Dear Saints of CCUPC,
We are excited to welcome you back to in-person parking lot worship this week at 10:00am. Here are some details that you will need to be aware of.
- Our plan to worship outside is weather dependent. We will check weather forecasts and local radar and make our determination about whether or not to hold worship by 8:00am each Sunday. That determination will be posted on our Facebook page and on our website under the COVID-19 Update and the Virtual Worship Blog. In the event that we cannot gather details about how to access Virtual worship will be posted in those places.
- Our worship service will be a different format than our traditional service. We hope that our service will last approximately 30 minutes. There will not be a formal time to collect the offering, however a plate will be available for you to place your offering if you wish. There will also not be a greeting time. While our service will include a few musical pieces, we encourage you to reflect quietly on them rather than sing along. No bulletins will be provided and there is no projection equipment, so you are welcome to bring your own Bible if you would like to follow along with our readings. Prayer requests to be included in our service can be submitted via our website by 7:00am on Sunday morning. (Prayers submitted after that will be included in our weekly email, but may not be announced during worship.)
- Please bring your own chair. We will be meeting in the lower parking lot near the Hamstead Lane driveway. Worshippers will set up on the concrete parking lot along the tree line. There is a gradual incline in that area.
- Please spread out. We are asking each family to set up at least 6 feet from other worshippers. We suggest using every-other parking spot as a guide. We will be using a sound system so that those who must sit further away will still be able to hear.
- Masks will be required. Since we are a public place, masks covering both the nose and mouth are required to be worn in accordance with the State of Pennsylvania mandates. While not terribly comfortable, especially in the heat, this is an act of love for our neighbors. Remember, “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.”
- Please plan for the heat and humidity. While we have selected the location because it does offer some shade, it is still very warm with not much breeze in that area. You are welcome to bring a personal sized, battery-operated fan, or an umbrella for additional shade. We also encourage you to bring a water bottle. Please feel free to dress casually and in consideration of the heat.
- The building and restroom facilities will be open for emergencies only. Please try to take care of any needs before you arrive at the church.
- Please pay attention to parking cones, signage, and those directing traffic. We are encouraging worshippers to park in the upper lot (front spaces and near the Greeting Area) and on the left (office) side.
- Parking for those with mobility issues will be at the top of the driveway leading to Hamstead Lane. There are five parking spots in front of the storage trailer before entering into the main parking lot that will be very close to the worship site. Please reserve these for those who have trouble walking long distances. If those spots are taken, individuals with limited mobility are welcome to park along the side of the Hamstead Lane driveway. All others should plan to park in the front or on the sides of the building. Hamstead lane will not be a through-way into the parking lot. Except for those with limited mobility, please use the Rochester Road entrance.
- We will be live-streaming the worship service for those who cannot attend in person. This will allow those not present with us to watch the service in real-time. It will also be available for “on-demand” viewing following the service. If you feel that it is not wise for you to be around a group, or out in the heat, or if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, we encourage you to stay home and join us via the live-stream. We will be broadcasting via YouTube and a link will be posted on our Facebook page shortly before the service begins. However, the best way to find us will be to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Depending on the notifications you set up, you will receive an email directly from YouTube with the direct link to our live stream.
- The adult Sunday School Class will be meeting at 8:30am. They will continue to meet by Zoom and will conclude in enough time to allow participants who wish to attend in-person church the opportunity to do so.
We are excited that we have come up with a way to be back together again in-person for worship. It is our plan to continue in our parking lot through at least July 26, and we will celebrate Communion on that date. If you have any questions, please reach out to Pastor Dena.
The Outside Worship Planning Team
COVID-19 Update 7/1/2020
Dear Saints of CCUPC,
Greetings in the name of Christ. As July dawns we mark 3 ½ months since we’ve gathered together in worship. In that time, we have changed over to vibrant online worship, we’ve established an online adult Sunday School class, we’ve shared our prayer requests by Zoom call, and we’ve learned to conduct our church business virtually. Our giving remains steady, many of our members remain engaged, and we are able to care for others in the body as they have needs. We are discovering what it means to be the church without walls, and there is much to be thankful for during this strange and challenging time.
We also acknowledge that our hearts yearn to be together as the body of Christ in person. On Sunday, June 28 the Session met to discern if and how meeting together in person could be a possibility. After much discussion and prayer, we determined that it will not be feasible to return to in-person worship in our sanctuary on Sunday, July 12 as we had hoped. There is still so much unknown as cases of COVID ebb and flow in our county and the counties around us, and we take seriously our duty to love our neighbors and to protect the weak and vulnerable among us. While we long to be together, we also do not want to burden ourselves or our members with any undue risk.
With that said, we determined that beginning on July 12 we will hold an out-door, in-person worship service in our parking lot. These worship services will be weather permitting, will require participants to bring their own chairs, observe a six-feet distance from other worshippers, and protect themselves as they are able. As we take this next step, we encourage those who are worried about transmission of the virus or who have health concerns to stay home. It is our hope to continue providing worship online as we have been, or to provide a live-stream or video recording of the outdoor service that will be available to watch from home. Many of the details regarding both virtual and in-person out-door worship remain to be determined and we will update you as those plans are made.
In the same meeting, the Session also voted to hold our annual sales – both the Flea Market and the Closet Classic in August. These sales are very different in nature than worship, and so we determined that, while there is still some risk, we can more safely hold these events. Our organizers are working to determine policies and procedures to reduce risk as best we are able. Details will be released prior to the sale.
As time marches on, the church takes steps forward in some areas and continues to pause in others. Once again, we encourage everyone to act according to their own comfort level and the way that they are being led when determining their level of involvement in worship, in the sales, or in other aspects of church life.
And, as you act according to your own best interests, we also encourage you to consider the health and welfare of others, both in matters related to the church and in your everyday lives, putting their needs and concerns before your own. Jesus commanded us, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In this season, more than ever, we are called to give up our own desires and comforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our siblings in Christ.
We are each a valuable and beloved part of the church whether we gather in body or in spirit, whether we see each other face-to-face, or whether we interact from our own separate little boxes on a Zoom call. However we embody church, the presence of God is among us and we trust that God is leading us forward in this time. The leadership of CCUPC continues to ask for your prayers as we seek to faithfully discern where God would have us go.
You are in our hearts. You are in our prayers. Please reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
The Pastors and Session of CCUPC
COVID-19 Update 6/4/2020
Dear Saints of CCUPC,
What a tumultuous time we are living in. Our hearts are with you as we navigate the uncharted waters of pandemic, the repulsiveness of racism, and the realities of violence that are plaguing our city, nation, and world. Now, more than ever, we long to be back together in-person as the body of Christ, and many have been asking when we will be able to return to in-person worship.
The CCUPC Session met by Zoom on Sunday, May 31, to begin planning what our return to worship will look like, and when it might take place. At that meeting it was decided that in person worship will not return before July 12, 2020. The Session will meet again on June 28, 2020 to decide if that is still a reasonable date, and what procedures and safety measures should be in place. Your prayers are appreciated as we discern.
Likewise, the Session and the organizers of the Closet Classic and Flea Market Sale have been discussing if and how to accommodate our sale this year. For now we are proceeding as if the sale is taking place. These are necessary steps in order to ensure enough time to adequately set up. The clothing portion of the sale is already set, and we continue to take donations of clothing. We are also accepting donations of household items for the Flea Market portion of the sale. The current plan is to unload the trailer on August 2, and hold the sale on August 14-15 and August 22-23. The Session will be evaluating this plan on June 28 to make sure that this is still attainable.
As many likely know, our sale can only take place because of volunteer effort. Part of the consideration of the Mission Committee and the Session will be whether we have enough people who are able and willing to help with set up and staffing of the sale. To gauge potential work force, we are asking members and those connected to our church to take this survey. Answers will be received until June 21.
As the church makes decisions on how to move forward, we encourage you to move at your own pace and according to your own needs. We acknowledge that we are all at different places in our comfort levels as society resumes and adjusts to our new realities. The Session has decided to take things slowly, but even that may be too fast for some. We encourage you to make decisions that are right for your family and your situation. Even as we move towards reopening and resuming our various ministries, if it feels like it is too soon, or you believe that your health would be compromised, please feel free to continue to act according to your best judgement, and the way that the Spirit is leading. This time has shown us that the church is more than just a building, and the Body of Christ extends beyond physical gatherings. You are no less a part of the body, even if you can only join in digitally or in spirit.
These are difficult days for the church. Never in our lifetimes has the church had to figure out how to conduct itself through a pandemic, and never before have the leaders of the church had to make such weighty decisions that could affect the health of so many. Please pray for us as we take steps forward. As always, we ask for your grace, and we encourage you to extend that same grace to others, especially others who may have different thoughts or comfort levels during this time.You are on our hearts. You are in our prayers. Please reach out if you have any needs, questions or concerns.
The Pastors and Session of CCUPC
COVID-19 Update 4/23/2020
We continue to pray that you and those you love are healthy in this time. Your church family misses you, and we long for the day that we can gather together again. Once the Governor and the CDC alert us that it is possible for us to meet together for worship, we will come up with a viable plan within whatever regulations are given. Until then, here are some things that you may want to know.
- We continue to foster community on Facebook and by our website. Each day a “Prayer of the Day” is posted, and we sometimes post other features and links to keep us growing spiritually.
- We continue to offer virtual worship. Each week the link is emailed out, posted on our church website under the Virtual Worship Blog, and posted on Facebook. Worship has been prerecorded, and it is available whenever you’d like to view it. For those who desire a bit more interaction, the video premiers on Facebook at 9:45am on Sundays. (The odd timing is to account for the thousands of other churches who are also streaming and uploading and downloading between the hours of 8am-12pm on a Sunday morning!) If you watch the premier on Facebook, you can comment in real time and read others’ comments as well.
- We continue to meet by Zoom for prayer on Sunday evenings at 8:30pm. You can can go to www.Zoom.com, and enter the meeting number and password. Please check your email or contact Pastor Dena to get this information. This is new technology for many of us, but please do not let that keep you from joining us. Grace abounds as we figure out these tools. We’d love to see your face and hear your voice as we check in with each other and pray.
- The financial needs of the church continue during this time. Many of our costs are fixed and are not affected by whether or not we can gather for worship. While we recognize that many of our members are seeing financial effects of this pandemic, we encourage those who are able to support the church financially. There are several ways to do this:
- You can mail in your offering.
- You can sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer, which will debit your offering from your bank account. You select the amount and the frequency with which this occurs – weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Questions can be addressed to Kim Pugh.
- You can purchase gift cards through the church. Through the Scrip Gift Card Program the church stands to make between 2% and 17% of the cost of your purchase, and sometimes more.
- Kim Pugh is available in the office each day from 8:00am-12:00pm. She is able to sell cards from our inventory and take orders for additional cards. You can call the office to place your order ahead of time, and to arrange pickup. Payment can be made by cash or check. With this method you pay and receive the face value of the card.
- You can sign up with Scrip Online to be able to purchase cards via the Scrip website. By signing up, the church will receive credit for the cards you purchase. Shopping online allows you to purchase a physical card, reload some cards, and purchase e-cards to be delivered by email. These options vary by retailer. You will pay face value for your card, plus a small fee – $0.15 per transaction(regardless of the amount or the number of cards) for bank account draft, and 2.6% of the total cost of your cards if you use a credit card. There are often bonuses and specials allowing the church to earn even more. If you would like to enroll in this plan, please fill out this form and instructions and an invitation will be emailed to you.
- We will not be holding and in-person VBS this year. Vacation Bible School was previously scheduled from June 15-19, 2020. We cannot, in good conscience, plan for the safety of such a large group of students and volunteers. Pastor Dena is looking at options for presenting something in a take-home, online, or smaller, one-day format later in the summer. Much will depend on the restrictions in place as the summer moves on.
- Adult Sunday School will soon be available via Zoom. One of our adult classes is working to move to an online format. We will publicize the details when they are worked out. If other group leaders, committee chairs, or Sunday School teachers would like to consider an online meetings or classes, we can make the church’s Zoom account available to you. Please contact Pastor Dena, and she will work with you to get it set up.
CCUPC continues to stay connected, even during this time of quarantine. We encourage you to continue to reach out to your siblings in Christ – your village, members of the committees on which you serve, members of your Sunday School class, and others. Pay special attention to those who may not be connected to email or social media. At this time, more than ever, we lift up the priesthood of all believers – the belief that in our baptisms, each of us was called to serve our neighbors in our own unique and wonderful ways.
As always, Pastor Jim and Pastor Dena are willing to support you in whatever ways we can. Please feel free to reach out by text, email, or phone call. You are in our hearts, and we are praying for you.
Pastor Jim and Pastor Dena
COVID-19 Update – 4/7/2020
Dear Saints of CCUPC,
As the pandemic continues, we continue to abide by the restrictions in place to protect us all from the COVID-19 virus. We will not be meeting together for worship or events until the Governor and CDC declare that it is safe and wise. We are disappointed to know that we will not be able to be together this Easter, but trust that this is the most faithful way to love our neighbors. Even though we are not able to meet together personally, you are very much on our hearts. Here are some items that you may want to know for this Holy Week.
- Pastor Jim and Pastor Dena are available to talk with you and pray with you during this difficult and stressful time. Please do not hesitate to reach out, even if it is just to chat. We are available by phone, text, or email, and could even set up a Zoom call for some “face-to-face” interaction.
- We will be offering virtual worship services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. The Thursday and Friday services will be available at 7:30pm, and Easter Sunday will be available at 9:45am. As we have done in the past, we will post the video link on our website, and we will host a “watch-party” on Facebook. These are still one-way communication tools, but do allow some sense of community. The Facebook watch-party allows you to post comments and likes, and to see who else is worshipping at the same time as you. To join in, simply log in to your personal Facebook account at the appointed time, and visit the church’s page. And, new this week, if you are tuning in through our website for one of our Holy Week services, we are going to allow the ability to comment. Please leave a little note so that we can see how people are connecting.
- Please consider continuing your giving by mailing in your offering, or signing up for Electronic Funds Transfer. Although we are not meeting together, many of our financial obligations remain during this time.
- We are hoping to include a “Parade of Alleluias” in our Sunday morning worship. If you and your family would like to participate, please film yourselves saying “Alleluia” or “Christ is Risen” or “He is risen! He is risen, indeed!” or some variation on that theme. You may include traditional Easter sayings for your family, or different languages if that is a part of your culture. You can film using any smart phone, tablet, or device. Start the video and allow 5-10 seconds before you start speaking, and then allow 5-10 seconds at the end before you stop the recording. Email it or text it to Pastor Dena by 12:00pm on Friday, April 10.
- We will once again be meeting for a prayer meeting on Sunday, April 12, at 8:30pm. I understand that there were some technical difficulties getting into the meeting this past week, and I apologize. Zoom has been changing the rules to prevent Zoom-bombing, a tactic where people crash Zoom meetings with inappropriate content. The new rules took effect this past Sunday, and it caused some glitches, but hopefully they will be resolved by this Sunday. A link and password will be emailed later this week. As in the past, we will ask for updates, and then pray together. We hope that you’ll consider joining us. It is so good to see and hear the voices of those who are our siblings in Christ. If you cannot join us, you can submit a prayer request via our website.
- Please keep checking in on your neighbors, those in your village, and other friends, and acquaintances from church. We are concerned that we are missing those who are not connected to email, Facebook, or the website. If you, or anyone that you come into contact with, would like a printed copy of the sermon, we can arrange that. Please contact the church office with your request.
Our hearts are with you. We pray that you are safe and healthy, and that you are staying home. Blessings this Holy Week.
Pastor Jim and Pastor Dena
COVID-19 Update – 4/1/2020
Due to the continuing restrictions, CCUPC will not be meeting for in person worship until it is safe to do so. We will be sure to communicate once we are able to resume worship in our sanctuary. Until then, we invite you to visit our Virtual Worship Blog and our CCUPC – Cranberry Community United Presbyterian Church Facebook page for written reflections, prayer of the day topics, and video worship elements.
The church office is operating on limited hours. Please feel free to email or call, but allow some extra time for response. If you have an urge need, please contact Pastor Dena or Pastor Jim directly.
COVID Update 3/29
We hope that this note finds you well in the midst of these days of social distance and quarantine. We continue to pray for you.
For the safety of everyone, and in accordance with the mandate from the Governor, we continue to not be able to meet together physically for worship. It is likely that this will be the case for several weeks to come. We will be sure to communicate with you as the situation changes, and we will wait to hear from the governor and the CDC when it is safe to resume meeting together for worship.
As we endure this time apart, here are some things you should know.
- We are both still available for pastoral care and conversation. Please continue to keep us informed of the needs in your life and difficulties that you face. We would be glad to check in with you by email, text, or by phone, praying with and encouraging you, and walking with you through the difficulties that life brings, whether related to the virus or not. Our contact information can be found below. Feel free to contact us directly.
- The church office will be operating on limited hours. We will still be checking email and voicemail and picking up the regular mail. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to reach out, but allow a little bit longer than usual for the office staff to respond. If you have an urgent need, please reach out to us directly.
- On Sunday morning at 10:00am we will release our first worship video. It will be available on YouTube, on our church’s website under the Virtual Worship Blog, and on our Facebook page. We encourage you and your family to use it to worship together, and we hope that they will be of benefit to you.
- At 8:30pm on Sunday night, March 29, we will host another virtual prayer meeting using Zoom. You can join in from a smart phone, computer, or tablet equipped with speakers and a microphone. The link will be sent in a subsequent email along with instructions on how to join. We understand that using new technology can be overwhelming, but we encourage you to give it a try if you are willing. Don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. We are all just learning how to engage in all of these things, and we can assure you that grace abounds. If you have concerns or apprehensions, please reach out to Pastor Dena. For those who are unable to join the meeting, or who may not be comfortable sharing their requests out loud in that format, you can fill out a prayer request form and we will include your request in our prayers.
- We realize that these are unsure financial times for many of us in our church, just as they are for the church itself. Although we are not meeting for worship, many of our expenses continue. Although it is not our main concern, we do want to do our best to maintain our finances even during this time of not being together. If you are in the position to continue your giving even while we cannot worship in person, it would be appreciated. You can do this through signing up for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or by mailing your offering to the church. Questions regarding EFT or offerings can be addressed to Kim Pugh.
Again, know that we are thinking about you and praying for you. If you have a need, please let us know, and if you hear of ways that we can reach out to others, especially those who are not as digitally connected, please let us know that, as well. We look forward to the day when we can be together again in person. How joyous it will be!
Pastor Jim and Pastor Dena
COVID-19 Update 3/18/2020
Dear Church Family,
While we proceed to live in unknown times, we are sure that we worship a God who loves us and will not leave us, even in challenges and hardships. The staff and leaders of CCUPC continue to discern how best to be the church in the midst of the uncertainties of COVID-19.
As things are changing rapidly, please be sure to “like” our church Facebook page, and sign up for our church email news. You can do so by visiting www.CCUPC.org. Please encourage those around you to sign up, as well, and help to communicate important church information with those who may not have digital access.
Here are some items for your consideration.
- Worship For the health and safety of everyone involved, CCUPC will not be holding in-person worship for the next two Sundays – March 22 and March 29. The best prevention in the spread of this virus is social distancing. The church can show its care for others and protect those most at risk by not meeting together in person. However, our God is not confined by the walls of our building. Instead of gathering together, we are inviting our members and friends to worship virtually in various ways. In the coming days and weeks the church staff plans to post videos, written devotions, and other items to help you in your spiritual journey. We are currently looking into the many options that exist to help keep us connected virtually and we will be using our Facebook page and website to keep you informed of opportunities for digital worship and prayer. After March 29 the Session will re-evaluate based on recommendations from the CDC and the state.
- Sunday School For the next two Sundays – March 22 and March 29 – there will be no Sunday School classes for either youth or adults. As with worship, the Session will re-evaluate after these two weeks. Prior to resuming Sunday School classes we will do a deep clean of the Sunday School area. Details will be provided later as to when and how that will take place. This will be a chance for you to help serve the church.
- Small Group Studies CCUPC will not be hosting any in-person gatherings or small groups, at least through March 29. This includes the Lenten Study, the Youth Ministries, the Ladies Lunch and Learn, and the Men’s Breakfast. We will let you know when it is safe to re-institute these gatherings.
- Outside Groups Most of our outside groups have canceled their meetings by direction of their national bodies. We have contacted all other non-essential outside groups and have requested that they cancel. However, no such cancelation has been enforced by the general offices of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon, at this time. Given the nature of addiction and the need for support especially in times of stress like we are experiencing, these groups are being permitted to continue to meet at the church. They have been asked to meet with an abundance of caution and according to the guidelines and best practices laid out by the government and the CDC. If you know of someone in need of this sort of support, please let them know that these groups continue.
- Love your neighbor. The command remains. Even when we are unable to be together personally, it is still our call to care for those around us. While it is important that we practice social distancing when it comes to meeting together, please be sure to reach out in other ways to your friends and neighbors. When considering church members, pay particular attention to those in your village, and those who may be experiencing more isolation than others – those who are single, those who are older, those without a strong family support in the area, and those who are particularly at risk. Each of our members, along with their contact information and village assignment, are listed in the church directory. This is our chance to show the world that the church is far more than the building that contains it.
- Have a servant heart. Many in our church will find themselves vulnerable in this time of quarantine and mandatory shut-down. Please be sure to care for those around you in any way you can, and help meet their needs as you are able. Particular ideas are helping those not as familiar with online commerce to navigate Amazon Pantry, InstaCart, DoorDash, and the like; shopping or picking up medications for someone who cannot be in public; and providing meals and grocery gift cards to those who may be impacted by the schools being closed or by a loss of income. If there are ways that the church can help meet these needs, please let us know. We have some gift cards that we are able to distribute.
- Keep in touch with the church. Although we may not be meeting together in person, the pastoral staff is still willing and able to provide support and care. You may contact Pastor Dena or Pastor Jim through the church office, by email, by phone call, or by text. If you have a prayer request, please submit it via our website. We will continue to send out prayer updates to our church members.
- Continue to support the church. Although it is far from our primary concern, the church’s financial needs will continue even during a time of shut-down or reduced activity. We encourage you to take this opportunity to look into Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to automate your giving. You can contact the office and our financial secretary will walk you through setting up the program. You can also mail your offering to the church and it will be credited to your account.
We are also excited to announce that Scrip Gift Cards will be now be available for purchase online. Scrip has two online programs. The first is called PrestoPay where you can purchase e-gift cards that can be redeemed using your smart phone. The second program is MyScripWallet where current physical gift cards can be “reloaded” or you can purchase new physical cards through this program. If you choose to use this program, you must be enrolled by our administrator in order for CCUPC to get credit. Fill out this short application, and more information and an invitation to join will be sent to you. You can also visit the Scrip website to view details, terms, and conditions. We do hope that you will consider shopping for gift cards using the church’s Scrip program as a way to support the church. Please be sure to enroll before making a purchase.
We continue to trust God through this time of great trial and upheaval. We are praying for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that together we can live lives that are holy and pleasing to the Lord. (Corinthians 1:9) Please keep the church and its leaders in your prayers, as well.
Pastor Jim, Pastor Dena, and the CCUPC Session