Dear Friends and Members of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church,
We arrive at a moment that is new to us all. Rarely have we had the experience of canceling programs for weather, but we’ve had to take that step periodically. Never have we had to find alternative modes of worship due to a pandemic. We now find ourselves at such a juncture where it is most prudent to cease gathering in person. We do not make this decision lightly or in fear, but in love and care for each one of you and the wider community.
Beginning today and for the next week, PCPC is suspending all programs, worship services, and meetings. We do not however cease being the church of Jesus Christ, loving God and loving our neighbor. We will continue to offer worship, though it will be virtually. Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening Vespers, and the Lenten mid-week services can be accessed through Facebook and www.palmaceia.org. Will Wellman’s Lenten book study will also be filmed and accessible digitally. The Bel-Mar community is joining us in online worship.
For the short term, how we live our call to be the church of Jesus Christ is shifting. However, the need to be the church has not decreased. Please remember to continue giving financially so we can continue the work to which we are called. Our financial demands tend to increase rather than decrease in times like these. You may mail your financial gift to the church office or give online.
Your pastors continue doing the work of pastoral care, though we increasingly will be carrying out some of this work through email and phone calls. Please continue to let us know of illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. We want to pray for you and be present for you in whatever ways are possible.
We will continue to listen to what science is telling us is best practice, and will communicate with the body each week about the closure status.
In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and be kind and tender hearted to one another.
"God of all that is seen and unseen, our anxiety rises as the invisible coronavirus spreads. We worry about the impact of this illness on healthcare workers, older adults, those already physically fragile, the vulnerable among us and people whose livelihoods are tied to the regular movement of people and commerce. We recognize in this moment how inextricably connected we are to one another and we hope that this unmistakable realization will shape all our actions in ways that foster the common good, increase compassion and expand communal care.
As people is positions of leadership in religious communities, educational institutions, hospitals, government and local communities face difficult choices about how to address the complex challenges this virus brings, grant them wisdom and courage. Knowing that we are flawed and that our knowledge is incomplete, make us humble in our judgment, patient with one another, and gracious toward those tasked with the burden of making hard decisions in the days ahead. Bring healing to the sick, strength to the caregivers, comfort to those who mourn, peace to those in quarantine and mercy to all of your beloved creation. Amen."
“Pursue love....but do all things decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:1a, 40
Dear Members & Friends of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, The staff of PCPC has been closely following the spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world and in our community. Being good stewards of our health is an important aspect of our call as disciples. We’ve been considering what reasonable and responsible steps PCPC might take to appropriately care for the health and well-being of our church family and community.
We believe there is no need to be afraid, but we do believe it is wise to be prepared. We want to share the precautionary steps we are taking:
We are listening to and taking seriously all directives from the CDC and Florida Department of Health, and are determining how they impact and shape our customs and practices in all areas of our ministry and programming.
We are making more worship services available digitally in order that those who need to remain home due to illness can still continue to participate in the worshipping life of the church; even if remotely for a period of time. Sunday morning 9am and 11am worship services are recorded on video and are being posted each Sunday on Facebook and on palmaceia.org.
Hand sanitizer has been placed around the church facility and we encourage its use along with the regular practice of hand washing.
Cleaning practices have become more frequent and include the disinfecting of door handles and water fountains on a regular basis. Sanitation wipes are also located throughout the church facilities, including entrances for each worship service, for your individual use.
We invite you to greet one another with, instead of a hug or handshake, warm smiles, nods, and the words, "May the peace of Christ be with you.” Let us respect those who need social distancing.
We encourage you to wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds. This is about the length of time it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer.
If you have symptoms or feel unwell, we encourage you to stay home and care for yourself until you are fully well. If you have responsibilities you’ve signed up for at church which you can no longer be present for, let someone know you won’t be there. People’s health and well-being are of primary concern.
As we are advised by public health professionals and think it prudent, we likely will cancel some programmatic events. We will publicize those as we make those determinations.
Each one of us can actively participate in contributing to the health and well-being of the community in the following ways:
Pray. Pray for those who are sick, for those who are afraid, for those who have little or no access to quality healthcare, for health care officials, and for community leaders.
Be a good neighbor. Continue serving our vulnerable neighbors so long as it does not jeopardize your health or the health of others. Stay at home when needed.
Let a pastor of PCPC know if you are sick or if you choose to self-quarantine. We want to pray for you and care for you in whatever way we can. Additions to the prayer list can be made by sending info to Prayer@palmaceia.org.
We will keep you informed if changes in our schedule or programming need to occur.
Ambrose of Milan (340-397) writes and it is our prayer: You are medicine for me when I am sick. You are my strength when I need help. You are life itself when I fear death. You are the way when I long for heaven. You are the light when all is dark. You are my food when I need nourishment.
May the peace of Christ guide our going out and our coming in, each and every day.
John, Nicole, Kenny, and Will
Pastor John talks with children about washing hands as a way of loving our neighbors
**Being good stewards of our health is an important aspect of our call as disciples. During this period where the global community is being called to be vigilant, we want to encourage and support each member of our community in being an advocate and steward for good health. To that end we will be making more worship services available digitally in order that those who need to remain home due to illness can still continue to participate in the worshipping life of the church; even if remotely for a period.**
https://pres-outlook.org/2020/03/prayer-for-central-tennessee "Lord, as the damage is assessed and the recovery begins, we pray for those affected by the tornadoes that hit central Tennessee. In an instant, the lives of many were forever altered and people are in grief, shock and disbelief. Comfort those who mourn and bind up the broken hearted. Give wisdom to leaders as they do the hard work of rebuilding not just structures but communities. Strengthen those on the frontlines providing healthcare, restoring power, removing debris and tending to the basic needs of those displaced by these horrific storms. In the days and weeks and months ahead, grant rest to the weary, peace to the anxious and hope to the discouraged. May your love and light break through the chaos and destruction, bringing healing, relief and mercy. Make of us, your people, bearers of your compassion to your beloved children in Tennessee and all around the world. Amen." -Jill Duffield
Will Wellman leads a class called "Laurus: Lenten Book Study" during Lent 2020.
This is the recording of the first class from March 1, 2020
Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin is the story of a 15th century Russian faith healer on a quest for redemption. The novel spans multiple continents and the entirety of the life of its main character, Laurus. This award-winning, powerful novel reads as a spiritual journey and explores numerous themes including love, repentance, faith, redemption, hope, and salvation and will provide a launching point for discussions on Lent.