COVID-19 Update

Live at 11

Friday Update: During today’s Sharing the Spirit Socially, Shantiqua Neely and Heather Herring will talk with Malacy Williams, principal of Westerly Hills Academy. They will discuss updates from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, ways in which Mrs. Williams’ staff is supporting students in this new environment and ways in which First Presbyterian can continue to partner with her during these uncertain times.

You can watch this conversation here and on the church’s main Facebook page beginning at 11 a.m. We invite your questions or comments for Shantiqua or Heather on the Facebook page.

 

Holy Week

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday

On Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, you’ll be able to watch previously recorded services on WAXN-TV (on channel 64 or as shown in your local listings) or livestreamed on the church website, with the Reverend Lorenzo Small, Sr., and the congregation of First United Presbyterian Church participating with us. Both services were recorded in the hours before the city of Charlotte started following the Stay-at-Home directives from the City.

The bulletin for those services can be opened the top of this page, just above the Live at 11 video or on the Worship page here on the website.

Maundy Thursday

This year, we will be united in worship as we gather around our own tables, using a shared At-Home Maundy Thursday liturgy,with suggestions for involving the entire family.  We invite you to share a simple meal with your family, and/or invite others to your table through technology (Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts).
Be sure to post a picture of your table on First Connect or Instagram so we can see how truly wide our communion stretches as we remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples.
 

Good Friday

Join us online for a traditional Tenebrae Service at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday. Watch for more details on how to access here or in Friday’s enews.

Youth Sunday

On April 26, our high school seniors will lead worship as usual, but in an innovative way. Watch for details.

 

And More

After Easter, we expect to continue our virtual worship and expect to resume broadcasting live in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings.  As long as we are not in-person for worship, First Presbyterian and First United Presbyterian will continue to worship together. On April 19, the Sunday after Easter, the Reverend Small and the Reverend Peery will both preach. And as we move into May, FPC pastors and the Reverend Small will take a turn preaching.

Pastoral Care

If you have a pastoral emergency, call 704.927-0256 for the on-call voicemail. Your call will be returned promptly. 

Your pastors are eager to support you in this season through prayer and pastoral care. If you have a need, or you know someone in our congregation who has a need, please contact the Reverend Anna Dickson.

The primary way that pastors will be offering care for the next few weeks is through calls and emails.  We are following the recommendations and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC), hospitals and retirement communities, and will only make in-person visits where allowed for emergency circumstances.

If you are interested in being a part of a team committed to connecting with people who need to be looked after (by making calls or running errands for those who cannot), please contact the Reverend  Anna Dickson.

 

 

 

Outreach: Loaves and Fishes, Westerly Hills, Benevolence Fund

 

Loaves and Fishes

Next Wednesday, April 8, FPC will host its first Loaves & Fishes “Mobile” Pantry when a Loaves and Fishces delivery truck parks in the church parking lot from 2-3:30 p.m.  to provide a pre-boxed seven-day supply of groceries for referred clients who drive or walk up.

This delivery system will entail very little contact other than big smiles and the wish for our neighbors to stay well, which minimizes the risk to both volunteers and clients. We hope to be able to serve more than double the number of hungry neighbors served in an entire week in our church basement pantry.

Decisions about the week after Easter will be made later, as Loaves and Fishes continues to respond to community needs.

You are invited to donate food.

 

Westerly Hills Academy

Westerly Hills will remain open until May 15 as one of t he feeding sites selected by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  Families who need additional support are being referred to Loaves and Fishes or other community resources by the school’s social worker. Evictions are on hold and utilities are not being disconnected due to nonpayment at this time, but we anticipate that families will come to us for assistance once they become due.  You may contribute to our benevolence fund here to support Westerly Hills families as we are made aware of any needs.  

 

Benevolence Fund

We respect that many of our volunteers are considered high risk and/or may not feel comfortable being out and about right now. We have set up a link for donations to a Benevolence Fund to address COVID-19 related emergency situations for our community.   You can contribute here.

 

 

Children

Watch for next week’s broadcast of First at 11 for the children in your household. It will be posted on this page and on the church’s Facebook page this afternoon.

Check out the Holy Week issue of the newsletter for preschoolers, or the newsletter for elementary school children.

Adult Formation: Church at Home

Adult Formation is offering a weekly resource from The Bible Project, an online source for biblical and theological content.  For right weeks, we will share a link to bible passages, a video, and discussion questions that will help us frame our current circumstances in the lens of Scripture.  Suitable for families, small groups, and individuals, the “Church at Home” guide invites us to read, listen, watch and reflect
Reach out if you want to discuss: Garrell Keesler or Robert Galloway.
Week 2 Sabbath is the next lesson. You can also read more in this week’s Adult Formation newsletter.

Youth

Check out the Youth newsletter.

Confirmation Class of 2020 Examination with Session

Due to the COVID-19 circumstances, the Confirmation class will meet via Zoom with various session members on Sunday, April 5. Be on the lookout for an email to signup for specific time. Please contact Natalie Raygor  or the Reverend Robert Galloway   with questions.

Capital Campaign Update

We remain committed to the Capital Campaign. However, out of sensitivity to our members in these uncertain economic times, the Session has decided to pause our active fundraising efforts. Originally, we planned to build fundraising momentum toward a commitment Sunday on May 17. Those plans are delayed until we have a better sense of the economic landscape, perhaps until this fall.
We also need to be good stewards of the church’s resources and are delaying the start of construction, to align with our adjusted fundraising calendar. Before the COVID disruption, we were scheduled to start construction on September 1, 2020. Now, if the way be clear, we anticipate starting construction in late May, 2021.
None of us wanted or could have anticipated the challenges we face, but there has never been a more important moment for us to be the church. In these next weeks (or months) our focus as a church will be on caring for our members and our neighbors, and offering opportunities for prayer and worship.
Because we have already received some payments from those who have pledged to the campaign, we can continue with the construction planning and work with the organ builder on a revised timeline. We also continue to plan for our two large missional outreach projects—expanding the Child Development Center with an endowment for tuition scholarships, and establishing a sliding-scale mental health practice in the heart of Charlotte.
First Presbyterian Church has maintained its witness to Christ in the heart of Charlotte for 199 years because of God’s faithfulness and that of our members. That faithfulness will sustain us and provide for us in this season.
The Reverend Pen Peery

A Word from Pen: I Miss You