God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Dear CPC Family,
The psalmist reminds us—and our faith encourages us—to put our trust in God who is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. While we think it is safe to say there has never been a time in history when fear has not reared its ugly head, it has also become clear to us that the time has come for a pastoral response to the fears surrounding COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).
When the news first broke of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China in December it was so far removed from us that we only watched and prayed thinking it was limited to a group of people in a country far, far away. As more and more information emerged it became clear COVID-19 was going to have a huge impact on all of us.
In the last few weeks, the scientific community has offered much information about how we might slow the progression of this disease and diminish its impact, particularly among the most vulnerable populations. Each of us, especially those who are least likely to become severely ill, has a responsibility to look out for our vulnerable neighbors who are much more at risk. CPC will be here to help mitigate the financial impact to our covenant partners and our neighbors whose needs may feel overwhelming. We are asking those who are able to give generously and regularly during this crisis. While we are not gathering to Worship on Sundays, you can continue to give through online giving (cpcmerced.org/give/) or by mail.
After prayerful consideration, the pastoral staff and Session have made the following decisions:
- Worship services are cancelled through April 12 (Easter). Worship is so vital and central to a body of believers that we have difficulty suggesting or encouraging people to stay home. However, for the well-being of our congregants and their families we are led to follow the guidelines of our Federal, State and Local governments regarding suspending all gatherings of 10+ individuals.
- Alternative worship resources will be available. Watch for email/text/website information. We are exploring options for how we might come along side you with weekly worship resources such as emailing the order of service each week with each phase of the service written out for your personal Worship experience. We are also planning to video sermons and provide them online. Please call the office to request a CD if you prefer.
- All non-essential meetings are cancelled. We are asking leaders of Bible studies, commissions, Deacons and Session to either postpone meetings or use alternative meeting styles (email, conference calls, video conferencing). All outside organizations using the church meeting rooms will not be meeting until further notice.
- The church office will be closed to the public as of March 18, 2020. People who need to come to the office are asked to call and make an appointment and sign in when they do.
- If you need assistance or are aware of someone who does, please call your Deacon or the church office. We have a list of volunteers willing to help.
- A detailed list of cancelled or postponed events is included at the end of this letter.
This is an ongoing and ever-changing situation and we expect there will be updates to come. In the meantime, fear not. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
In the Savior’s Grace,
Pastors Dave Kerr and Dave McGurk
The Session of Central Presbyterian Church
The following CPC events/activities have been cancelled or postponed (at least through April 18):
- March 27 – Family Fun Night – Postponed until further notice
- March 21 – Clippers – Cancelled for March and April
- April 5 – Chancel Choir Concert – 4 pm – Cancelled
- April 9 – Sacred Supper – 6 pm – Cancelled
- April 10 – Good Friday Service 6 pm – Cancelled
- April 10 – 17 – Mexico Mission – Postponed until July
- April 12 – All Easter Services – Cancelled
- April 24-26 – Mt. Hermon All Church Conference – Cancelled
Weekly meetings held at CPC:
- Woman to Woman Wednesdays @ 9:30 am – tentatively scheduled to resume May 6
- Junior High, High School and College Fellowship – Tentatively scheduled to resume week of April 20
- Modern Worship Team and Chancel Choir Rehearsals – Tentatively scheduled to resume week of April 20
- Restore Merced activities with children and families – Postponed until further notice
- Small Group Bible Studies, Sunday and Thursday evening – Postponed until further notice
Until further notice, all Session, Commission and Deacons will be held via alternative meeting styles avoiding person-to-person contact. Meeting chairs will contact members regarding options.