September 6, 2020
We have exciting news regarding our worship schedule…there’s a lot of information here, so please take the time to read this announcement in its entirety.
IT’S TIME…We are moving back to Sundays!
Beginning September 13th, we are implementing a temporary Sunday schedule designed to simply move us that next right step toward normalcy. We will host 100 people per service by registration. Here’s the schedule:
9:00 am — Traditional Service
11:00 am — Sunday school (online/Zoom)
5:00 pm — Contemporary Service
A couple things you need to know:
- We have crafted a plan that is consistent with the guiding principles for reopening that the session established in May 2020.
- We are committed to ensuring that no one is left out of the Sunday worship experience. Therefore, for those who are unable to join us in person, we are holding the traditional service at 9:00 am so that we can record it and have it posted online, that same day, around noon. In the same way, the contemporary service will be recorded and posted online that evening.
- That means that this schedule IS NOT PERMANENT. We are simply providing the opportunity to worship together on Sundays in a way that is safe and meaningful. Participants in the traditional service do not need to worry that the service will be at 9:00 am permanently. Participants in the contemporary service do not need to worry that the service will be held in the evening permanently. Your leadership and staff are very aware of concerns over changes to the worship schedule in the past…we are not taking advantage of the pandemic to make permanent changes.
- We are confident that IT’S TIME because we are convinced that the cleaning and safety protocols we have established on campus provide for a safe environment for worship. Not only do we have effective protocols in place, but the participants in our live service recordings have been so very patient and cooperative throughout this season. That allows us to trust that we can expand attendance and begin to gather as a larger group. As we have said previously, if you are leaving the house for any reason, First Pres is a safe place to gather! We are as safe or safer than any grocery store or restaurant.
Two important notes about our procedures and what to expect on Sundays:
- We are expanding the attendance limit to 100 people. We can still maintain safety and distancing by opening up the balcony and the side pews. You will still need to register but there is no deadline for registration. If the service is full you will receive that message and will be unable to register. If you receive a confirmation, then your registration is successful and we will look forward to seeing you!
- We will continue to wear masks during worship. This allows us to have music and congregational singing. We will be taking temperatures and asking you not to attend if you are experiencing any symptoms of a contagious illness, including those identified as symptoms of COVID-19.
- In the coming weeks we will make decisions about programs for children during worship, Beth and her team are currently working on options for nursery and kid’s church.
- We will also continue to evaluate our ability to host small groups, classes, and outside groups over the coming weeks.
Another very important part of the next phase in reopening—we are now able to schedule and hold memorial services and weddings in a limited capacity for 100 attendees or less. We grieve that we have not been able to safely gather for these important events, now is the time to begin to celebrate new life together and remember the lives of those we have loved and lost. If your family would like more information about scheduling a service, please contact [email protected].
The goal is to encourage the church to return to gathered worship on Sundays in a safe a responsible way while still making it possible to record and post a service that same day for those who are unable to attend. We truly believe…IT’S TIME! So starting today, you can register for worship on September 13th! So enjoy our online service today, and we can’t wait to see you in the sanctuary on September 13th at either 9 am or 5 pm.
You are loved, you are missed, you are the church and we can’t wait to see you again and celebrate the good news of Jesus and his coming Kingdom!
On behalf of the session and staff,
August 29, 2020
Helping our Neighbors
Covenant Partners and Friends,
What a blessing from God that our community was not too badly impacted by Hurricane Laura. As we acknowledge His protective hand over us, please consider opening your hearts to an opportunity to be His light and to help our brothers and sisters in Lake Charles.
Elder Bill Ford has been working with the Lake Houston Responds Coalition (LHRC) to coordinate and expedite relief efforts in disaster situations. Bill and the team have identified 3 ways for our congregation to help:
- Supply donations (listed below) are being collected at Kingwood United Methodist Church, 1799 Woodland Hills Dr, Kingwood, TX 77339.
- Supplies will be accepted on Sunday, 8/30 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. and Monday, 8/30 and from 9 a.m. – noon.
- Financial donations are also greatly appreciated. Financial donations may be made at:
- If you feel called to go to Louisiana, we are planning to send a team. The details are still being worked out but if you are interested, please contact Roland Zavala ([email protected]), Mark Smith ([email protected]) or Bill Ford ([email protected]).
Supplies accepted at Kingwood United Methodist Church:
- Bottled Water/Gatorade
- Box Cutters/Razors
- PPE (masks, Hand Sanitizer, Clorox Wipes)
- Nails/Hammers/Pliers/Work Gloves
- Gift Cards (gas, Walmart, Home Depot)
- Baby essentials (Diapers, Wipes, Formula)
- Non-perishable food items
August 24, 2020
Updates Regarding Tropical Storms Laura and Marco
With tropical storms Laura and Marco in the Gulf, this week, we have decided we will not be holding in-person Worship recordings. We are working as a church staff to prepare and equip our Sent Groups and key Covenant Partners to serve our community if needed. We are also in contact with our coalition partners at Lake Houston Responds and will continue to monitor the situation.
We will have our regular services online Sunday for all of our Covenant Partners and our extended church family.
For easy to follow and reliable weather updates, we recommend visiting https://spacecityweather.com.
For more information about our coalition partners at Lake Houston Responds, please visit https://www.houstonresponds.org/lakehouston.
Watch the weather, stay safe, check in on one another, and know that you are loved,
Your Church Staff
July 25, 2020
Headlines and Happenings…
Hey church! Some important updates about what’s happening in the life of the church. We know this is long, but everything on here is important, so please read all the way through!
Even More Ways to Engage on Sunday Mornings!
We are excited to announce that we are adding more access to our online services, and more access to our staff, each Sunday! Those of you who watch our services on our website or on Vimeo on Sunday mornings, don’t worry, there’s no change to the way you access worship. You will continue to find the links to our services every Sunday morning on our website. So keep engaging with us!
In addition to our website access, starting this Sunday, July 26, we will begin streaming our services on Facebook Premier! The Traditional Service will go live at 11:15 am and the Contemporary at 5:00 pm. Simply open your Facebook feed and join us! Members of the church staff will be online hosting the Facebook Live stream. You can even share the service with your family and friends! So join us in worship, check in and chat with us, let us know how you’re doing and how we can be praying for you!
A successful Rocky Railway VBS
Big thanks to the team that produced and released our 2020 Rocky Railway VBS this week! Beth Jewett, Stephanie Burger, Emily Omaña, Margie Freeman, Erin Beltz, Kristy Lanier, Garrett Tatum and many others put in the hours to provide the kids of First Pres with this amazing online adventure. We can’t wait to see all the kiddos again soon, but we are grateful for those who put in so much time and energy to keep this important ministry going!
Serve w/ Mark at the Houston Food Band
Mark Smith is excited to take you and your family to serve at the Houston Food Bank Fridays in August. Here is a chance to get out of the house and do some good! Mark will meet you in the church parking lot eat 1:00pm and you’ll caravan to: 535 Portwall St., Houston, TX 77029.
Ages 6 & up are welcome to serve! Masks are required & temperatures are taken at the door. You’ll need to sign up as a volunteer on the Houston Food Bank Website.
Contact Mark with any questions — (281) 360-5555 or [email protected].
Though some of the changes below have been in the works for a while, now is a great time to catch you up on the latest Staff updates:
- Doran Woods will no longer be leading our contemporary service. We are grateful for the time and energy that Doran gave to our contemporary service during this season of ministry. We are confident that God has big plans for Doran and his family. In the interim, guest vocalists will join our amazing band and pastors to lead this important ministry at First Pres.
- We are grateful and have been blessed for the ministry that Dorene Breach has provided to our Senior Ministry program over the years. Dorene has decided to retire at the end of August. Dorene is excited to invest her time in her sweet grand baby and other activities. Dorene’s shoes will be hard to fill, and it will take a team to get the job done! If you are interested in helping guide this ministry into the future, please contact Roland or Chad.
- We are excited to announce that Beth Jewett has been named the director of a new ministry at First Pres. Effective immediately, Beth will serve as the Director of Family Discipleship. Beth will work with her Children’s Ministry team and the Student Ministry Team, led by Travis Ziegenbein, to 1) create a “birth to graduation” discipleship plan; and 2) walk alongside parents, engaging them in the ministry of the church and equipping them to be the primary disciple-makers of their own children. We are excited about this new direction for our ministry to children, students, and families, and Beth is the perfect person for the job!
- Garrett Tatum has exhibited hard work and dedication while taking on the role of the Interim Director of Communications last February. This commitment has continued and has made it clear to us that he is the best person to lead our communications team in the future. We are excited to announce that Garrett has been named Director of Communications. Many of you have expressed your gratitude to him and his team for the work they have done in producing and making our services available online. They are doing an amazing job and we are blessed to have such a talented team leading us!
- Emily Omaña joined our staff team back in March as our part-time Assimilation Coordinator. Emily’s responsibilities include: 1) providing an environment of hospitality at all church events; 2) connecting with our visitors and active participants, aiding them as they find their place in our community; and 3) walking our guests through the process of becoming Covenant Partners. Emily’s energy and her love for First Pres make her the right person to help us create a welcoming space that will effectively assimilate visitors and active participants into the life of the church.
- Jennifer Crass joined our staff in March as our Facilities Coordinator. Her primary responsibility is to make sure that all aspects of the facility are in good working order. She actively interfaces with contractors, monitors cost containment initiatives, and serves as primary support for the staff and Buildings and Ground Team. Jennifer, her husband Kevin and two children have lived in Kingwood for nearly 30 years. Jennifer has made a huge impact in the organization and administration of our facilities!
- Vickie Robertson was hired in January to serve as a part-time Accounting Specialist. Vickie primarily focuses on Accounts Payables and is being trained in Payroll and General Ledger entries. Vickie is a welcomed addition to the team and reports to Joy Eigbe. We are so happy to have her on board!
A few weeks ago, our Covenant Partners received a Stewardship packet in the mail. This document lays out for you our vision and direction, our values, and the ways in which God has been equipping us as the Gathered church so that we can be the Sent church in our community! If you did not receive the Stewardship Packet or if you simple need to review it again, you can download it here.
If you have not had a chance to prayerfully consider your participation in this year’s Stewardship campaign, we would like to invite you to do so over the next two weeks. Many of you have already responded and we are grateful for your commitment!
We love you, we miss you, and we are counting on you to be the Sent Church our neighbors need in this difficult season. Though we are only “gathering small” in person right now, we are still here to equip, support, and encourage you all the way!The pastors and staff are available to meet you on campus if you’d like to talk, just contact the office to make an appointment.
We have always heard that “the church is not a building”….well, now is our chance to prove it!
July 4, 2020
A Short update from Pastor Chad
Hey church! A couple quick updates for this July 4th weekend!
1) Phase II ContinuesOn Monday June 29th, the Session decided to continue with Phase II of our reopening plan. We believe that we have established systems and procedures that allow us to continue to welcome 50 of you to join us as we record our Traditional service on Wednesdays at 5pm and our Contemporary service on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. Your cooperation in wearing masks and maintaining safe distance while on campus has been the determining factor, so thank you for sticking to the plan! We are continuously monitoring the situation in Harris and Montgomery county, keeping ourselves informed so that we can make the best decisions as we continue through this season of Covid-19.
Please sign up to join us for worship this week!
2) Congregational MeetingOur congregational meeting, originally scheduled for the end of March, has been postponed until further notice. Our by-laws do not allow for proxy voting, so we are unable to hold the meeting until we can safely gather together again on our church campus. We are grateful to the elders who have agreed to continue on as members of our session until we are able to reschedule the meeting. The Session will keep you informed of our plans, but we do not expect to be able to hold the meeting until we are in Phase IV of our reopening plan.
3) Stewardship 2020/2021A few weeks ago, our Covenant Partners received a Stewardship packet in the mail. This document lays out for you our vision and direction, our values, and the ways in which God has been equipping us as the Gathered church so that we can be the Sent church in our community! If you did not receive the Stewardship Packet or if you simple need to review it again, you can download it here (insert link—document is attached below).
We would like to invite you to consider your contribution to the ministries of First Pres for this new fiscal year. The Session and staff are both accountable to you and responsible for the appropriate budgeting and use of the gifts you offer to the church—your response will enable us to do that effectively. If you have not had a chance to prayerfully consider your participation in this year’s Stewardship campaign, we would like to invite you to do so over the next two weeks. Many of you have already responded and we are grateful for your commitment!
As the document states, if you have been negatively impacted by the current economic hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, please set this document aside until things stabilize for you. We are grateful for the faithful giving of our Covenant Partners and our active participants and guest.
June 12, 2020
A Video update from Pastor Chad
Just a quick update as we continue to work through our reopening plan at First Pres. There’s been a bit of an uptick in the infection and hospitalization rate in Houston and Harris county, so we aren’t ready to move on to Phase III. But we are making a slight change that gives you the opportunity to join us as we record our online services.
Starting this week, we are inviting 50 people to join us each Wednesday evening as we record our traditional service at 5pm and 50 people to join us as we record our contemporary service at 7:30pm. These services will then be posted online the following Sunday for everyone who is not quite ready to return to worship on our campus. Registration is required and available on our website Sunday mornings at 8:15. We are also removing the requirement that you only register once per month, you can now register to join us each week, first come, first served! You’ll receive a confirmation email with a set of instructions so that you can join us and worship with us on Wednesday evenings.
Now, for those of you who are concerned about meeting in person, we totally understand and support your decision to take personal responsibility for your health and the health of our community. We do want you to know, our plan was designed to provide a safe and clean, physically distant environment for you—so, if you have left your house to go to HEB, we believe that we have created a safe and clean environment for you to attend and worship. If you’ve gone out to eat at a restaurant, we have created a safer and cleaner environment for you to attend and participate in worship. We are not trying to pressure you, we just want you to feel confident, if you have left the house for any reason during this COVID season, you should feel confident that you can join us on campus for these small group and limited worship activities.
May 29, 2020
A Video Update from Pastor Chad & Mark behalf of the Session
May 22, 2020
A Short Update from Pastor Chad on behalf of the Session
After Governor Abbott’s recent announcement that Texas is entering Phase II of Open Texas, and with the discussion in the news and on social media about reopening, I want to give you a short update on our continued discernment concerning activities on our physical campus. The session is meeting on Monday evening to vote on a phased plan for reopening. Our goal is to come to agreement with the Holy Spirit on this plan and announce the details to you next week.
I’m sure the plan will be too fast for some and too slow for others. The leadership of the church is prayerful, thoughtful, and strategic about this, and we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us down the right path for our church and our community. Know that the Holy Spirit is guiding our decisions, that we are obedient to Christ’s call to love you and this community, so continue to follow the guiding principles we laid out for you on April 28.
Our purpose and mission is to Love God, to love others, and to make disciples. We believe that, even in this time of separation, in some ways because of this time, we are focused and effective in carrying out that mission. We are successfully “playing the game without the queen,” as I mentioned in the previous video announcement, and, when the time is right, all the pieces of ministry will be back on the board, and we will continue to grow together as both a Gathered and Sent church!
Know that we love you, we miss you, the team is working hard every day to provide both Connection and Content during this season.
April 28, 2020
An Update from Pastor Chad on behalf of the Session
April 24, 2020
An Update for this week:
We just finished recording and editing worship for April 26, 2020…our 7th recorded virtual worship service! While we are anxious to worship with you in person, we are continuing to do everything we can to provide Connection and Content for our Covenant Partners and Active Participants in the life of First Pres Kingwood! I want to take a minute and update you on a couple of things as we continue to anticipate the day when we can all be together again:
CONNECTION AND CONTENT ONLINE!
We have updated our website to include links to all of the Zoom meetings happening each week: daily meetings, Sunday school classes, women’s and men’s bible studies, and opportunities for children and students. We are utilizing this format to keep us Connected to one another and provide Content that will equip the (online) Gathered Church to continue to function as a Sent Church during this time of separation. See the “Calendar” at the very top of the website to get access to these meetings. If you are’ t currently a part of a Zoom study or meeting, you are always welcome to join in! There is a description provided for each group and the contact information for the meeting leader.
100 DAYS OF BIBLICAL LITERACY
Starting May 4, we are going to offer the opportunity to journey through the Bible together for 100 days. For details about this program, listen to the sermon from the April 26th worship service. A page on this site dedicated to this initiative is available now.
It’s not too late to sign up to be a part of our Sent Groups at First Pres Kingwood. These groups will be an essential resource for our church, and we want to include 100% of our Covenant Partners and Active Participants! Click on “Sent Groups” above for more information and to sign up today!
SESSION MEETING TO DISCUSS RE-OPENING PLAN
While there are no details to report at the moment, we want you to know your Session is hard at work determining the right next steps for our church as restrictions on public gatherings begin to ease over the coming weeks and months. We’re taking into account the ministry of the church and health and safety of our people; please continue to pray for and be patient with us as we engage in this challenging but important work. An update on this effort will be sent out to you early next week.
We continue to pray for you, hoping that God is meeting you right where you are in the midst of our separation. Know that we are here if you need anything at all. Staff emails are on our website. You can also submit prayer requests by following the “Prayer Requests” link above. Grace and Peace to you all!
April 3, 2020
An Update for this week:
As we continue to Stay Home and Work Safe, all standard programs of the church remain on hiatus through Easter Sunday. We are confident that this will continue through the end of April, but we committed to communicating this with you weekly, so we will honor that commitment to keep you informed every week.
We want to share a couple of updates with you:
This Holy Week will be different than any other we have ever experienced. As much as we mourn the fact that we will not be together physically, the team has come up with a plan to offer you the opportunity to worship each day of the week. Our Palm Sunday service will be available at the usual time on Sunday morning. Then, starting Monday, we will post a 30-minute service with music, scripture reading, and a short devotion or guide for you.
On Thursday, the service will center around the Lord’s Supper—this will be our first opportunity to take communion together, yet still apart. What I would like for you to do in preparation for that service, gather elements that you already have in your home (crackers, bread, juice, wine, etc.). I will explain why we are using such common elements as we take communion together online. I will walk us through the story of that first communion, then will say the words of institution so you can all partake of the elements at home. Even though we will not be physically present with one another, we will be spiritually united, and Christ’s presence will surely be with us.
Our service on Easter Sunday will be similar to our other online Sunday services. We will, of course, sing songs of the resurrection and tell that beautiful story, but we aren’t going to pretend that we are all together as if we are putting on a show. We are going to save the celebration, the flowers, the suits and dresses, the unique music; we are going to save that for the Sunday when we are all finally back together again! Every Sunday is resurrection Sunday, so whenever we are physically together again, we will celebrate his resurrection the right way!
We have a vision for the next phase of ministry through this pandemic that will also provide a resource that we can activate from day one when the next crisis arises. The vision is this: that every covenant partner and active participant in the life of our church would be connected to a group…we will call them “Sent Groups.” These groups will be relationally-focused, geographically-based groups of 15-20 adults that exist for congregational care during times of crisis. The idea is that anytime trouble comes, these groups would activate and reach out to one another to ensure that everyone is safe, has what they need, and knows that they are loved.
The only way to do this is to have everyone on board! So go to the SENT GROUPS page on the website and fill out the form. Our team will begin to form these groups and will communicate the structure and plan in detail to everyone once the system is in place. A document will be available to you once the system is in place to describe how everything works. These groups will be lead by staff and our ordained elders and deacons, but the real work is left to the covenant patterns and active participants in the life of First Pres.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we would ask that every member of the SENT GROUP reach out once a week to each other member just to check in and see if any needs can be met. This is a way to keep us connected that doesn’t rely on technology, a connection that enables us to care for one another and pray for one another. We genuinely hope that you will all join us in this effort and sign up this Sunday!
BIBLE STUDIES AND ZOOM MEETINGS
We are also working to consolidate the links to our scheduled ZOOM meetings, including our daily meeting, our Sunday School Classes, Women’s Footsteps, along with other participating bible studies and groups. Check the website for a page that will take you directly to these zoom meetings. This will also allow you to join a group or study if you aren’t already a part of one!
We must stay connected, and we understand that technology, though it is a gift, can be an obstacle for some. We hope that these efforts will help us stay connected in a variety of ways during this season and beyond!
Grateful for you all. Love you. Miss you. I can’t wait to be with you in person once again! Praying for you, for your health, your mind, your spirit, and for our country and the world as we navigate this storm together. Hang in there church, and continue to be the Sent Church wherever you are!
March 28, 2020
An Short Update for you this week:
All church programs remain on hiatus the week of 3/29-4/4. Our Annual Congregational Meeting, which was scheduled for this Sunday, March 29, has also been postponed. We will send you a separate communication concerning our plans for our annual meeting.
Many of you are aware that are hosting daily Zoom calls as an interactive way for our staff to stay in touch, pray, and fellowship with you. Zoom is an online video conference service that will allow us to meet face-to-face online. The meetings will begin at 4 p.m. and will go for around half an hour. Check your email for the link to join in—if you are not receiving emails from us, sign up for the newsletter on our website. Be sure to check your junk email folder to be certain you are receiving the most updated information from us. We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!
Additionally, I want to encourage you to try something this week…this may not seem like much of an encouragement, but I genuinely believe it is important: take the time to give voice to your sadness, to the things you are missing while we are staying home and working safely.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote an entire book in the Old Testament on this very discipline called Lamentations. It is essential to lament, to say out loud the things that bother us about this current crisis. I have left many appointments on my calendar, those personal and ministry-related. When the alert reminds me that I have an appointment scheduled, I take a moment and acknowledge my sadness in losing an opportunity to meet with people, to take my daughter to dance, whatever it might be.
I then take a moment to be thankful for the gift of time that I have just been given.
Sincere and honest lament enables us to celebrate and give thanks. So don’t hesitate to name what’s bothering you—then offer that sadness to God and ask him to meet you in the midst of it. I have found that my capacity for joy and celebration has increased the more I allow myself to lament the things that upset and hurt me. It’s a challenging practice, but it is biblical, and it is important. Over time we will offer more guidance in this area as we continue to walk through this season together.
Know that you are loved. You are missed. It has been a joy to see many of your faces online, to hear your voices, but we anticipate that day when we are back together physically. In the meantime, thank you all for doing your part to continue to stay physically distant, but socially connected!
March 19, 2020
An Update from Pastor Chad:
As the First Pres staff and leadership are hard at work reimagining ministry through a pandemic, the session has voted unanimously to extend the current hiatus of all on-site activities and ministry programming through Saturday, March 28. It is our sense this will be extended until the world begins to open up again. We will keep you informed with these weekly updates.
We are happy to share that our online worship services will now be available Sunday mornings! We are conducting the services earlier in the week so that you will have access to them at your regular worshipping hour.
During this time, the office will be effectively closed for your safety. That does not mean the church’s ministry to our covenant partners and our community is ceasing; it simply means that, for your protection, we will keep the office doors locked, and we strongly discourage you from stopping by the office. Should you need anything at all, please call the office or contact someone on the team by email before coming to the facility.
What can you do this week? Our staff is dedicating a significant amount of time and energy to calling our covenant partners, starting with the most vulnerable and isolated. We would like to ask for your help with this:
- Please connect with each other by calling, writing letters, emails, or texts, and do so consistently and intentionally.
- Think about those who might be especially affected during this time, and safely place yourself in a position to help.
- If you discover a need that you are unable to meet yourself, please share it on our FaceBook Prayer Warriors group. If you are not currently a member of that group, simply search “FPCK Prayer Warriors” on FaceBook and request access to the group.
- The pastors, session and staff are praying for you by name during this difficult time, we would appreciate your prayers in return!
Each week I’ll share with you a passage that gives me comfort and peace in troubling times. These are great Scriptures to commit to memory. God’s Word written on our hearts, there is no greater comfort or blessing:
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouragedDeuteronomy 31:7-8
We love you. We miss you. We will get through this together!
Update: March 13, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we at First Pres Kingwood are mindful not to act out of fear of the coronavirus, but to respond to it, in prayerful consideration of our Covenant Partners and our community.
I’m writing to share with you a decision made by our Session this evening and our plans for living into our calling to be both a Gathered and Sent church during this challenging season. At a meeting on Friday, March 13th, the following motion was made:
Out of an abundance of caution, with no fear in our hearts, we [temporarily] suspend all activities at our physical campus. We will provide an online worship experience that will be available Sunday afternoon on our website. We will evaluate this plan moving forward on a weekly basis.Session
This motion was seconded and passed unanimously. This is very important—First Pres Kingwood is not shutting down. We are simply shifting our focus, during this pandemic, to function as the Sent Church! Allow me to explain to you exactly what this means:
- All official ministry activities of First Pres Kingwood will be placed on temporary hiatus from March 13-20. As we evaluate this situation week by week, we will communicate our plans for the following week every Friday evening through our website, email, and social media. If you know of someone in our family who may not have access to these forms of communication, please share this information with them.
- The worship team will record a worship experience that will be made available on our website no later than Sunday afternoon. As long as the temporary hiatus is in effect, we will produce this worship content for use by individuals, families, and any small groups that feel led to continue to meet. In these services you will find all the elements that define us as a worshiping family. We will also provide liturgy and documentation with discussion questions aimed at children, students, families, and adults.
- Pastors, staff, and ordained leaders will be available for prayer and counseling over the phone and in person. The church offices will be open during the week with limited staffing. The leadership team will meet regularly to ensure that we continue to function as the church during this season and will commit to consistent and accurate communication to our covenant partners.
We believe that this decision, made in consideration of the most vulnerable among us, is not an abdication of our responsibility to gather regularly for worship, but is in itself an act of worship, evidence of our love for God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. In times like these, one of the best ways we can show our love for God is through our acts of love for one another.
I want to share with you a sentiment offered by one of our neighbor churches, a sentiment that I have heard from a number of church and community leaders over the past 24 hours:
We, the faith community, were great at recovering from Harvey, but if we could have prevented Harvey, we would have. This is a way that we can try to prevent the next big storm that’s about to hit our city.Roger Patterson Senior Pastor, West University Baptist Church
We know that this decision will concern some and will comfort others. We have not made this decision lightly, but prayerfully and through discernment of the will of the Holy Spirit. We are confident that this is the responsible, next right step to take as a church.
Finally, we commission you, the “Sent Church” from First Pres Kingwood, to embody our purpose and our mission to “Go! Love God and Love Others.” In doing so, we ask three things of you—Pray, take appropriate precautions, and serve:
- Pray for the virus and its victims, for the fear and concern that has taken over our nation and global community, and for the Session and pastors of our church.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of the virus, please seek appropriate medical attention. Everyone should follow CDC instructions for hygiene so that we can all do our part to mitigate the spread of this virus. If you are vulnerable or “high risk” due to any pre-existing health concerns, please take care not to participate in activities that may lead to unnecessary exposure.
- Love your high risk and vulnerable neighbors especially. This may include, but is not limited to, shopping for them and assisting in ways that protect them from unnecessary exposure. Be a blessing, as you are able, to those around you.
In worship we have been discussing the profound truth that, as Christ’s church, we are a blessed people called to bless people. Today, the church has a unique opportunity to be a voice of hope in times of trouble, comfort in times of sorrow, peace in times of fear. This is an opportunity our brothers and sisters in Christ have faced over the past two thousand years—now it’s our turn.
Many in our community will be looking for those signs of hope, comfort, and peace— may we be a people who are able and willing to offer those sweet gifts to our neighbors, to our city, and to people around the world. Grace and Peace to you all in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.