UPDATE FROM THE PASTOR – MARCH 24, 2020
As I write to provide an update today, I want to begin with a word of gratitude. The staff deeply appreciates the church’s support of us, even as we seek to support you, and we are grateful for the many positive responses we have received to the live-streaming of worship on Sunday (made possible by Claire Willmschen, so thanks to her!) and our efforts to stay in touch with you. We plan to continue live-streaming worship while we are unable to gather and we will seek other creative ways to be and do church in this challenging time.
We need to inform you that we have decided to close the church office for the immediate future. We regret any inconvenience this causes, but we feel like this is another small thing we can do as a church to embrace the requests of community leaders to help limit the spread of COVID-19. No activities are taking place in the building right now and almost no one came by the office last week. We will monitor the answering machine and respond to messages quickly, and we encourage you to contact any of the ministers if you have a pressing need. Rose Window Weekly will now be emailed Tuesdays.
We also want to inform you of the different ways in which you can continue to support the church financially. We know many people are facing their own financial challenges right now, and you have been very generous already, but a number of you have asked how you can support the church while we are not able to gather together physically. Wayne Hager has provided the following answers to this question.
1. We continue to receive mail daily. Any gifts mailed to the church will be processed and deposited as soon as possible.
2. We will continue to debit bank accounts through auto drafts as we have been instructed by donors.
3. If you have set up a recurring donation through one of our electronic options, those donations will continue without interruption unless YOU make a change.
4. If you wish to begin electronic giving, please go to https://fbcraleigh.org/give/ where each of our options is explained.
5. If you are considering a stock gift, please go to https://fbcraleigh.org/give/ and look under stock gift instructions where you will find a link to a form to use to contribute stock, along with instructions.
If you have any financial or giving option questions, please contact Wayne Hager at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of all, know of our continuing prayers for all of you and our availability to help with any needs in the ways we can. – Dr. Chapman
COVID-19 UPDATES – MARCH 17, 2020
With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will probably need to send fairly frequent updates on how we are seeking to respond as a church and care for our members and community. I am sending this communication today to bring you up to date on a number of matters, but please feel free to call the church office (919-832-4485) if you have pressing questions.
• For now, the church office will remain open during normal hours (8:30 AM – 5:00 PM) Monday – Friday, though we may have fewer staff in at any given time and no volunteer receptionists. So, we ask for patience if it takes time to respond to a call or if you get the answering machine. A minister will be on-call on weekends as usual. We will continue to assess the viability of keeping the office open on a daily basis.
• The Infant Toddler Center and Weekday Preschool, which both follow the practices of the Wake County School System, are both closed indefinitely.
• Thirty-Niners meetings are cancelled until further notice.
• Theology on Tap meetings are also cancelled until further notice.
• Ministers will follow the “no visitation” request of hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes, but we will stay in touch with our hospitalized members in other ways and, as always, remember them in prayer.
• As part of a plan the ministers are implementing to stay in touch with everyone, we are contacting a number of our members just to check in and assess the need for help, and Leah is heading up an effort to gather a pool of people to help with errands for those who cannot get out for various reasons. We also ask that Sunday School classes communicate with their members and inform one of the ministers of any needs that arise.
• Anyone who would like online access to the church directory can access it through the homepage of the website. When you click on the link, you will need to enter your first and last name as we have them in addition to an email address known to the church office. There are other security measures which follow. If you have any difficulty accessing the directory, contact Wayne Hager at the office number listed above or by email at email@example.com.
• We are working on a plan to livestream the worship service this Sunday. We will also make available a worship order to enable you to worship with us at home or wherever you might be. Look for details in another communication later this week.
Know that we will do all that we can to facilitate our ability to care for one another in ways that honor the social distancing needs of our community, state, nation, and world. Know that we will do our best to respond to any need of which we are made aware. And know that you are not alone now or at any other time. You are connected to a loving community of people and accompanied always by a gracious God. Hymnwriter Ann L. Waring put it this way. “In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear; and safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here. The storm may roar about me, my heart may low be laid; but God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?” (“In Heavenly Love Abiding” 1850) – Dr. Chapman