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March 19, 2020

Dear Friends and Members of Orange Park Presbyterian Church:

Faith, not fear. That is the phrase for today. We respond out of faith, not fear. Our faith reminds us that we are all part of the family of God, and we are all loved, dearly and unconditionally, by our Divine Parent. That being the case, parents are not always able to keep their children from going through difficult times, but will continue to stand by their children with love, encouragement, and support. We trust that our Triune God continues to guide us through the uncertainties that we presently face.

The Session of OPPC has taken the bold, and faithful step to cancel worship services and close the church campus through the end of April. No members or groups will be permitted in the facilities during this time. Yes, that includes Holy Week and Easter. We take this step with faith that our Parent God continues to be present with us, where we are, and is not limited to being found in the Sanctuary. We take this step with faith that Jesus, the Head of the Church, continues to bless and nurture our beloved community. We take this step trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide us and empower us as we explore new ways to be a community to each other.

The Session will continue to monitor the changing situation and assess risks and opportunities, and will adjust our ministry and mission accordingly. We are committed to keeping you informed and being in communication through various sources. Our plan is to provide, hopefully, weekly communications to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to receive information. We will also be using the church web page and our Facebook page @ Orange Park Presbyterian Church for sharing information and to encourage our being a community as we practice good social distancing.

Here is how you can help. First, take good care of yourself. Reduce your risks by staying away from crowds, avoid any unnecessary travel around town, and practice good handwashing, and other common sense measures. If you use a computer and/or social media, check the church’s web page and Facebook page. On Facebook, you can respond to posts to share your experiences, ask questions, and engage with others. Consider purchasing an Easter Lily or Hydrangea! Yes, even with canceling of worship gathering we will publish dedications of Easter Lilies or Hydrangeas, and we will deliver your lily to you for you to enjoy or share. Please e-mail or call 264-0536 to give Pam your dedication. As you are able, please keep the church in mind when you are paying bills and meeting other financial responsibilities. We will be continuing to provide for the mission and ministry of the church through this uncertain time, and your financial assistance will be greatly appreciated as a support to make that happen. Watch your mailbox! We will keep you informed as we develop ways to be connected, share in worship, encourage and inspire each other.

I close with the words of a colleague, Rev. Jes Kast, “Our spiritual connection will not cease. We will pray. We will not be isolated in spirit. We will have the resolve to get through from our mutual encouragement.”

Grace and peace,

Jess McCrosky

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