Dear PCF church family,
None of us have ever experienced a Holy Week like this one. Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire have issued stay-at-home directives lasting until May 4. We’re all trying to hunker down as much as possible, and we’re all experiencing significant disruption to our lives.
Though coronavirus is big, the events we remember during Holy Week – particularly Jesus’ death and resurrection – are much bigger. They’ve been celebrated around the world for more than two millennia, in times of prosperity and adversity, in times of health and disease. Jesus’ substitutionary death and powerful resurrection defeated death itself. Jesus’ redemptive work secured eternal life for all who trust in him. We will all die someday, but Jesus’ resurrection means we can be raised to eternal life with him.
As your Elders, we’re praying that God will end this virus, heal the many hundreds of thousands in our world who are sick, protect our medical professionals and first responders, give wisdom to our leaders, and comfort those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. We’re praying that our great God will be your refuge in this time. Psalm 5.11 says, ‘But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.’
This verse reminds us that God’s protection will be spread over every single person who seeks his help. We run to him not just to escape danger, but because he is our treasure – we love his name. As we experience his protection a miracle happens: we rejoice, we sing for joy, we exult in him. We pray this will be true for you in the time of coronavirus. And we pray that our observance of Holy Week will strengthen our hope, confidence, and joy in a God who has already given his own Son to die in our place. Please join us online this week for our Good Friday service (7pm), our Easter sunrise service (6am), and our Easter worship service (10am).
We want to share several updates with you. As we’ve already announced, we have canceled all public church activities at our church facility until Friday, May 15 at the earliest. We continue to monitor local, state and federal guidance and will keep you informed as we make decisions about when to resume in-person gatherings.
For now, we’ve moved a number of our ministries and gatherings online:
Our Sunday morning service is live at 10am on our website (www.pcfchurch.org) and Facebook page (facebook.com/pcfchurchma). This service includes prayer, preaching, and the Lord’s Supper. Our worship leaders also choose songs for us weekly and we post these on our Facebook page so you can listen to them and sing along.
A Sunday morning prayer time via Zoom audio call is open for all at 9.10 – 9.50am
An Adult Education Class is available for all and meets via a Zoom video conference call from 11.15am – 12pm each Sunday
A Monday evening time of prayer and encouragement for all meets via Zoom from 7 – 8pm
The PCF Youth Group is meeting online every Tuesday evening
Our Life groups are meeting online on a weekly basis
These gatherings will continue until we’re able to resume meeting in person. Please join regularly with us in order to stay encouraged and connected with our church family and to remain strong in the Lord.
We’re thrilled to announce that both of our recent matching gifts to the Deacons’ Fund (totaling $4000) have now been matched (and then some). Thank you for your extraordinary generosity in this time of need. Your gifts to the Deacons’ Fund are allowing our PCF Deacons to distribute assistance to those in our congregation (and beyond). If you would benefit from financial assistance or other forms of help, we want to help you. You may contact the church office ([email protected] or 978.433.6360), Pastor Stephen or Pastor Jeff, or Bernadette Oinonen, who heads up our PCF task force responding to coronavirus.
We want to reiterate some counsel we offered in our letter several weeks ago: please remain alert to spiritual danger in this time. Our relationships with Jesus are being tested. Beware of temptation from Satan. Beware of making peace with sin, and of falling into spiritual habits and patterns that will persist long after this time of coronavirus has passed. Let’s pursue our great God more than ever, finding comfort and joy in him. There is spiritual opportunity for us in this time. We can grow in God’s Word and in our commitment to (and practice of) prayer. We can read a Christian book (or books!). We can reach out to those who need encouragement. We can seek to serve others in practical ways. As your Elders, we’re praying that God will cause each of us to persevere in faith and obedience during this unusual and difficult season.
To facilitate connection among our congregation, our staff recently distributed an updated church directory (feel free to contact the church office at [email protected] if you didn’t receive it). We’d love you to pray through this directory and reach out to others in our congregation to encourage them.
Please continue to contribute financially to PCF as you are able. Our operating budget remains the same and PCF needs your continued contributions. You can give easily and securely through our online giving (go to www.pcfchurch.org and click the ‘Give’ tab in the upper right-hand corner), or tithes and offerings can also be mailed to: Pepperell Christian Fellowship, P.O. Box 192, Pepperell, MA 01463.
A final word: we’re thankful to see how God is working in and through you as the body of Christ. We’re encouraged by how we see you reaching out to each other and loving one another. We’re challenged by your generosity and selflessness and care. We’re grateful for our PCF support staff and their excellent work during this time. We especially want to thank our church administrator, Amanda Johnson, for her hard work and cheerful heart as she’s led the charge to move many of our gatherings online.
We continue to believe that God will use this time for our good and his glory. Let’s trust in him.
We’re praying for you,
The PCF Elders