In-Person Worship Suspended Temporarily (11/27/20)

Members and Friends of Independence Presbyterian Church,

This morning the Session of IPC, on my recommendation, voted to temporarily suspend in-person worship for the next three weeks.

We will have virtual-only worship for the first three weeks of Advent (Nov 29, Dec 6, Dec 13). Which will take us through the county’s “stay-at-home” advisory. Session will then meet again on Wednesday, December 16 to re-evaluate where things stand.

We encourage everyone to watch the live-stream this Sunday (the link is below and will be sent out again Sunday morning).

The church will be closed during the week, except for essential business and building upkeep. (We will allow AA to decide for themselves.)

As of now, we plan to return to in-person worship in time for Christmas Eve, but also ask people for flexibility, patience, and grace as we continue to weigh what is best for our community’s physical and spiritual well-being.

This was not an easy decision to make. And it is certainly not the way I want to observe my first Advent season with you, but I do believe is the right decision at this time.

In addition to the country advisory, in our own community the Independence School system has moved to remote-learning through at least next week, with return to in-person being a week-by-week decision.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the Presbytery’s Coordinating Cabinet sent an email to all the churches in the Presbytery urging everyone to worship virtually.

And earlier in the week, the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s (a group of Evangelical Christians doctors) made a statement pleading with churches to suspend in-person gatherings. Here is an excerpt from their statement:

“We believe the church is a major priority in our lives, …But the issue here is the second greatest commandment: to love one another as we love ourselves. Restricting meeting for a season is not about fear of contracting the virus ourselves. Rather, it is about loving one another and minimizing risk to the vulnerable around us. …Choosing to put off gathering together as a church is a statement of love.

The longing of Advent will take on a new feeling this year. But I have hope and faith for the morning we will gather again. We know not the time or the hour, but stay awake! Keep alert! For the coming of Christ is near.

“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. …you do not know when the time will come…And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake!” (Mark 13)

Rev. David B. Wigger