From Pastor Dave…
Dear Christ Church InTown Family,
These last several months have confronted all of us with unprecedented challenges. In addition to the challenges that we face with all of our neighbors – threats to our health, our jobs, our economy and community well being – the church has faced an additional challenge of a prolonged inability to gather in person for worship, community and service. I am so incredibly proud of the ways that our church leaders, staff and members have found ways to faithfully live out the church’s calling in the face of this crisis. Some of the highlights of this effort have been:
Quickly taking all of our worship services, groups and and team meetings online. We have adapted on the fly, and have been consistently improving our services and meetings each week.
We have held morning prayer meetings online every single weekday since this ordeal began. God has been using this trial to bring growth and renewal to our prayer life as a church.
We hosted a very helpful online seminar with Dr. Chuck DeGroat on sustaining our emotional and spiritual health during this time. Many of you have said how beneficial that seminar was for you. If you were unable to participate, the video remains available online and I’d encourage you to check it out.
Our members have responded by generous and abundant financial support. Our giving has not fallen off and we are approximately where we would expect to be at this time of year in our annual giving. Our deacons’ fund has more than doubled since this began. What a testimony to God’s faithfulness and to yours!
As of last week, Florida has entered into Phase 1 of a re-opening plan. We are following these developments closely and we are eager to resume more in-person ministry as we are able. We urge each of our members to continue to guard your own health and that of our community by practicing responsible social distancing and hygiene.
As we are able to do more in-person ministry, our diaconate is praying and planning for ways that we can serve our most vulnerable neighbors. The first of these service opportunities is our Grocery Give Away this coming Saturday. We are not in need of volunteers for this first event, but please stay tuned for ways that you might be able to serve in the days ahead. If you or one of your neighbors is in a position of special need, please do not hesitate to reach out to the diaconate via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to make the most of this opportunity to sacrificially love our neighbors.
We are eager to gather for Sunday worship in person again, and while we are working diligently towards regathering, we are not able to do so at this time. For our church, three things must be true for us to be able worship in person again. First, we will look for the guidance of medical experts and governing authorities that is safe to gather. Secondly, we will need our partners at the City Rescue Mission to approve our gathering again in the chapel. And finally, our Session will need to feel confident that we can gather while maintaining the utmost care for you and our community through social distancing, safety and cleanliness. When all three of those indicators line up, we will move towards regathering for in-person worship. In the meantime, we are working intently on the one area that is within our control – planning and preparing for modified worship services that meet the standards for safe gatherings in terms of both social distancing and sanitization.
We know that we will not be meeting in person in the month of May. All church meetings, including worship will remain online for the time being. We are hopeful that we may be able to resume some in person gatherings in June. We will make that determination as the time comes. In the meantime please make every effort to stay engaged in worship and in the community life of our church. Pray for our leaders as we make plans in the weeks ahead, and pray for our partners at the City Rescue Mission. In so many ways, we are in this together. Pray that God would direct our steps, and that he would be glorified as we seek to be faithful to the callings he has given us.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dave Abney
On behalf of the Session