PCF has resumed in person worship services at 8:30am and 10:30am on Sunday mornings. Guests must RSVP as seating is limited per MA guidelines. Live streaming will continue at the new time of 10:30am.

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I love these brothers, and these brothers love you

Posted by Stephen Witmer on May 29th, 2020

There are many things about Pepperell Christian Fellowship that fill my heart with joy and gratitude to God. One of them is the Elders with whom I get to partner in ministry. Today we enjoyed our annual PCF Elders’ Retreat – this one over Zoom for the first time ever. We read the Word together and got to know one another more deeply. We were guided through a series of Scripture passages and questions to help us care more for our own souls and the souls of others — thinking about reading and journaling, among other topics. And we prayed for each and every one of our PCF members by name. You should have heard those prayers. These men have been called by God to shepherd the flock at PCF, and they know you and love you. As you can see, we shared some laughs along the way. What a thrill to be part of such a team. Thank you, Lord




Letter from the PCF Elders: gathered, in-person services beginning June 7

Posted by Stephen Witmer on May 28th, 2020

Dear PCF family,

We thank God for each one of you and pray that Christ will continue to hold you fast. We have missed you greatly during this time apart. God made us to be together in person as his people and tells us to gather regularly with one another (Hebrews 10.24-25), so we’re excited about resuming in-person services on Sunday, June 7. This letter is meant to update you on our plans. Please read it carefully and respond with any questions and comments.

For many in our congregation, it will be wiser to continue participating in our livestream service rather than gathering in person at this point (more on that below). For those who do gather at PCF on Sundays, our experience of church will be a blessing, but unlike any worship experiences we’ve had before (more on that, too). For all of us, it will be very important that we bear with one another in love, and that we seek to abound in grace toward each other. We believe that God is working in this time to expand his kingdom in ways we can’t even anticipate. As your leaders, we’re asking for your prayers and for your trust as we navigate uncharted waters.

Beginning on Sunday, June 7, we’ll have weekly in-person worship services at 8.30am and 11am. At each step along the way of getting back to a ‘new normal,’ we will be seeking to comply with Governor Charlie Baker’s ‘Places of Worship Massachusetts Safety Standards’ (we’ve also had multiple conversations with our local Health Agent for Pepperell). In accordance with the safety standards for churches in Massachusetts, here’s what gathered worship at PCF will look like in this next season. Please know that we’re taking the following steps in submission to our governing authorities to protect one another and limit the spread of the virus. We expect that each person who joins us on Sundays will comply with these requirements as an act of love and care for one another and for our wider community:

  • Chairs in the sanctuary will be grouped in family clusters, each cluster six feet away from the others to ensure social distancing. There must be no handshakes or hugs, and non-family members should maintain a distance of six feet at all times.
  • Because seating will be limited (65 people per service), everyone planning to attend on Sunday mornings will be required to sign up each week through a link that will be provided through the PCF News (you may also sign up by a phone call to the church office early in the week if you don’t have a computer). When you sign up to attend on Sunday, you’ll see the ‘Form for Reopening Pepperell Christian Fellowship.’ Please read it carefully. By signing up to come on Sunday, you’ll be agreeing to observe the requirements in the form. If more than 130 people would like to gather on Sunday mornings, we’ll explore other options, such as Life Groups gathering in homes to livestream the service and worship together.
  • Those arriving at PCF on Sunday morning will be welcomed by greeters and ushers, who will help you to your seat. The only entrance will be the entrance off the deck, between the front and back buildings (accessible by a lift and by stairs).
  • All those six years and older who attend services must wear facemasks at all times, from their entrance into the building until they leave (except for those with medical conditions which preclude the wearing of facemasks). Parents can decide whether their children ages 2-5 wear a facemask. Children ages 2 and under should not wear a facemask.
  • With the exception of Communion and the worship team (while on stage leading), there will be no food or beverages in the building until further notice.
  • The only adults not wearing facemasks will be those on stage, while they’re praying, preaching, or leading singing. To ensure further protection, we’re looking into the possibility of having these leaders stand behind plexiglass shields. We’ll also keep the sanctuary windows open so that fresh air can move into the building.
  • We will not be providing nursery, children’s church, or PCF Kids for the foreseeable future. Children will remain with their parents at all times while on church property. No child should be left unattended while inside or outside the building.
  • The front building will be closed, and we will not pass out bulletins or Bibles.
  • We will continue to have congregational singing in our services. In order to lessen the risk of the virus spreading through singing, we will sing at the end of the service, and will also sing for a shorter time than in our pre-COVID services. Also helping in this respect will be the social distancing in our seating arrangement, the wearing of masks, smaller worship teams, and the windows being open.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be provided in the building and there will be cleanings of public spaces between and after the services
  • Ushers will help people leave the sanctuary at the end of services in such a way as to avoid clustering.

Needless to say, Sunday mornings will be different during this time! As stated above, we expect each person who joins us on Sundays to comply with these requirements. This is our way of loving and serving one another.

No matter what steps we take to minimize risk, we can’t guarantee that Sunday mornings will be risk-free. In fact, depending on your lifestyle and responsibilities, it may be that for some period of time to come, Sunday mornings at PCF will be the riskiest hour in your week. We ask you to think carefully and prayerfully about whether it is best for you to return. If you are 65 years old or older, or if you have prior medical conditions that place you at increased risk in the event of contracting COVID-19, we strongly advise you not to attend Sunday services in this first phase of reentry. We are committed to providing an excellent livestream, available on our website and on Facebook, for all who remain at home during this time. This livestream may also be attractive to parents of young children.

God is good and he is in control! Together as the body of Christ we can bring great glory to him in this season. Please respond with any questions or suggestions you have. We’re eager for God’s wisdom through you and look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,

The PCF Elders

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Form for Reopening Pepperell Christian Fellowship

Note: If you are 65 years old or older, or if you have prior medical conditions that place you at increased risk in the event of contracting COVID-19, we strongly advise you not to attend Sunday services in this first phase of reentry.

Individual Requirements for Attendance

I have not knowingly had contact in the last 14 days with someone who has COVID-19 or is currently under self-imposed or mandated quarantine for COVID-19.

I do not currently have a fever, cough, or cold.

If I test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 within the next 14 days I will notify Pepperell Christian Fellowship immediately.

Pepperell Christian Fellowship Requirements

  • Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least six feet apart. Members of the same immediate household are permitted to sit together.
  • All will wear face coverings or masks at all times while inside and while entering and exiting places of worship or otherwise participating in in-person services, except where a person is unable to wear a face covering or mask because of a medical or disabling condition and except when leading the service from the front.
  • For children between age 2 and 5, the wearing of a face covering or mask is at the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a face covering or mask.
  • All in attendance will refrain from touching non-household members or their belongings.
  • Our offering boxes on the back wall will be available for receiving donations.
  • The church building will be cleaned and disinfected between each service, including disinfection of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, microphones, shared instruments).
  • We will keep the building well-ventilated by keeping windows open.
  • We will comply with building occupancy requirements.
  • With the exception of Communion and the worship team (while on stage leading), there will be no food or beverages in the building until further notice.
  • If we learn that an individual with COVID-19 attended a service or otherwise entered the place of worship, we will conduct a deep cleaning and disinfecting consistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidance; notify all attendees immediately; and notify the local Board of Health.

By signing up to attend PCF on a Sunday morning, I affirm the following: ‘I pledge to follow all the above requirements for participating in activities of Pepperell Christian Fellowship.’

An update from the PCF Elders as Massachusetts churches begin to reopen

Posted by Stephen Witmer on May 18th, 2020

Dear PCF,

We’ve all been living through a very unusual season. For many of us, it’s been a season of loss: the loss of gathering with friends, extended family, and our church family; the loss of treasured school activities and graduation ceremonies; the loss of jobs or of income, due to pay cuts. A number of us have lost loved ones. We grieve with all those who grieve. Every one of us has been affected in one way or another.

During this season, it has been a sweet gift to gather online for Sunday services – to sing, receive God’s Word, and share the Lord’s Supper. But of course we’ve been longing to regather in person as soon as possible. We’re made by God to be together and that craving for connection is a very good thing.

So, we’re grateful to God that this morning (May 18), Governor Charlie Baker included churches in the first wave of re-openings in Massachusetts. Churches may open so long as they abide by mandatory safety standards.

We’ve read these safety standards and believe they are wise and reasonable. To see the checklist that will guide our preparations, click here. PCF will work hard to abide by these safety standards as we reopen – both from a desire to submit to our governing authorities wherever possible (when it doesn’t conflict with our conscience or with obedience to God) and from a desire to show love to every member of our church community (and beyond) by ensuring their safety. Because we’ve already been working hard on a plan for re-opening, we believe we’ll be able to implement these safety standards fairly rapidly.

Some of you will not feel safe gathering in person for some time to come. Indeed, if you’re a senior or have pre-existing medical conditions, it may be wisest for you not to immediately return on Sundays. We will continue our livestream service during this re-entry process (which may take months). We want to serve you well as you worship with us from home.

Some of you are very eager to gather again in person! We, in turn, are eager to serve you by making that possible. Our goal is to resume services at PCF by either Sunday, May 31 or Sunday, June 7 – whichever is the soonest date we can ensure that we have implemented all of Governor Baker’s guidelines and that all participants at our in-person Sunday worship services are safe and well-cared for. A crucial part of this effort is making sure we have enough trained volunteers. We’ll need additional greeters and ushers (and perhaps volunteers serving in other capacities as well). If you’re able and willing to serve our church family in one of these ways, please contact Amanda Johnson in the church office (contact info can be found on our website).

In the days ahead, we will all have an opportunity to love one another, show patience and care for one another, and bear with each other in love even (and especially) when we disagree in our instincts and opinions. What a beautiful gospel opportunity lies before us. Let’s embrace it for the glory of Christ. Let’s seek to display the worth of God to the world.

We’ll be in touch with you soon to let you know which Sunday we’ll be resuming services, and also to provide more information on the new protocols for participation in our in-person gathered Sunday services.

With love in Christ, and prayers for each of you,

The PCF Elders