by Rev. Julie Sterling, from the “Bridge”, July, 2020
Brothers and sisters, I send you peace in the name of Christ Jesus and hope all is well with you and yours. Another month has passed since we started on this path of a “new normal.” I thank you for your patience as we have worked to maintain the ministry of Suffolk Presbyterian Church in an age of social distancing. As spring turns to summer, our church is transitioning to new opportunities and great hopes. God is awesome. It is clear His spirit is at work.
I know that many of you miss the one on one contact of our church community on Sunday morning. I can understand. I feel the same way and long for the day we can meet in the sanctuary and join in worship and fellowship. Starting June 28th, we will take our first steps toward on-site worship by hosting an outdoor communion service in the church yard. A procedural list has been developed by our Covid-19 team and has been distributed to our congregation. We will follow CDC guidelines to maintain the safety of our congregation during worship. We understand that our members have different comfort levels with social distancing. Considering this, we will continue to post our weekly worship services online. Anyone who is in a high-risk category or who is feeling sick should remain home and worship online.
This transition will be a challenge. We have never had to worship this way before. Once again, please be patient with us. Even though we are in new territory, I passionately believe that in this our church community has grown stronger than it has ever been. Yes, this new normal has called us to work harder. Ministering to others is different than before. In many instances, it has challenged congregation members into uncharted territory. I am so proud of how easy it has been to transition most of our ministry online. I have also been pleasantly surprised in how fulfilling online ministry can be. I cannot imagine what it would be like to do social distancing without online worship, fellowship, prayer group, and study. Even though we are “distant” we are still connected.
The greatest blessing of all is that we have been able to maintain who we are as Suffolk Presbyterian Church within our online ministry. The inspiration for “who we are” as Suffolk Presbyterian Church comes from Acts 20:28: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God…” Our online presence and hard work of the Diaconate has allowed us to continue the nurturing of our congregation. Our prayer groups, fellowship nights, and studies have helped us feed our personal faith journey with God. I can honestly say that I feel connected to the members and ministry of this spirit filled church.
As we continue this new journey, we hope to stay true to the mission, vision, and values of SPC. As a mission church we are called to be a “bridge to Christ through faith and service”. When we live our mission, people will see Christ working in their lives and be inspired to follow. Most important, when we live our call and walk the path with Jesus, we become more accepting, caring, spirit-led people equipped for outreach and service.
Until we meet again…peace.
Rev. Julie Sterling