Dear Members and Friends of Christ Central Presbyterian,

It has certainly been good to worship together again these past two months since we reopened the church. Considering the health situation in our community, we are pleased with the overall attendance at the services as well as the continued interest in watching our live streaming of the services on YouTube.

By now we had hoped to be moving into Phase III of the reopening. However, God in His sovereign wisdom has decided not to remove this thorn in our flesh for at least the foreseeable future. Like all of you, the Session has been following the deterioration in both the number of new daily COVID cases as well as the skyrocketing positivity rate from those being tested. Because of our desire to make our Sunday morning experience safe for all those in attendance, we have decided that as of this Sunday, July 19, wearing a face mask will be required for all attendees except for those age 2 and under. If you arrive at the church without a mask, we plan to have a few on hand that we can give you to wear. For those unable to wear a mask for whatever reason, we invite you to watch the live stream of the service on YouTube until conditions subside sufficiently that we can relax this requirement. We concede that masks are uncomfortable. However, more and more studies are showing their effectiveness at reducing the spread of COVID-19. In addition, we have become accustomed to having to wear a mask to go just about anywhere these days due to government emergency ordinances. We consider this practice a minor inconvenience for about an hour’s time to protect the health and lives of our congregation and those with whom we may have contact throughout the week.

We have also made the decision to postpone the resumption of in-person Sunday school as originally planned for September 6. We still plan to resume classes for most ages, but we will be starting the fall quarter with online offerings via Zoom or a similar platform. When conditions improve sufficiently, we intend to resume in-person classes and will notify the congregation accordingly. In the coming weeks, we will be sending out information about our fall class offerings. Please be on the lookout for this announcement as we seek to continue studying God’s word together as a church body.

In times like this, it is easy to become discouraged. In many ways, 2020 is feeling like a lost year of ministry with most activities sidelined until further notice. Nevertheless, we still see God’s blessing upon our church in the midst of this great trial. The Lord has added a number of new families to our church body with several more currently attending our Exploring Church Membership class. The Lord has brought us a new pianist/organist, Candace MacDougal, scheduled to begin playing for us on July 26. The Lord has sustained our finances with our budget deficit a little better than expected at about $10,000 in spite of the pandemic’s devastating impact to our nation’s economy. Moreover, so far, the Lord has blessed our congregation with relatively good health and has protected us from a serious COVID outbreak. We pray that He continues to do so and that He would bring a soon end to this pandemic. In all these things, we are reminded that when we are weak, we are strong by the sustaining power of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 12:10).

Your Servants in Christ,

The Session of Christ Central Presbyterian

P.S. Anyone wanting/needing masks can get 2 cotton masks for each family member at most libraries in Hillsborough County. It is a drive up service since the buildings are closed to the public.