FPC members and friends,
You may have seen recently that Governor Reynolds has opened the path for churches to resume gathering together using “appropriate safety measures” as of this weekend. After considering input from Presbytery staff, local health officials, state health officials and the national guidelines, the Session of First Pres. has decided on the following approach.
- At this point, we will plan to continue worshiping online until further notice.
- The governor’s guidelines suggest that people age 65 and up should exercise caution in going out and should avoid public places if at all possible. Given that a significant portion of our congregation is in this age group, it seems problematic to split our worship service along age lines at this point.
- The details of maintaining current distance guidelines, masking, hygiene practices, and monitoring would be extremely difficult to manage in a worship service in our physical space.
- The projections for the Lakes Area predict that our peak caseload will be 2-4 weeks from now, and that could be significantly affected by our tourist and weekend population. Until that peak has occurred, it seems unwise to bring “larger” groups together in a public setting.
- Our online service is tracking extremely well which leads us to believe that our church “community” is feeling connected and included to whatever extent is possible in this time. Of course, most look forward to getting back together, but for now what we are doing seems to be connecting well with people.
- We hope to add physical opportunities in the near future.
- In the coming weeks and months as the situation clarifies, we hope to be able to resume physical gatherings in appropriate stages. This may include an initial worship/study opportunity either Sunday Evening or morning for those who are comfortable attending. This will not be a replacement for our Sunday morning online service in the foreseeable future.
- It is possible (even likely) that the eventual outcome will be continuing our online service as a “first service” and adding a physical “second service” on Sunday morning for those who are low risk and would like to attend. This could be a scenario that continues until such time that things return to some version of “normal.”
- Long-term, we anticipate the need to explore ways to continue to provide worship experiences online for those who are unable or uncomfortable attending and we hope to incorporate what we are doing now to guide us in doing that effectively.
- Church finances remain relatively stable and things look pretty good all things considered. Thank you to everyone who has supported the church in this time and for all the various ways you have encouraged the work of FPC. Online giving remains available through our website (fpcspiritlake.org/give) where you can give by credit card or electronic bank transfer. Other stewardship gifts can continue to be mailed to the church office at 3501 Hill Ave Spirit Lake, IA 51360 There will undoubtedly be many opportunities for service and generosity as we continue to face the realities this illness has caused for individuals, families, businesses, and the economy.
- The session will continue to process all available data and listen to a variety of sources to seek the best decisions possible for all involved. Please feel free to share your thoughts on moving forward, but please understand we are a large and diverse group with a variety of perspectives and your leaders are only trying to do what they feel is most appropriate for the church as a whole. We deeply want to avoid the politicization that has been so prevalent during this situation and only seek a way forward that takes into account not only the physical health, but the communal and spiritual health of our congregation and community.
Thank you for your time and for being connected to FPC. This is a special place and a blessing to many. We look forward to being together again soon and pray blessings on all of you in the meantime.
Clint, Michael, and the Session
Continuing Worship Information
- We strongly encourage you and your family to access the video live stream from 9:00-10:00am Sunday morning if at all possible as it will contain media that won’t be part of the radio broadcast. You can tune in on Sunday morning directly from our homepage on your phone, tablet, or home television (fpcspiritlake.org)
- We will continue to broadcast on KUOO Sunday mornings from 9-10am.
- As has been the case, weekly sermons, studies, worship, etc. will be available on our website (fpcspiritlake.org/media) and we will be updating them regularly.
- Anyone can now access our services on their Roku TV or Roku streaming device. You can add this to your present device or learn more on our website at fpcspiritlake.org/roku-channel.
- We will continue our local cable broadcast on Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. or Saturdays at 7:00 am on MC22 (local channel 80-25).
- We are asking committees and various groups to conduct as much of their business as possible via email or phone.