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All in-person services and activities are canceled.  See below for more information about how you can connect to MPC during this time.

July 29, 2020
Dear MPC Saints,
            
It’s mid-July, it’s hot, it’s humid, school is just around the corner, and COVID cases continue to climb. We have been cautious at Matthews Presbyterian Church for good reason.  We now pre-record our worship services every week only so we can involve more people.  We do host an in-person worship service at 9:00 every Sunday morning, but it’s outside, social distancing is maintained, and masks are required.  The session met Sunday afternoon and we do not foresee this arrangement changing in the immediate future.  
            
We did, though, make some decisions both about our Child Development Center (CDC) and Christian Education programming.  The CDC is a Godsend to lots of people: parents, children, the community, and the church.  We wanted to do everything we could to find a way to open it safely.  While we realize that we cannot eliminate the risk posed with COVID, we also thought that the preschool’s plan to mitigate those risks was reasonable and effective.  In consulting other preschools and the Public Health Department, classes will be segregated, common areas will be eliminated, rooms will be disinfected, temperatures will be taken daily, handwashing will be enforced, and the teachers will wear masks.  The CDC at this church is small and very well led, so with these mitigating factors and with the need for both families and children to gather, the session approved the preschool’s plan to re-open in September.  
            
Likewise, our own Christian Education programs will start meeting this fall on a limited basis.  Children (grades K-5) will have AMP (Arts at Matthews Presbyterian) on Wednesday nights starting September 2.  Classes will be limited to five students per class.  Likewise, youth will meet on Sunday evenings for youth group in addition to a weekly study hall that will give them a chance to gather, fellowship, and study.  Like the CDC, mitigating steps of temperature checks, social distancing, handwashing, and diligent disinfecting will be practiced.  Masks will be strictly enforced for students and teachers alike.  Sarah Evans Shetley will send more details as the date approaches.
            
These mitigating factors are painful to say the least, but they are less painful than closing our CDC and children & youth programs.  We also recognize that while these steps mitigate the risks of COVID, they do not eliminate that risk.  Yet in conversation with other congregations, CDCs, and the county’s Public Health Department, we feel that we can lower the risks enough to make them acceptable.
            
Other small meetings at church like committees, Sunday school classes, and Bible studies are encouraged to meet electronically for the foreseeable future.  Likewise, worship will continue as is until further notice.  
            
We have been living with COVID for four months now and it looks like it’s here to stay for a while.  The session will continue to monitor the situation, consult the experts, and weigh the risks and benefits.  
            
Please be patient, keep the church in your prayers, maintain your giving, be committed to staying connected, and keep the faith.  God is doing a good thing among us.  We will emerge from this as a stronger, wiser, and more faithful church.  I am blessed to be your pastor for such a time as this.  
            
In Christ,
Luke