TO: Our Church Family
FROM: Pastor Carl
RE: Church Status Update
DATE: April 2, 2020
Greeting Church Family,
This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Provided to all yesterday was the last lesson of our Lenten Series: Taste. I pray that you have taken the time to read and ponder the messages delivered in the series. I believe our Lenten series was timely and should be used as a means to help us all to refocus on what is important to us in these challenging times.
Someday, within the near future, I trust to share with our family a thought that I believe we need to comprehend the future, to face ALL the challenges we may incur in our lived existence. Until then, hear what God has communicated to us from His word:
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2 Corinthians 4:6-8
Without going into a full-blown explanation of this, just know the short of this is as follows. EVERYTHING that we go through and how we go through them are designed to determine in we will glorify God by being faithful. This means, HOW we deal with our current challenges defines who we are and whose we are – our life and how we live becomes a testimony for God’s glory.
Please know and remember God is with us and wants our lives to bear testimony of Christ so that we can be light to a world that is in darkness.
Early this week, I, with Ruth Costa, Chair of Deacons, Chris Vargo, Chair of Trustees, Phil Liscio, Moderator, and Kirsten Vargo, Interim CE Director, to discuss where we are and what our next steps should be.
A summation of our discussion and decisions are:
Ruth Costa confirmed with agreement from the deacons to have the sanctuary to remain closed until April 30th. This position of the sanctuary closure will be reevaluated midmonth, with additional information being provided based upon where we are in light of our current challenges.
Chris Vargo and the trustees are meeting via teleconferencing to cover issues and concerns deemed a necessity at this time.
The trustees have also approved Cathy Sabatino's absence during this period of crisis. In Cathy’s absence, Judy Ewry has made herself available to handle the flow of incoming mail and the orderly logging of checks for our bank deposits.
Phil Lisico, with Westies Care in collaboration with Vertical Church, will cease their current operations of feedings from our church until a future date. This action has caused a realignment of resources, which includes an expansion of our services, which now includes the office of the Mayor and West Haven Rotarians. (Additional information is provided below.) However, Alex Kitchen has chosen to continue to provide lunch as usual. The trustees are concerned but have opted to allow the volunteers of AK to continue to operate with adherence to strict safety protocols and safe church policies.
Reported by Phil is that this new collaborative effort early this week resulted in a one-day feeding of 500 families. The process used now of drop and go is conducted on the grounds of Vertical Church. Cars pull up, prepacked box/bagged food items are loading in the back of automobiles, and they drive off. Now with the expanded collaboration coming online, more families will be engaged, and we are currently seeking to expand this to make sure that those who may be without vehicles can have their needs met also. There are still a lot of moving parts here with all the new partners coming online, and my summary is just that, a summary, to which I will ask Phil to give a more detailed update to all of us at a later.
Kirsten Vargo has started and continues to provide the children with lessons and activities to assist them in staying connected in their faith development.
PASTOR FINAL THOUGHTS
As a final thought, some have asked what they should do if they would like to continue to give to our church or make donations to all that we are doing. If anyone desires to give, please know that there is a mailbox on the church street side of the church. All pledges, offering, and donations can be dropped in our inbox, and they will be processed accordingly. There is also a dropbox where the treasurer, etc. are, across the hall of our secretary.
As always, I extend my thanks and appreciation to all the chairs, the moderator, committees, and workers, many who are working behind the scenes but are crucial to our continued success.
Lastly, many thanks to all of you, the faithful members of First Church.
Please continue to keep each other in prayer.