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Update from the Session Regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic

June 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

            At the Tuesday, June 23 session meeting, the elders and I made the decision to continue with live-streaming worship only through the month of July. Our decision was made after much prayerful thought and discussion. To a person, each of us looks forward to the day when we can gather together again safely in the sanctuary to worship.

The decision was based on concerns for the safety and well-being of our congregation members and our wider community. As of the afternoon of June 23, Duplin County ranked #7 out of the one hundred counties in North Carolina in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases (1,355). Perhaps more concerning is the number of cases per 10,000 population. While most surrounding counties report anywhere from 25-61 cases per 10,000 population, Duplin County has 230 cases per 10,000 population.

            As we have done since mid-March, the elders and I will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in Duplin County, heed the guidance from the governor’s office and the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina, and take into account the best interests of our congregation and community.
When conditions are right, we will implement a carefully developed re-entry plan that will allow us to gather safely for corporate worship. Until that time, I continue to give thanks to God for the dedicated efforts of our worship team of Karla, Vera, and Bill. I encourage you to make use of the technology available to us and join us on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m. for our live-stream worship or watch the service at a later time (archived on YouTube).

NOTE: On Sunday, July 5, we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper “virtually.” Rev. Cynthia Williams will be our guest preacher and worship leader that day. Please make your preparations and have the elements of bread and juice ready to join in communion during worship.

            Finally, the Covid-19 pandemic, with the disruption it has caused in the life of the church and society, is one of the greatest challenges I have faced in thirty-seven years of ministry. We were not taught in seminary how to do ministry during a pandemic. I am grateful for your faithfulness in worship “attendance,” for your continued pastoral care of church members, and your concern for the church staff. Your messages of encouragement mean very much.

There has been much in the news recently about our rights as Christians being suppressed during this pandemic, especially our right to worship as we choose. I happen to disagree with that sentiment. No one has prohibited us from freely worshiping God. While health and safety circumstances may keep us away from the sanctuary for a season, remember that whenever we gather for worship (even by virtually live-streaming), we are united in the Spirit of our risen Lord Jesus Christ.  

            In Christ, we are called to a way of life that is focused on the well-being of others, not only in the faith community but also in the wider community in which we live. During these challenging times, as we all are called to make difficult decisions in an uncertain world, I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s advice to the churches of Galatia, in a section entitled in my Bible “Freedom to Love.” Paul writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14)

            As always, I am honored and humbled to serve as your pastor as we work together in ministry in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

                                                              Be safe, and blessings,

                                                                                       Phil

 

 

 
 
 

 

Wallace Presbyterian Church
205 West Main Street
Wallace, NC 28466-2903
910.285.2808
Fax: 910.285.3607

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 717
Wallace, NC 28466

Emails:

Pastor:
Dr. Phil Gladden

Church Secretary:
Cheryl Brinkley

Youth Ministry Leader :
Zachary Casteen



Presbytery of
Coastal Carolina

Presbyterian
Church USA