Church in the Age of Coronavirus
The Session of Burke Presbyterian Church has made the very hard decision to continue online worship through at least Ash Wednesday of 2021 (February 17). In addition, the church will not be hosting a preschool in the 2020-21 academic year (for more information about that particular decision, go here.)
The Session’s formal action notes that if the public health situation changes such that large, in-person worship gatherings can be conducted with minimal risk for COVID-19 transmission, Session may modify the policy. Other churches within our National Capital Presbytery have made similar calls in recent weeks. Our intention is to celebrate Easter at BPC on the Sunday when we finally are able to reconnect as community in person, regardless of when that day comes or what time of year it is. It will be an Easter for us–a marking of new life, resurrection, the fulfillment of hope. We are keeping our newly commissioned Easter banners (pictured here) hung in the Meeting House until then, a reminder that love never ends and that church is more than a building.
At the same time, the Session adopted policy and procedures guidelines for outdoor gatherings on site at BPC, and the worship team is developing plans for worship opportunities in the outdoor chapel and elsewhere on the grounds.
Meanwhile, the “Widen the Circle” construction project is drawing close to completion. Go here for more details and photos. While the pandemic has slowed many aspects of the project since March, we believe the building will be complete by the end of August. We are developing procedures for safely touring the space when it is open, and for gathering small groups for brief meetings inside as well.
Please read the latest letter from Pastor David , which outlines in more detail some of what we describe here.
For now, we ask for your prayers, patience, and creative thinking caps as we navigate these strange waters. Let us see where the Spirit leads us.
Still, we are offering many ways to communicate and engage in community.
We worship live every Sunday at 10 am EST. We believe in the power of scheduled gathering, and so we are using the video conference service Zoom to host our services. You can see friends, interact in small groups through post-worship “coffee time,” and sing along to hymns posted on slides. If you would like to be added to our email list to receive the bulletin in advance of worship, please write to email@example.com.
Here is the standing worship link:
Do You Need Help? Can You Help Another?
The BPC deacons are working to connect with people with resources. If you are sick or need assistance getting groceries, medications, or just could use a friendly connection, we are here: Write firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, we have a “People in Need” fund that we are seeking donations toward. Millions of Americans are being adversely affected by Covid-19, and we know that some of those people are very close to home. As jobs are lost or cut back, some members and friends of this very congregation may be needing help with bills and other expenses. If you are not financially affected by this crisis and are able to help us build up this support net, please consider making a donation to the “P.I.N.” fund today.
Adult Spiritual Growth
Watch. Talk. Think. Act: “To be reconciled to God is to be sent into the world as God’s reconciling community. This community, the church universal, is entrusted with God’s message of reconciliation and shares God’s labor of healing enmities which separate people from God and from each other.”
These words from our denomination’s Confession of 1967, among many others in our confessions and from scripture itself, make clear that laboring to abolish all forms of racial injustice is central to the work of the church. We have much to learn and much work to do.
Our spiritual growth and social witness team leaders have identified a number of films that explore this critically important topic. We invite you to watch the films on your own and then join our zoom sessions to discuss. Keep an eye on the church emails for specific film titles and zoom dates and times, or be in touch with arlene@BurkePresChurch.org.
Children’s Spiritual Growth
This summer, we gather for Godly Play each Wednesday morning at 10:00 am. After welcoming one another, we share a story, wonder – out loud or via the chat – and then settle into a brief period of work time. Each session stands on it own, all (and all ages) are welcome, and during this summer season we invite story requests!
In addition, we are making available recordings of the weekly Godly Play stories (same stories but not recordings of the actual zoom sessions) for those who are unable to attend the live sessions. These can be viewed on your own time for a period of three weeks (per Godly Play Foundation copyright guidelines).
For the zoom link or for links to the recorded stories, check the weekly BPC emails, or contact Spiritual Growth Director Arlene Decina, email@example.com.
Youth Connections is staying true to its purpose of connecting youth to community, mission, and God. We’re gathering online throughout the week, with time set aside to just hang out, study the Bible, and do all kinds of fun stuff together (Minecraft! Bob Ross Painting! Virtual Baking! Online Board Games!) We’re building the track as we go, so contact Youth Ministries Pastor Adam Ogg (Adam@burkepreschurch.org) if you would like to get looped into communications.
March 11 Coronavirus Letter to the Congregation
Worshiping, working, studying, and playing together cultivates the community at Burke Presbyterian Church!
There are many occasions for fellowship through church-wide events, small group activities, and more.
The Burke Presbyterian Church family is nourished and supported during difficult times.
The Board of Deacons: Members of BPC are served by Deacons, a group that has been elected to focus on congregational and pastoral care.
Prayer Ministry: The Prayer Ministry Team offers an opportunity for prayer in the Meditation Room following each Sunday worship service.
Stephen Ministry: Stephen Ministers are lay Christians who seek to bring Christ’s healing love to people who are lonely, grieving, ill, new parents or experiencing other major stresses in life such as divorce, retirement, or other difficult problems.
Alcoholics Anonymous: Burke/Springfield AA meets each Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. in Room 23.