Food Center Covid-19 Opperations:
On Wednesdays the Food Center will distribute pre-packed bags of groceries from 9am to noon. Clients will show photo ID and sign for their food. No clients will be allowed in the building, and clients will not be able to choose their own items. Clients should wait in their cars until volunteers start serving at 9am. Clients should not congregate at the door. Clients will have the opportunity to be served by the food center once per month.
COVID-19 TASK FORCE & UPDATES
May 22, 2020
Dear MPC Family,
I miss you terribly and look forward to the day we can be together again! Today, I write to tell you about what Morrisville Presbyterian Church is doing in response to the current crisis and what you can expect from your leadership in the weeks and months to come.
First, we do not yet know when we can reopen the church building. Your Session has met regularly in this critical time and has begun to develop a phased plan for re-opening the building that would protect the safety and well-being of all who walk through our doors. But bear in mind that we do not yet know when this phased plan will be implemented. We are aware that the Governor of Pennsylvania plans to permit the initial stages of the reopening plan for Bucks County starting June 5th, but even then it may be unwise for us to gather given restrictions on larger gatherings. There are many factors to be monitored and considered closely and I want to assure you that the safety of our church family is our #1 priority as we plan for re-opening. I also want to assure you that when a phased re-opening plan is approved by the Session, you will be the first to know. We will keep you informed throughout.
Second, in an effort to navigate questions and concerns that will arise in the weeks and months to come, your Session has approved the creation of a Covid-19 Task Force. This small group of the Session is charged with navigating the uncharted waters of a re-opening plan, as well as making critical recommendations regarding church operations in the coming months as they relate to our collective safety and well-being. Their work will ultimately need the approval of the Session before it can be implemented, but we are grateful for the willingness of these dear friends who will commit time and energy to countless hours of research and conversation for the sake of our church family. This task force will monitor the recommendations of state and local governments, and the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and will consult regularly with healthcare workers from our church family who are intimately engaged in the active response to Covid-19. When you have a moment, please express your deep gratitude to Drew Hunger (Chairperson), Patrick Gilbride, AK Rosenbaum, Nancy Stoner, and Ron Workman, for their willingness to serve on this task force on behalf of our church family. Pastors Rachel Rhodes and Alex Lester-Abdalla will also serve as ex-officio members. Please pray for this task force in the weeks and months ahead.
Third, you may have heard President Trump announce this afternoon, May 22nd, that he is urging all Governors to make houses of worship “essential” and open them immediately. And while I can appreciate a collective desire and longing to be together with some urgency, the Task Force and I believe that just because circumstances may allow us to gather, it does not mean we should. In the past week I have been reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the church in Corinth: “All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other” (1 Cor 10:23-24). As we continue to wade through the difficult decisions that lie ahead, we must be mindful of the incredible responsibility we have to care for our church family and our wider community, seeking the advantage and protection of the other at all times.
I also want you to know how dearly I miss worshiping in our sanctuary with all of you each week. I know you miss it too because I have heard you share that longing again and again when we gather online. And though I am so grateful for the technology that allows us to connect with one another in this time apart, nothing compares to being with you in person. I long for the day when we can gather again because I, too, know how essential our life together is for each of you and for our community. But in this strange time I invite you to hold fast to the truth that I believe with every fiber of my being: though our building remains closed, the church is very much open! As the old song goes, the church is not a building or a steeple, and it never has been. The church is the people! And so I give thanks every day for each of you because you are the church. Because of your faithfulness and your ministry in your homes and neighborhoods and in our wider community and world, the church is alive and well and very much open! Thanks be to God! Keep being the church, dear friends. I miss you. I long to see you and worship alongside you.
With deep gratitude for each of you,
Pastoral Care Update: April 3, 2020
Hello MPC Family,
Welcome to the most unique Holy Week any of us have ever known! It will certainly be different, but we are confident it will still be holy. And we invite you to join us throughout the week as we seek to join Jesus on his journey toward the cross. Our Holy Week celebrations will begin on Sunday morning during worship as we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This service will be available for viewing at 10:30am on Sunday, April 5th.
We will be holding a Maundy Thursday service (see below for details) on Thursday, April 9th at 7:00pm as we remember when Jesus washed his disciple’s feet and enjoyed his last meal with them before he was betrayed. Tim and Carol Carpenter have also put together a Lenten Devotional worship experience titled, “Hope in the Wilderness” that will be available through podcast and with accompanying worship bulletin starting on Monday evening. This devotional features the writings of Anne Frank, Psalms, and music sung by the Teen Choir of MPC. It speaks of confidence in God’s care in the midst of times of stress and worry, and can be used at any point during your Holy Week journey.
Though we will not be holding a Good Friday service at MPC, there are plenty of churches who are holding services and you can see below for details about a couple of Good Friday worship services that Pastor Rachel & Pastor Alex would recommend. On Easter morning, April 12th, we will worship together again online at 10:30am to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that you will join us in worship in the week to come as we seek to journey with our Lord toward the cross.
Will this week be different? Yes. But will it be sacred and far more similar to the Holy Week the disciples endured? Absolutely. If you recall from scripture, the disciples were locked in their homes full of fear when the resurrection took place. And when Jesus first appeared to them he said, “Peace be with you.” In the week to come may we be willing to walk through the darkness our Lord endured, but may we also open our hearts to know the peace of Christ in sacred and beautiful new ways. Blessings upon your Holy Week journey! We love you and miss you.
With gratitude for the journey to come,
Pastor Rachel & Pastor Alex
Maundy Thursday Worship Details
If you would like to join our Maundy Thursday worship on Thursday, April 9th at 7pm over Zoom (online meeting room), please contact Pastor Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will send out an optional worship bulletin in advance and ask that you come to worship with some kind of bread. It can be any kind of bread in any form, but bring enough that whoever you are worshipping alongside would have enough to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you could even bake some bread for this particular worship occasion. We hope you will join us on this sacred night.
Good Friday Options
Join Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, at Noon on Friday, April 6th for a Good Friday Service. Pastor Rachel’s dear friend, Mary Kathleen Duncan, is an Associate Pastor at Westminster.
• https://wpc-online.org/, Click the Livestream button
Join Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA, at 7:30pm on Friday, April 6th for a Good Friday Service. Pastor Rachel’s dear friend, Andrew Whaley, is the Senior Pastor at Raleigh Court. You might remember Andrew because he preached at Pastor Rachel’s Installation Service at MPC three years ago!
• www.youtube.com/rcpres for Livestream starting at 7:25pm
There are plenty of other churches holding Good Friday services. In the coming days you may want to check out the websites of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church or Duke Chapel for details on their services. Brian Ballard (former MPC intern) now serves at Bryn Mawr as an Associate Pastor. And Pastor Alex’s sister-in-law serves as the Director of Religious Life at Duke Chapel.
Additional Ways to Connect to our Church Family
1) If you would like to be a part of studying 1 & 2 Samuel with the Brown Bag Bible Study crew on Wednesdays from Noon-1pm, please contact Pastor Rachel (email@example.com).
2) If you would like to be a part of a Weekly Prayer Meeting (approx. 15-20min long) for our congregation at 1:05pm on Wednesdays, please contact Pastor Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3) If you would like to be a part of Adult Education on Sundays from 9:30am-10:20am, please contact Pastor Alex (email@example.com).
4) If you would like to gather for “Fellowship Hour” after worship on Sundays at 11:30am, stay tuned for instructions about how to log on!
5) If you would like to speak with a pastor during this difficult time, feel free to reach out to our Minister of Visitation, Jack McAnlis (firstname.lastname@example.org), Pastor Rachel Rhodes (email@example.com), or Pastor Alex Lester-Abdalla (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would be more than happy to speak with you over the phone or through video chat.
STAYING CONNECTED & PASTORAL CARE 3.18.2020
Hello MPC Family,
As you likely already know, out of care and concern for our church and our greater community, until further notice, all programs, activities, and in-person worship have been canceled at MPC. Worship will continue to be available ONLINE at 10:30am on Sunday mornings through our website, www.mpcusa.org. Just click the button labeled, “Virtual Worship” on our homepage. This past week we had some minor technological glitches that kept the video from being available right at 10:30am, but we believe we have remedied that situation and appreciate your patience. We hope you will join us this Sunday for worship!
The church office will also remain closed during this time, however, all pastors and staff are available through email, and pastors will be available for any pastoral care needs that arise. If you have a pastoral care emergency, please don’t hesitate to call our pastor on call at 267-793-0232. Email addresses for all staff can be found on our website, or you may email any questions or concerns to email@example.com, or call the church office at 215-295-4191 where messages will be checked regularly.
Rest assured that MPC staff and church leaders are working very hard to remain connected with church members during a time that could otherwise be very isolating. In addition to worship, we are seeking out opportunities to connect with one another virtually, whether that be in Bible Study, Adult Education, Youth Club, prayer meetings, or perhaps even over a cup of coffee. More information about these points of connection will be coming out in the next week.
Here's a fun photo from our virtual bible study today:
For now, to the extent that you are able, we would strongly encourage you to LIKE “Morrisville Presbyterian Church” on Facebook (Facebook.com/morrisvillepres). Or FOLLOW us on Instagram (@morrisvillepresbyterian), as these will be two platforms where we will be providing regular updates and points of connection. If you would like for someone to assist you in setting these up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do everything we can to help!
We recognize that all of you are living into a new normal these days and the church is right there with you in this unknown wilderness. We have no idea how long all of this will last and we are making our way through it day by day. But please remember that there are some vital ways you can continue to “be the Church” even when we’re not able to gather together in our church building (from patheos.com):
Check on your neighbors: your older neighbors, your neighbor on chemo, your neighbor whose kid relies on free school lunch, your neighbor who still has to go to work and could use help with childcare, your neighbor who doesn’t have the ability to connect with anyone online. Any time you help someone in your proximity, you are living out the values of your faith community. You are embodying what the whole gospel thing is about, which takes church out of the building and brings it to life for others.
Pray for your church family. And send notes! Make phone calls! We are one body, even when that body is not together in the flesh. There are plenty of ways to stay connected in spirit, and care for each other’s spiritual needs.
Send in your Estimate of Giving. This may seem like a small thing in the grand scheme right now, but we still need to continue our stewardship. We are in uncharted waters here in terms of not meeting in person. And it matters that you continue to give, as long as you are fiscally able. This is a great time to reexamine giving online through our website or signing up for automatic withdrawal from your bank account. If you can’t give online, please mail your estimate of giving to Morrisville Presbyterian Church, 771 N Pennsylvania Ave, Morrisville, PA 19067. Even if the building is empty, bills and salaries need to be paid; what’s more, you’re helping us maintain mission commitments to the community in a time when that commitment is more important than ever.
Please stay tuned for more updates to come. We remain immensely grateful for all of you and especially for the ways you care for one another! Thank you for all the ways you are “being the church” even though we’re unable to gather together!
With deep gratitude,
Pastor Rachel & Pastor Alex
ALL CHURCH UPDATE 3.13.2020
Dear Morrisville Presbyterian Church Family,
Last night your pastors and Session met to discuss the rapidly changing landscape of the public health crisis before us. Because of our deep concern for the well-being of our church and community, beginning today, Friday, March 13, 2020, we will be cancelling all programming, events, meetings, and activities at MPC. This includes the cancellation of the Clothing Center, Lenten Suppers, and Sunday worship in-person. We will offer worship on Sunday, March 15 at 10:30am through our church website and services will be available online for the foreseeable future. For the time being, the church will continue to provide meeting space for AA meetings and for the Food Center, but with a markedly different protocol for distributing food to those who need it.
Please know that we have made this decision unanimously, but after prayerfully considering input from health care providers in our network, monitoring decisions of other churches and school districts in our area, and weighing recommendations from government officials. To be clear, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in our church family, but as people called to care for the well-being, health, and wholeness of God’s world, we are committed to lending our support to mitigate community transmission of COVID-19. We’re also committed to loving each other and caring for vulnerable people during this extraordinary season. It is in such times as these that the church is truly called to be a light amidst all that may feel dark. We are a people of hope and we are not going anywhere. But we ask you to pray for one another and to pray for our church as we navigate these uncharted waters together. We wish we could be more concrete about how long this situation will last, but will make all decisions based on monitoring the situation in Bucks County and the surrounding area. If you are interested in being a part of a team committed to connecting with people who need to be looked in after, please contact Rev. Jack McAnlis (email@example.com). If you are not currently on the list of those who receive the church’s e-blasts, we recommend that you email and ask to be included in all electronic communications from the church. You can also subscribe through our website mpcusa.org by scrolling to the bottom of the page, inputting your email into the "Subscribe for emails" field and clicking "Subscribe".
In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to communicate with you regularly, updating the church website often, sending messages from pastors as often as necessary, and updating the church’s official Facebook and Instagram pages. As we continue on this Lenten journey in the wilderness, a wilderness unlike any we have seen before, please remember to check on neighbors, friends, and church members. We remain a community of care and a community in Christ. A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
With gratitude for our church family,
The Pastors and Session of Morrisville Presbyterian Church