“Hope Together, Grow in Faith”
I indicated in the last newsletter how much I enjoy the church season of Lent with taking on something or letting go of something in order to be more mindful of God. Not sure how you personally are going about your Lenten practice, but speaking for myself over the last few weeks I did not intend to give up this much! Considering we are all going through this together, there is a great deal we could name depending on how school closings, job adjustments, daily routines, and of course concern for the health of others, has impacted us.
Knowing that many of us might be having a hard time the next month or two, if there is any way the church can help you with groceries or other types of assistance, please give me a call, which will remain confidential. Many things the church normally does at the moment are on pause, but taking care of the extended New Hope family is not one of them.
Now to that looming question, which has been on my mind too, what about Easter and Holy Week? Many options have been considered like having worship services in shifts with small numbers, to parking lot churches, or other open air type gatherings. All those options though initially appealing, come at too great a risk for those having to implement them, as well as, the participants. Given Gastonia’s “stay at home” guidelines until April 16th trying to workout a round about way for a physical gathering does not help our city or hospital workers who are counting on us to make good decisions that help keep them safe.
So here is how Session has best decided to go forward. All of Holy Week including Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise, and the Easter 11:00 a.m. service will be done digitally with videos/streaming on Facebook live. Look for a more detailed schedule of days and times elsewhere in the newsletter. For those who do not have access to the internet, the manuscripts of the services, prayers, and sermons will continue to be sent to you through the mail to keep everyone connected as best as possible. While this is definitely a new experience for us, this will at least provide an opportunity for reflection and worship as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
This also comes with a reminder that in a post resurrection world, there is no day we do not celebrate Easter. We are an Easter people which means we look for the new life of God day in and day out. Christ’s victory over the grave far exceeds one particular movable Sunday that happens to be after the paschal full moon in Spring. With that being said, I understand more than most how important it is to celebrate Easter with certain rituals and especially together in person.
Since we celebrate Easter every Sunday, there is nothing wrong what so ever with celebrating it twice! On Sunday, April 12th, we will mark the day with worship digitally, but whenever we return to worshipping together in our sanctuary we will have an Easter service, and celebrate it in all of its pageantry. We will sing the hymns, proclaim the old story, hang the banners, break out our Easter best, and celebrate the empty tomb together! If we are lucky we will even have a few Lilies to add in the sanctuary. That is something to look forward to, and what a day it will be!
That is the plan as of now, and if something drastically happens in the next week we will adjust accordingly. A flexible church, is a healthy church, and we have certainly been showing that resilience together as a community through all the various ways we have been checking on one another, and holding one another in prayer. A powerful witness to the risen Lord.
Peace to you and yours!
Children & Youth News
“Hello Everybody! I bring to you an update about the Youth and Youth related events for the this month. We will be meeting in Zoom running parallel to the adult Wednesday class as an opportunity to talk with one another and see how everyone is doing. We will also be organizing something similar for Sunday afternoons during this time as well. We are also working on getting some online games going to be able to spend time together while being virtually distant. As far as I know, the Youth are doing good and excited about being able to return to church and see everyone once we are passed this pandemic!
Also, prayers for Harvey as he recovers from his bike wreck!
A Note from the Finance Committee
We hope everyone is well and staying at home if possible. To those of you who are essential workers and cannot stay home – we thank you for your care of others. If anyone needs assistance, please let the church know.
We miss our Sunday mornings together and visiting with those who cannot make it to church. This is uncertain times for all of us and the church. Previously we may not have come to church on Sunday because of weather or being out of town or not feeling well but not because of the need for social distance. Although this is what is needed at this time, it does not make it any easier for us not to be able to gather as a family of believers.
We are excited to share that we have set up an account with tithe.ly which allows you to make a contribution to the church online or with a device (smart phone or tablet). With your smart phone or tablet you download the app (search for tithe.ly). Be sure to download the app that says tithe.ly and is green – not the blue app that says Church App–tithe.ly (I am speaking from the voice of experience). To set up your account and make your contribution on line you can go to our website (https://nhpchurch.com) and click on online giving or go to https://tithe.ly.
Tithe.ly allows you to make a one-time contribution or recurring contributions. You can use a credit or debit card or you can set it up to draft from your back account (using your bank account will take the least amount of fees out of your payment). There is also a place you can indicate you want to cover the transaction fee, once you log in choose New Hope Presbyterian Church to send your donation. If you will be sending your offering by mail, please know we are checking the mail daily and will make deposits weekly.
We hope that you will be able to continue to support our church financially but we understand that everyone is being impacted by the coronavirus and your giving ability may change. It is helpful to remember that financial giving is only one part of our stewardship toward the church along with our spiritual gifts and time. It is a balance of all three components. During this challenging time, please give financially as you can but more importantly, please pray for our church, our church family, our community and our world.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~Max Lucado
Risa , Chair
Updates regarding Holy week services
Maundy Thursday Service Adjustments
On April 9th (Maundy Thursday) at 6:00 pm on our Facebook page we will be posting three video links. The Rev. James Holman (who is the minister at Union Presbyterian) and I are having a digital Maundy Thursday service together. We will be focusing on Peter’s refusal to wash Jesus’ feet and Pilate’s insistence to wash his hands in condemning Jesus who was innocent. James will have a video discussing Peter, and I will post a video discussing Pilate. James and I decided to do the theme of “washing” many weeks ago, but ironically it does seem timely!
The third video we will post is a digital communion for you at home, which for those polity types, has been approved by our denomination during these usual circumstances. You do not need grape juice or bread. Any beverage will suffice as well as crackers, cookies, or something similar. While this is unique to say the least, it will allow us to further reflect on the Last Supper and the last time Jesus met with his disciples before his crucifixion. A manuscript of this service will be mailed to the phone tree list.
Good Friday Service Adjustments
Similar to the Maundy Thursday Service, on Good Friday April 10 we will be posting a “Tenebre Service” for you to follow along in your home at 6:00 pm. Sadly, we will not be able to worship this year with Olney, Robinson, or Union Presbyterian Churches as we are accustom to doing on Good Friday. However, this at home Good Friday Service will still be a reflective time to consider and hear the story of the crucifixion in its totality. We will also be extinguishing light as we normally do in a tenebre service. Once again, a manuscript of this service will be mailed to the phone tree list.
Sunrise Service and 11:00 am Easter Service Adjustments
We are still having a Sunrise service, but like the other services in Holy Week it will also be posted as a video on April 12 at 7:00 am. This year, instead of in the graveyard at the church, the service will be filmed outside on the Catawba River, specifically on the dock behind Chris’ house. We will welcome the Easter dawn waking up with the rest of creation on the river.
For the 11:00 am Easter service it will be posted like we have normally been having our Sunday morning digital services on Facebook.
Both the manuscript of the sunrise service and 11:00 am Easter service will be mailed to the phone tree list.
At this time the church’s regular functions have been suspended and the office is closed in regards to its normal hours of 8-1. We are still checking email, mail, and voice mail daily. If you have any questions about a specific function please call the office. When these events resume, a notification will be sent out by email and phone tree.
Our Regular Wednesday Night Bible Study and Dinner has been suspended as of now. However, for those who would like to join on Zoom at 6:30pm we are having a weekly check in, time of prayer, and condensed Bible study. We will finish Revelation once we resume our regular Wednesday Dinner and Bible Study in person. For information on how to access Zoom, be sure to check your email each week!
hot dog super
WEDNESDAY JUNE 10, 6:00 PM
Please join us for an evening of food and fellowship. Food and drinks will be provided. You do not need to bring anything – just show up! We will enjoy a hot dog dinner together and visit with our church family.
Have You Heard We Are Getting New Hymnals?
It is called “Glory to God!”
As we often do with a new hymnal, if you’d like to dedicate a hymnal as a memorial or in honor of someone that is certainly possible. To dedicate a hymnal the cost is twenty dollars, which will help offset the final total cost to replace all the hymnals. There will be a form available in the entrance of the sanctuary, much like we do when we dedicate poinsettias. Given we are out of the sanctuary for the foreseeable future, and to insure plenty of time and spread the word, the collection of memorials and honorariums has been extended indefinitely until we return to worship in the sanctuary. If you’d like more information on how to dedicate a hymnal, feel free to call the church office.
- Discussed the revamping of our bookkeeping system and modernizing how we keep our financial records, including the progress of a quickbooks consultant the church hired.
- Discussed the possibility of having a preschool “toddler class” no action was taken at this time.
- Discussed how to better implement online giving on our webpage, the possibility of podcasts, and other media.
- Discussed preparation for pine needle sale and Holy Week/Easter.
- Approved the installation of a playground behind the church with the funds collected from the preschool “bike-a-thon.
crisis assistance ministry
The Service Committee reports we collected 11 bags for CAM last month. The following items are needed for our next collection.
Regular and Instant Grits
Regular and Instant Oatmeal
Pancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Fruit (Pineapple, Pears, Fruit cocktail &Peaches)
Small Bags of Sugar, Flour & Rice
Canned Meat (Tuna, Salmon, Chicken, Spam & Beef Stew)
Condiments (Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup etc.)
Tomato and Progresso Soup (Only)
Small containers of Laundry Detergent
Shampoo and Bar Soap