These are anxious and uncertain times. As the threat of COVID-19 has permeated the news, internet, and public conscious, I have thought again and again of the Psalmist’s lamentation in the 121st Psalm: “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?” I, too, lift my eyes to God and trust that, as the Psalm assures us, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
After much prayer, conversation, and consultation we have decided to heed the advice of our civic and health leaders and suspend our in-person worship for at least three weeks. Please note that we ARE NOT cancelling church, we are simply transitioning to a format which will allow us a modicum of safety from this virus. That may seem like semantics, but I believe it is important that we do what we can to stay connected to one another, to our church, and especially to God in this time of anxiety and unknown.
For some time now, I have been live on Facebook for the sermon portion of our worship service. That will continue in these coming weeks but will encompass the entire worship service. However, I am aware that many of our church family may not be connected through Facebook, or even the internet, therefore we are offering several other ways to participate in worship together.
The first option is to join a video conference using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Simply go to https://www.gotomeet.me/MCCDOC. You can either download the GoToMeeting app, or join through your web browser. This will allow you to see elements of the worship service on your screen, as well as see some of your fellow worshippers. (Please be sure to be dressed appropriately!) Since not everyone is on the internet, there is also the option to dial in on your phone. The number is 1 (646) 749-3122. Once connected you will be prompted to enter an access code. It is: 228-882-333. This login information will also be included on our website: marshfieldchristianchurch.com.
I will have everything turned on by 10:15 on Sunday morning, so you can log in and make sure there are no technical difficulties. Included in this mailing are some of the elements of our worship services for these next few weeks, so that you can participate no matter how you are connected. We will also be placing the liturgy for each week in a folder at the double doors at the church, so you can go by and pick up the information for the next week. We will use this method to distribute any other worship aids we develop in the coming weeks. We are also working to be live on YouTube during worship, as that becomes a reality we will post a link on the website.
Over the coming days I will be working with the lay leaders in the church to engage their voices in worship together. This “SHOULD” be possible, but we are working on this from the ground up, so please bear with us as we work out any glitches.
A word about tithes and offerings while we are not meeting in person. The work of the church still goes on, and I hope you will continue to be generous in your support of the congregation and our ministries. To this end we are working to create opportunities for online giving. While those are developed, I would encourage you to mail any offerings to the church at PO BOX 222 in Marshfield. We will let you know when online giving becomes and option, should you wish to use that method for your giving to the church.
Finally, please be in prayer for our church family, for our church, and for churches around the world. None of us has experience in navigating this kind of pandemic, or the strains it puts on our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Please reach out to me, and to one another by phone, text, or email. Keeping in regular contact with one another will be critical in the weeks ahead. I don’t think any of us anticipated the depth of our Lenten practice this year. We have truly been called to give up much of our regular routines to protect those around us. My prayer is that this time of separation will only make it that much sweeter when we come back together (hopefully on Easter morning) to worship the God who continues to sustain us in this wilderness journey we are on.