Covid-19 // OUR Response

Updates and Response

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COVID-19 information is changing rapidly. Over the coming weeks, we'll use this space to update our congregation and community on FPC's steps to respond to the virus and to share ways you can help.  

If you want to learn more about COVID-19, please review the CDC's information.

If you have any needs, questions or concerns to share with your church family, please contact our congregational care coordinator, Becky Holmes.  

In all things, we trust in the Lord Jesus to guide us through these times. We will not be a people of fear but instead be the hands and feet of Jesus serving the needs of our community.

Church, today we have a great opportunity to be salt and light.

Guiding principlEs

Drawing on help from other churches as well as our own doctors, the leadership at FPC is developing some guiding principles to help us prepare and act for the future.  Currently, we have charted five principles to help guide our decision making process in the weeks ahead.  Please read more about what each of these principles means for us.  

  1. We want to be and act as the church.
  2. We want to act with wisdom and courage, not anxiety.
  3. We want to be good community members.
  4. We want to protect the elderly and the vulnerable.
  5. We want to be wise stewards.

Updates

April 4, 2020

Our worship guide for Palm Sunday and Children's IMPACT lesson are now available online and have been sent to all Covenant Partners.  The service will livestream tomorrow at 11:00 am.  If the livestream doesn't work, try this alternate link. If you didn't get the email and belong to the FPC family, please email Becky Holmes.

Please check our Holy Week Page for ongoing worship opportunities this week.

Other Opportunities This Week
  • The Field's Edge, one of our partner ministries serving the Midland homeless community, has a volunteer opportunity they asked us to share with our congregation. (Please be mindful of best social distancing practices in all that you do.)
  • The Attic Foster Network, another one of our local partner ministries that serves foster and adoptive families, asked us to share that they are opening up their upcoming virtual parent training to the community. This training equips parents, teachers and other caring adults to help children navigate emotionally difficult and traumatic circumstances. Given the upheaval in life and work we're all experiencing, this becomes relevant to more and more of us.
  • is putting together a little 'Get Well Soon' album for Mr. Hyle Doss. He's worked his magic a lot of times through the years, and we want to encourage him as he recovers from a fall. Please email Debbie a picture of your child (young or old) holding a quarter by Wednesday to be included in this fun surprise.
April 1, 2020

Please read the congregational letter from Pastor Steve today regarding our Holy Week worship schedule. 

"...We are approaching Holy Week. Given the current events, we decided to move our Holy Week services online as we recognize the continuing efforts to avoid spreading Covid-19. I still believe our best motivation for this is to love our neighbors as ourselves - to be the best neighbors. Certainly, right now “good neighboring” involves doing what we can to “level the curve” of the virus’ spread in our community."

Links to the worship services will be shared on our Holy Week 2020 page as the days draw nearer, but we invite you to plan on participating in worship at the following times.

  • Palm Sunday,  11:00 am, April 5*
  • Maundy Thursday, 7:00 pm, April 9
  • Good Friday, 7:00 pm, April 10
  • Easter Sunday, 11:00 am, April 12

    *For Palm Sunday, please plan on stopping by the church on Friday, April 3 or Saturday, April 4 to pick up some palm branches that your family can use in worship together Sunday.  The branches will be in buckets outside the main entrance on Texas Street.
March 28, 2020

In preparation for our weekend worship together at home, we wanted to provide our March 29 Order of Worship and Song Sheets.  Please gather with your family and join us Sunday, March 22 at 11:00 for our online service.

Our children's ministry director, Debbie Gainer, has also provided links to this week's IMPACT lesson for our children to participate in tomorrow morning.  You can also email her for some printable activities, if you haven't already received that from her.

A final tech support note: Like internet services across the country, our church website platform is being stretched to its max, with thousands of churches across the country using the same platform at around the same time to broadcast services.  In the event that the website is malfunctioning tomorrow, please check your email for an alternative link.

We know these are trying times on many levels; we are all feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the current circumstances.  But we can come together in worship and prayer and lift our eyes to the Lord where our help comes from.  If we can pray for you during these days, please let us know.

March 27, 2020

Hello Church!  We just wanted to share a few encouraging things today with you.  Did you see this worship + prayer moment put together by Brendyn, Dee, Eli and Pastor Charles?  We'll have another one to share next Wednesday. Our FPC food pantry is partnering with De Zavala Elementary and preparing Pantry Bags that they can pass out during their Friday lunch distributions.  Right now we're averaging about 50 well-stocked pantry bags per week and might be scaling up!  In an effort to honor social distancing guidelines, we don't currently need volunteers for this effort, but we do want you to pray for each and every family receiving those bags!  Finally, Pastor Charles is organizing a project to deliver care packages to our home-bound members.  He's been collecting artwork and letters to put in them.  Contact him if you haven't yet had a chance to be involved.  One last thing: We'd love to hear from you!  Please share more ways you see the Church rising up in this time of crisis and fear.  We have not lost hope, for we know the one who overcomes the world!  

March 23, 2020

Pastor Steve prepared a new morning and evening prayers guide for this week.  Covenant Partners should have received by email.  If you did not, please email Becky Holmes as we want to be sure everyone is receiving updates. It's also available for download.  

March 21, 2020

In preparation for our weekend worship together at home, we wanted to provide our March 22 Order of Worship and Song Sheets.  Please gather with your family and join us Sunday, March 22 at 11:00 for our online service.

Our children's ministry director, Debbie Gainer, has also put together a worship plan for our children to enjoy tomorrow morning.  

March 18, 2020

Dear FPC Family,

Grace and peace to all of you! 

We are, all of us, in the first week of social distancing and self-quarantine (at least for some) which may continue for some time.  While there is a lot of uncertainty and plenty of anxiety to go around, there are also a few opportunities that we might not otherwise have had.  One of those is to embrace the slowing down.  We have been pushed out of normal routines and habits, and therefore we have a unique opportunity to engage in a “spiritual rhythm” or two that could significantly help us draw close to God, and thus help us find some calm and peace in the midst of the storm. 
 
I want to encourage one spiritual rhythm concerning prayer.  For thousands of years followers of Jesus have practiced morning and evening prayers (also noontime).  Since most of us don’t have to rush to get kids off to school or ourselves out the door, it’s the perfect time to try this practice.  I'm providing a pattern of morning and evening prayer that I have used before (rather inconsistently, I must admit).  Still, there is something profound that happens to us, when we begin and end the day with the Lord.  Please feel free to modify this for yourself and your family.  These are some of the written prayers and suggested Psalms that I find helpful.  Not everyone likes written prayers.  Always, prayer is intended to come from the heart.  Even so, for me, these prayers have helped take me beyond just my own concerns and keep me  “in step” with the Holy Spirit. 
 
Most importantly, I believe God is calling us to pray. We can all do this.  Even though we cannot meet together for a time, we can join together in seeking our Lord and praying for one another, our community and the world.  We can be united in regular, consistent times of prayer - in the morning and in the evening. 

“God is our very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change . . . only be still and know that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.  The Lord of host is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge!”  (Ps. 46)
 
May the Lord of peace, give you peace at all times!  The Lord be with you all!
Pastor Steve

March 17, 2020

From now through Monday, March 30, all of our staff will begin working from home. All ministry meetings, outside groups, and gatherings will be canceled or moved online. These are our current plans for now, but some of these plans may be extended depending on future developments. While our face-to-face interactions may be momentarily suspended, we will still be the church.

Please read further details in the e-mail that was sent to all Covenant Partners today.  If you are a covenant partner of FPC and didn't get this email and want to ensure you get future emails, please let Becky Holmes know.

March 16, 2020

Many things are developing and changing, and we appreciate your patience as we work through so many unknowns. 

School Partnerships
If you want to help us as we're developing plans to better support De Zavala and Midland High with their food insecure students, please e-mail Alison Gaynor.  

Other Community Needs
One additional community need we've become aware of is for volunteers to step up with the West Texas Food Bank and Meals on Wheels.  Both of these entities typically rely on older volunteers, and those are the very same volunteers who are being encouraged to stay home.  If you're interested in helping directly with one of these ministries, please contact them:

West Texas Food Bank 
For every $1, the food bank is able to provide 4 meals. They have a massive job to do, especially during a time such as this. By donating time and money, this organization is able to continue giving to those in need, while supporting multiple other food pantries across the city.
To Volunteer | To Donate

Meals on Wheels
To ensure that our seniors and elderly population receive the meals they need, Meals on Wheels, a service of Senior Life Midland, needs additional assistance with their program.
To Volunteer 

March 14, 2020 

In preparation for worshiping together online tomorrow at 11:00 am, we wanted to make our Order of Worship available.  If possible, print this and we'll still have corporate worship together... just virtually!  

March 13, 2020 

Dear Congregation,

We will not be meeting for corporate worship on Sunday, March 15.

We made this decision after much prayer, seeking wise counsel, conversations with local health authorities and a specific request from city leadership. Without a current local outbreak, this may lead some to think that we are taking extreme measures out of fear. This is not the case. We trust our Lord Jesus to guide us through these times. Specifically, we are not to be a people of fear, but instead be the hands and feet of Jesus serving the needs of our community. Therefore, this is a step we take after prayer for wisdom and discernment. It is motivated entirely out of our desire to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that means doing everything we can to avoid transmitting the virus.

We implore all members of the FPC family to not see this cancellation as cause for undue anxiety. It remains true that for the vast majority of individuals with Covid-19, the illness is mild to moderate. It also remains true that there are currently no known cases locally. Individually, there is no need for severe alarm. Held in tension with this reality is the knowledge that public health experts are concerned about overwhelming local medical facilities with too many severe cases, should an outbreak occur. Public health officials across the nation have articulated that if we want to see the same outcomes that China and South Korea have achieved – that is a relatively quick downturn in the number of new cases – extreme steps toward containment must be taken even at a time when it may not seem that the level of local cases merits an extreme response. Health officials want to avoid Italy’s trajectory.

For us, as followers of Jesus, our own fears (or relief that we are going to be ok) must be tempered by our concern for the vulnerable. No one is expendable and we recognize the need for the Church to care for even “the least of these,” especially in times like this. A relatively simple step for us to take in the beginning is to support our local medical community and community leaders by helping prevent the spread of the virus by eliminating possible opportunities for transmission.

We are having worship via livestream on our website this coming Sunday at 11:00 am, or you can listen on the radio (96.9) at the same time. We will continue to use this page to provide updates to our Covid-19 response as a church community. As you know, the situation is changing rapidly, so please check this page frequently to find out the most up-to-date information regarding our response to the virus. You’ll also find we’ve articulated the guiding principles we are using to make decisions moving forward.

So please stay home. Stay tuned for at-home worship opportunities. Check on your neighbors, especially those who are at greater risk. Go on a walk with your family. Share your toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Pray, and above all, take heart! God is our deliverer and is always with us!

Blessings,
Steve Schorr
Pastor