Introduction

Social distancing. Quarantine. Self-isolation. Live streaming. Stay-at-home. Zoom meetings.

 

Words that were not previously part of our vocabulary at the First Presbyterian Church of Flint, but now we cannot imagine going a day without hearing them or saying them. Our world has felt as if someone turned everything upside-down, and we aren't sure which way to go. 

To minimize the risk of virus transmission, the elders of our congregation have followed local guidelines and state law and have closed our building until such a time as it is deemed safe to gather in larger groups. We took this action as a concrete act of love for the at-risk population of our church.  

But while our building remains closed to the public, we never cancelled church, for the church has always and will always remain the people of God, whom the Scriptures name the body of Christ. 

A full Sunday liturgy continues to be offered, albeit live streamed to our family rooms. We have even added a daily liturgy in the mornings so that we might join together more regularly in prayer. Service to the community continues through sewing masks, food distribution, pen-pal ministry, phone calls, serving breakfast meals to-go on Sundays, and performing what Rev. Paul Ytterock calls "guerilla blessings" to area care facilities. We have not stopped being church and we will not stop.

We know that this season we are in is temporary and we long to know what is coming next and when we will be gathered back together. 

To aid the elders of our congregation in making decisions, we have drafted and approved the following guide, presented here on this site. We call it Transition 312. Over the next year, the elders of the church will determine how and when to make public gatherings possible. 

 

Our commitment to the safety and health of the most vulnerable in our congregation remains our foremost priority, and we would rather err on the side of caution than rush into public gatherings that put people at risk of contracting COVID-19. 

As you familiarize yourself with this guide, be sure to offer prayer on behalf of our elders, our pastors, and our staff, that they might rightly discern what to do and where the Spirit is directing our congregation.