clerk and General Presbyter, to make this decision. 

Via USPS mail, a letter and ballot has been sent by the Stated Clerk to every moderator and session containing a motion which would empower our Council to make decisions on behalf of Grace Presbytery, until such time as Grace Presbytery meets again.

Congregational Needs Assessment

Let me briefly share some of the efforts now underway through the work of our committees.

The Committee on Ministry is meeting in regional groups via Zoom this week. The members of these groups will make pastoral phone calls to the session moderators in their region to offer support and gather information. We are also reaching out to ministers who serve in validated ministries.

The Committee on Ministry has authorized their leadership team to act as a commission, thereby assuring that necessary actions and decisions happen in a timely manner. This leadership team will meet via Zoom (or other virtual technology) weekly. Other standing committees will meet according to their regular schedules or as needed.

Specifically, the Congregational Support Committee will consider ways that grants might be used to assist our churches that are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. 

Staying Connected

Frankly, there is too much disinformation coming from our state and national leaders. Grace Presbytery will continue its work via the methods I’ve described, as we comply with local medical and government officials and their directives. 

It is critical that we stay connected and continue to encourage one another. We are blessed to have remarkably creative and resilient churches in Grace and a staff that is equally remarkable and committed to serving Grace Presbytery.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   ─ Philippians 4:7