Welcome to New Hope Presbyterian Church! If you are looking for a church home, or just passing through the area, we hope you will join us for worship on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. We are an intergeneration church, and faithful members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Our mission as a church is “hope together, grow in faith.” Everyone is welcomed!
UPDATE: May 16, 2020
I want to give a window into some of our discussion at Session this past Tuesday night in regards to where we are with in person worship. I know that discussion is near and dear to us all! As I’m sure we are aware, we are currently in “Phase 1” of NC’s stay at home order which limits houses of worship to gatherings of ten or less. “Phase 2” potentially begins on May 22nd, and that will also include restrictions for houses of worship at a greatly reduced capacity. As to just how much is unclear at the moment.
It is also apparent that any type of gathering during “Phase 2” would require us to take considerable adjustments to what we consider “normal” worship. Here are a few questions that were brought up in the meeting…
What is the appropriate tension between risk, exposure, and being true to who we are and our rituals as a community? Supposing “Phase 2” limits gatherings to 50 or less, are we going to turn away the 51st person? Or, if even 100 people are allowed and 80 people attend, do we have enough room in our facility to safely sit folks at require distance of the six feet still required in “Phase 2?” Is it practical to sit through worship in a mask, and can we provide them? Is it practical being together six feet apart, with no hugs, handshakes, choir, greeting line, congregational singing, nursery or children’s church? How do we limit foot traffic in the rest of the building where people are in close proximity like bathrooms, Sunday school rooms, office, doorways and exits? Can we provide the deep cleaning for our facility before and after each gathering, while also not putting our volunteers at risk?
The list goes on, and the question ultimately becomes do we resume in person worship in a spirit of confining caution or a spirit of open celebration?
Session’s conclusion at the meeting was until we know exactly what “Phase 2” means as far as occupancy and restrictions it is simply too unclear of how we might answer these questions while keeping all safe. Knowing the next week or two will shed much needed light on this whole situation, we are going to meet again with a special called meeting on June 2nd when hopefully these hypothetical questions can become more tangible.
I’ll be the first to say when this began, I never envisioned we would be out this long, and I also envisioned returning as if we could just fling open the doors and pick up exactly as we left off. The hard reality I’ve been processing is it is not working like that, or unfolding in any way I envisioned. Some days I’m angry this is continuing the way it has and I’m just mad somehow simultaneously at nothing and everything. Some days I’m sad beyond belief as much of what I feel personally called to do in ministry cannot physically happen. Hear me when I say, I am as ready as anyone to get back to in person worship.
So we dig deep to remember this is situation is not about what I or any of us envisioned. It seems every day I have to pause to remember there is more at stake than my own desires or priorities, and we are all being asked to take into account the safety and wellbeing of all our members for awhile longer.
And yet…The days are surely coming when we will gather again. As hard as it is to see this week, potlucks in the fellowship hall will return. Baptisms will happen again and communion will be passed in person. We are getting closer to when we can walk in church and not be alarmed at every cough or sneeze in the pew next to us. We will get there, and we will get there together.
Be looking for another update once we meet on June 2nd. Until then, we keep on doing what we are best at which is being a caring and resilient church, looking out for one another, and holding each other in prayer. We will continue to meet digitally for the rest of May, and in the words of the Apostle Paul, “Bear one another’s burdens and in doing so share the love of Christ.”
As always, feel free to call me if you have any questions.
Please continue to check in with each other and keep those prayers going!
Hopefully see everyone on Facebook Sunday morning!
Peace to you and yours,