Dear Saints and Friends of Cherokee Presbytery,
You may have seen the meme floating around the internet to the effect that:
This has been the Lentiest Lent Ever!
The churches and people of Cherokee Presbytery continue to offer the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in these challenging times. Thank you for your faithfulness and perseverance!
Opportunities and resources continue to emerge from all sorts of places! You may know of some of these. If you have other resources to share, please let me know.
- Worship continues! This is Holy Week. It is not what we expected. But it is the story of God''''s love through suffering of Crucifixion and celebration with Resurrection! Churches across the Presbytery and the world are finding ways to join in this most important Christian celebration. One resource that is available is from our denomination, the PCUSA. A video worship service is available to stream here. Some churches will use portions of this in their own local worship service via Facebook Live, YouTube, Zoom or other electronic platforms.
- Education, ministry and mission continues! So many folks who have used various platforms for groups, classes and meetings! Last week, we shared a page of faith formation resources developed by Billie Sutter. Please refer to them for your assistance. In addition a Facebook group for church educators in Cherokee has been formed. Additional resources are available there. Please keep up the good work.
- Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) of the CARES Act - Last week the PPP came on line so that churches, small businesses and non-profits may take advantage of supplemental funding through a loan and grant program of the recent law. Word is that experiences with banks have been uneven. Please share your experience with me - the good, the bad or the ugly.
- The Board of Pensions is offering dues relief to smaller membership churches. You can find additional information here. I have heard some interesting things as churches consider applying for this benefit as well as the PPP. While there can be no doubt we will all be adversely impacted by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some congregations have stronger financial reserves than others. This is not just a reflection of membership size. The Board of Pensions action is to assist congregations in "extreme need." That term is undefined. Please be thoughtful and faithful in your consideration of your own circumstances. This opportunity will exist for several months.
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) offer several resources for this time. They established an emergency grant program for ministries that are in needed of immediate short term funding. PDA is also offering webinars for emotion and spiritual care. Additional PDA resources can be found here.
We all are wondering: what is next? Gil Rendle, a church consultant suggests in
that instead of fixing problems, churches plan by asking questions like these:
- Who are we?
- Who is our neighbor?
- What are we called to do?
He then adds that we can ask that question and add "now."
- Who are we now?
- Who is our neighbor now?
- What are we called to do now?
There will come a time when we emerge from this isolation and quarantine. We will be changed. Some of the ways we will have changed will be immediately seen. Some will emerge only over time. Some changes will stay around. Others may not. What matters is not the change. What matters is what we learn from these changes. so that we can move forward in meaningful and useful ways to share the wonder of God''''s love through Jesus Christ. We do this not for our own benefit. We do this as individuals and together as thanksgiving for God''''s gift of life.