May 19, 2020

 

Dear First Presbyterian Church Family:

It is with great excitement that I announce our tentative re-launch date of June 14 for Worship Services in the church facility! What makes it tentative?  The Session has approved our returning to the building for Worship Service on June 14, if the state of Florida is officially in at least Phase 2 of the reopening plan.

I know that some will be excited about this decision, while others may be anxious.  The coronavirus pandemic sent us all to our homes to shelter in place, partly for our own safety and partly for the sake of our vulnerable neighbors. Thank you for your patience during this process.

 

I know that we are all so weary of not seeing each other face to face, of sharing, talking, praying, visiting, and worshiping together.  As one pastor said, “God doesn’t need the church, but God knows we do.” This Sunday I will have preached more before a camera, than I have preached before you, the people of First Presbyterian Church!  But the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.

 

I also want to remind you of the words of David in Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” So, whether you are excited or anxious about this decision, let us not allow the corvid-19 virus to divide us as a body.  Our focus should be that we are finally able to meet together and Worship the Lord (Heb 11:25), while doing it as safely as possible.

 

Several questions arise as we prepare to re-launch:

  1. What modifications will we make to the facility?

  2. What modifications will we make to the Worship Services?

  3. What about weekday ministries?

 

  1. What modifications will we make to the facility?

    1. Deep clean the church.

    2. Remove Bibles, hymnals, pens, information cards, etc., from the backs of chairs/pews.

    3. Re-arrange the chairs in the Sanctuary to provide for social distancing.

    4. Have door stops which will keep the front doors open during entrance and exit times.

    5. Have extra hand sanitization stations located in the lobby area and Sanctuary.

    6. Shut off water fountains, also no coffee or food available until at least Phase 3 or beyond.

    7. Upgrade the filters in the HVAC system.

  2. What modifications will we make to the Worship Services?

    1. Worship will continue at 10:30 am.

    2. If you are in any way uncomfortable attending the Service, or do not feel quite ready to be around larger crowds, I want to encourage you to continue watching the Service on Sunday at home, and we will continue to live stream and record the Weekly Bible Study.

    3. We encourage everyone to wear facemasks.  If you do not have one, there will be some in the church lobby for those who forgot or want one.

    4. Rearrange chairs in the Sanctuary to provide for Social Distancing

    5. No bulletins, however, it will be uploaded to the website, prior to Sunday, if you want to print one for yourself.

    6. No greeting time in the Service or Fellowship time after the Service, until we are in Phase 3 or beyond.

    7. Tithes and Offering stations in the front and back of the Sanctuary, not passed during the Service.

    8. No choir until September

    9. Modified Service – limited singing, elements etc., trying to keep the Service to 45-50 minutes

    10. Communion – Modify the way Communion is administered.

  3. What about weekday ministries?

    1. Beginning the week of June 14, weekly ministries will be allowed to meet in the building per the leader’s discretion.

    2. “Pullen-Up-A-Chair”: Bo and I would like to offer a fellowship meal get-together at our home this summer on Wednesday evenings for groups of eight. Sign-up sheets will be available in the church lobby for a particular date, or call/email the church to be put on the list. Our hope is that everyone will be able to join us at some point through the summer.

 

It is an exciting time in the life of our church, but it is not back to normal quite yet.  It is the new normal, but we are so looking forward to meeting together again to Worship our Lord and Savior!

 

In Christ,

 

 

Barksdale Pullen

Pastor

First Presbyterian Church

April 3, 2020


Dear First Pres Family:


Well we find ourselves in April, and who would have thought we would still be battling the virus. 
What is our church schedule? The Session has decided to cancel all on-site Worship Services and 
activities, meetings, etc. for the month of April. It is worth repeating that it is never an easy 
decision to cancel our meeting together; however, we have an obligation to look after one another 
and consider the needs of others as more significant than our own. Our deepest concern is for those 
most at risk. Whether they are a fellow church member, immediate family, friend, neighbor or 
colleague...we all likely know someone we can help protect. So, I just wanted to say thank you for 
working through this momentary inconvenience.

 

J.I Packer, theologian and author of the Christian classic Knowing God, writes: To know that 
nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes 
the saints. It is a crazy time, which can lead to a mixture of feelings.  Feelings are part of what 
makes us human, and there’s nothing wrong with them.  However, we do not need to camp out there; 
our God is in control, and that should give us hope.  I don’t pretend to understand it all, I 
simply choose to trust in the One who does.  That helps me to deal with the situation we are in. It 
stabilizes me.

 

A few items:
1.   I want to encourage you to participate in the April 4 Day of Prayer and Fasting sponsored by 
The Gospel Coalition.  Information can be found at: Day of Prayer
2.   If you need anything, please email (first@fpcpunta.org) or call the church office 
(941-639-1959).
3.   Our Prayer Team continues to meet on Sunday Evening via FaceTime to pray for our congregation 
and nation/world.  If you have a prayer request or praise, please email it in: first@fpcpunta.org.
4.   Please join us online for our live stream Worship Service on Sunday mornings, the link is: 
LIVESTREAM., the Order of Worship can be found below or on the church’s website.
5.   With the stay-at-home order I will be in the office less time in April and working from home.  
However, I will be checking messages hourly, and dropping by to pick up the mail, and do those 
tasks that I can’t do from home.
6.   Tithes & Offerings can be mailed (our mailbox requires a key to open) to 25250 Airport Rd, 
Punta Gorda, FL 33950, or you can go to our website, www.fpcpunta.org and click the donate button 
to give online.
7.   I will continue the Wednesday Morning Bible Study and will upload it on Wednesday morning.  It 
can also be found on our church website, under the Sermons tab, and Messianic Psalms.
8.   Devotions for Holy Week can be found at: DesiringGod Ministry  or by the Billy
Graham Association.  Or we can print it and mail you a copy.

 

Bo and I miss our fellowship together with all of you, but understand that this is just for a 
season.  Stay safe and stay in touch.


In His Grip,

Pastor Barksdale

March 18, 2020

 

Dear First Pres Family,

This past Sunday, we made several modifications to our Service in the interest to safeguard the 
health of the most vulnerable in our congregation, and our community, when it comes to the 
coronavirus (COVID-19). I also said when it comes to health crises like this one, we will defer to 
the guidelines issued by the CDC and the expertise of medical professionals.

Given the recent update by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the President’s news conferences, 
and after much consideration, the Session has decided we will not meet for our regular worship 
services Sunday, March 22 and March 29, and church activities are canceled for March 18-31.

Instead, we will stream the Services online, go to our website fpcpunta.org and click on the 
livestream logo in the top righthand corner, the Service will start automatically at 10:30 am.

It is never an easy decision to cancel our meeting together; however, we have an obligation to look 
after one another and consider the needs of others as more significant than our own. Our deepest 
concern is for those most at risk. Whether they are a fellow church member, immediate family, 
friend, neighbor or colleague...we all likely know someone we can help protect.

At the same time, we have the incredible gift of technology that enables us to stay connected
in worship together, even though we may be physically separate. Take this time to check on one 
another – help run errands, text, phone call, or a note.  If you have any issues, or need anything, 
please don’t hesitate to email and/or call me.

Continue to pray for wisdom for our government leaders as they navigate these uncertain times. 
Continue to pray for our healthcare workers as they work tirelessly to fight this virus and treat 
those infected. Continue to pray for the sick to be made well.

As always, we will trust God and act wisely. We will also keep you informed as future decisions are 
made. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we walk through this together.

In Christ’s Name:

Pastor Barksale

March 11, 2020


Dear First Pres Family,

I’m sure by now most of you are aware of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are receiving direct 
updates from the CDC and will continue to follow their lead and the guidelines issued by other 
local, state, and federal agencies.

We will continue our cleaning and disinfecting protocols to provide a clean and healthy facility 
for our guests and members. For now, all ministries of First Pres are operating as usual.

Our facilities are equipped with liquid/foam hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobbies and 
Fellowship Hall areas. Please make use of these as you are in our building.

The best way to prevent spreading the virus is to follow these CDC recommended hygiene practices:
•     Please stay home when you are sick (7 days minimum is recommended).
•     Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an 
alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•     Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•     Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
•     Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the 
trash.
•     Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Additionally, you should feel the freedom to politely decline handshakes if that makes you feel 
more comfortable in our church.

While the full impact of an outbreak cannot be predicted, planning for operations under such 
conditions can lessen the impact. The health and safety of our congregation remains a top priority. 
We will keep you updated if any additional precautions become necessary.

Finally, please join us in prayer for those impacted by this virus, for those serving the sick, and 
for God’s protection and provision. Most importantly, let us remember our true source of protection 
… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)


In Christ,
Pastor Barksdale
 

ABOUT US

First Presbyterian Church (ECO) seeks to minister to retirees – year-round and seasonal – in the Punta Gorda area. If you are looking for a church home, please visit us at 10:30 am on Sunday mornings. We are Loving…Growing…Going…in Jesus!

ADDRESS

941-639-1959

25250 Airport Rd

Punta Gorda, FL 33950

OFFICE HOURS:

Mon-Thur: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

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