Corona Virus Update March 25, 2020
The building and all on-site activities (including guest groups) are closed until further notice. We are following the direction of our Presbytery and the State of Washington.
We are grateful to God that we have been given gifts of both wisdom and faith, and we urge you to prayerfully exercise both in the coming weeks.
We will hold the memorial service as scheduled on Friday, March 6th at 2 PM. We will set up a hand-sanitizing station near the entry to the church and encourage “safe” practices during the service and reception. Please use the wisdom of your own situation, the counsel of the Public Health officials, and the advice of your own medical team to decide whether to attend.
Our sources of wisdom are varied
Experience and common sense ask those who are experiencing any cold or flu symptoms to stay home until they are well.
Snohomish County Public Health has not issued any recommendations regarding large-group gatherings. Until they do so, we will continue to hold Sunday worship services. At those services, we will reduce the sharing of our germs by following the wisdom provided by our public health officials:
We also encourage anyone who is vulnerable to this virus to avoid public gatherings during the month of March. For this virus the vulnerable population is defined as anyone who meets one or more of these criteria.
And if you are scheduled for a volunteer duty on Sunday and will not be present, please call/email Pastor Amy or the church office to let us know.
Our faith is a tremendous strength in these chaotic times
If you will miss Sunday worship, and you would like a transcript of the sermon, a copy of the bulletin, or a link to the sermon recording for any Sunday morning, please contact Kim in the church office and she will connect you with these resources.
If you would like to experience online worship, two of our local congregations broadcast their services weekly. The links are here: as University Presbyterian Church https://www.upc.org/media/watch-live/ or Bellevue Presbyterian Church https://www.belpres.org/livestream
In faith, let us lift up in our prayers those who are suffering from the virus, and pray for their healing. For all health care workers, first responders, custodians, and others who will encounter the virus in their work we pray for protection. For each of us and our communities, we pray for wisdom, and for God’s ever-comforting peace to surround us in these anxious times.
You may find out more at these links:
Snohomish County Public Health https://www.snohd.org/484/Novel-Coronavirus-2019
King County Public Health https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/03/04/new-public-health-recommendations-to-slow-the-spread-of-coronavirus/
A good blog post about King County Public Health’s advice for faith communities: http://hackingchristianity.net/2020/03/i-pastor-a-church-near-a-covid-19-outbreak-this-is-what-churches-can-do.html
And thanks to Rev. Neil Trainer at Calvin PC for framing this discussion in terms of wisdom and faith – you are a wise and faithful pastor!
Please contact me if you have any questions about this plan,
Pastor Amy on behalf of the Session of Edmonds Presbyterian Church.
Pastor Amy’s Thoughts….
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? - Isaiah 43:19
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? -1 Cor. 3:16
See, the home of God is among mortals … See, I am making all things new. - Rev. 21:3, 5
What do you think of when you hear the word vital? For many of us, the word is most closely connected with medicine. Medical professionals take at least three vital signs to assess our health: pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. Looking at these simple signs, they are able to begin to identify if we are healthy.
What vital signs do you think someone would use to assess the health and vitality of a congregation?
The PCUSA, along with other mainline denominations, has been intentional about identifying the vital signs that indicate healthy vitality in congregations. After completing two detailed national surveys they have identified seven signs, seven “marks of vitality,” that we can use to assess how our congregation is doing. How vital are we? In what areas are we the strongest and healthiest? You may have the impression that vitality exists only in large congregations – but that’s not what the studies found. Congregations of all sizes can be vital. The session and I are delighted to be part of the two year Vital Congregations Initiative in our Presbytery as we assess our marks of vitality and prayerfully consider how we can become even more vital.
What will the Vital Congregations Initiative look like? During Lent and Easter of this year we will be taking a closer look at the seven marks of vitality through prayer, scripture, our Sunday services, our Sunday adult classes, and our personal devotions. To begin, I invite you to pick up a copy of the Lenten devotional, Vital Signs, and use it to consider what a vital life in Christ looks like for you and for our church community. Then notice as Lent and Easter unfold how the upcoming sermon themes connect to the seven marks you have studied. And join us for opportunities to dive deeper into the meaning of each of the seven marks during our Adult Education time after worship.
It is our goal that by the time Pentecost arrives we will each know the seven marks of vitality – we will speak that shared language. This shared language will lay the foundation for the remainder of the two-year Vital Congregations Initiative. Over these two years we will make an honest assessment of our vitality; take a careful look at what God is already doing in our neighborhoods, and our community; and then prayerfully design experiments that will assist us in becoming more vital as we move into the second year of the initiative.
The Seven Marks of Vitality are:
1. Lifelong Discipleship Formation: continually growing as disciples of Jesus
2. Intentional Authentic Evangelism: sharing the story of God’s love at work in our lives
3. Outward Incarnational Focus: serving beyond our church community in Jesus’ name
4. Empowering Servant Leadership: recognizing and humbly offering our gifts of leadership
5. Spirit-filled Worship: proclaiming and celebrating the good news of God’s love
6. Caring Relationships: extending God’s love and compassion to all
7. Ecclesial Health: seeking with others to build up the Body of Christ
That’s a lot of information – but the key is this: pray! May we celebrate our existing vitality, notice the work God is already doing among us, and join in the new thing God would have us explore.
— In Christ,
The One Great Hour of Sharing Offering will be our next opportunity to help people who really need some assistance. The offering will be given on Palm Sunday. We will have readers who will share some examples of people who receive help from One Great Hour of Sharing. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will receive 32% of the offering, Presbyterian Hunger Program will receive 36%, and Self Development of People will be given 32%.
EPC Women’s Association
The Women’s Association will met on March 11th at the church at 11:30 a.m. for a business meeting, lunch and program. We mailed Valentine cards and candy to college students connected with our congregation.
The Season of Lent
Lent is the season of the church year when we prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is the 40 days preceding Easter, excluding Sundays. Lent began with Ash Wednesday, the day when we recall our need for God, remembering our own mortality - “dust you are and to dust you shall return.”
Lenten devotional booklets are available on the back table with readings and prayers to assist you in a prayerful Lenten journey. You are invited to prayerfully enter into the season of Lent as we prepare our hearts and minds for the great good news of Easter.
… to all who assisted with the baby shower for Brian and Betsy! It was a joyous celebration and they offer their gratitude for your care and generosity.
Last Sunday we looked at the first lesson– How do archaeologist do their work? What questions can archaeology answer? What are the questions archaeology cannot answer? Come and watch the video “Biblical Archaeology from the ground down” together for these answers and more. Today March 1st we explore more What do we know from archaeology about seafaring in Biblical times? A lecture given by archaeologist Shelley Wachsmann.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
REVISION: We are now having an online Bible Study of the Psalms, 10 AM on Tuesdays. See you email about how to join us on Zoom!
Per Capita Reminder
Our congregation is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Synod of Alaska- Northwest, and Northwest Coast Presbytery. Each year we are assessed an amount per member (per capita) to support the operations of each of these governing bodies, including salaries, meeting expenses, and travel expenses. The 2020 per capita assessment is $49.70, and is divided in this way: NWC Presbytery ($40.50), Synod ($0.25), and General Assembly ($8.95). If you are able to pay for your per capita, that keeps this expense out of our general budget. Please put “per capita” in the memo line on your check, or place the amount in your per capita envelope when you send that in to the church. Thank-you!
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