From Pastor Leslie Latham May 26, 2020
Dear members and friends of First Presbyterian Church,
Grace and peace be with you, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope and pray this letter finds you well.As you likely know, Western New York has moved into Phase One of coming out of our stay at home orders. We are so grateful for all those who have stayed put to keep others safe.
Your session, deacons and volunteers have been working hard; some staff members putting in hours well above and beyond what they’re paid for, and all flexing new creative skills to make sure our ministry and mission continues. We have increased communication—written, personal, and online, in an effort to make sure everyone knows the church itself never closed.
During these strange times, we never missed a single worship service; in fact, during Holy Week we held more services than we possibly could have with just one pastor and musician. We have weekly prayer and Bible study on Wednesday evenings at 6:30. You can call into that service on any phone if you don’t have or prefer not to use online Zoom (that information is in the letter every week—please let me know if you need help signing in). Session has continued to meet, and the Deacons have continued their ministry of compassion. The older kids’ Sunday School class has met every week, and Billy is meeting with the youth on Friday evenings. We continue to look for ways to reach out and stay in touch, and are grateful for the feedback we’ve gotten.
On Sunday, May 24, session met to talk about when the building will reopen for worship. We agree that we do not wish to gather until everyone—old, young, healthy and those with underlying conditions—can come into the building, wearing masks of course, maintaining social distancing, and sanitizing hands at the door. The thought of worshiping with only part of our church family unwelcome is simply unacceptable. Every level of the Presbyterian Church: presbytery, synod and general assembly, has urged our churches to exercise caution in order to keep worshipers safe.
Thus, we will gather in person, if the way be clear, on September 13. We will continue our virtual worship as well, and are imagining ways for our Ken-Ton-Vale Cooperative to continue. Pastors Rebecca Chaffee, Dorothy Pearman and I will have further conversations, and we are creating a 3-church team to talk about this continuing model. We have been grateful for the gifts each church has brought to our worship, and hope you have been as blessed as we have. If you would prefer, we also have CD’s and DVD’s of the complete service available every week. Call me at 490-0420 and I’ll make sure you get a copy.
Please make sure you look at the enclosed special announcement and invitation to our online ordination and installation of our new officers on June 7.
With love, Pastor Leslie