With the corona virus pandemic on all our minds and in all our prayers — and in light of the ever-evolving recommendations from local, state, and now national health officials — the Nineveh Session has had to make some difficult and serious decisions.
- There will be NO church services held
on the next three Sundays – March 22, 29, and April 5until June 7. At this point, it is our plan (and great prayer!) that we will be able to resume services on Easter Sunday, April 12June 7th. However, we will need to re-evaluate the most current recommendations 2–3 weeks from now and decide then if this is advisable. All will be kept posted.
- Web-based Worship — Binghamton United Presbyterian has a live stream of their Sunday morning worship every week. Worship is at 10:00am, and the stream is accessible through their public Facebook page @UPCBinghamton. The link to their page is also on their website, upcbgm.org. You do not need a Facebook account to access the video. Anyone who would like to worship with them online is invited to do so.
- Re: online access — We recognize that not everyone will be able to access this option as easily as others. We are hoping that those who may not be as computer-savvy will be able to get help from those who are. This is a great mission opportunity!
- The church will be closed to any/all group gatherings (committees, meetings, funerals, etc.). This doesn’t mean you may not enter the building at all. But if you do, please use diligence in cleaning any surfaces you have touched (copy machine, door knobs, counters, etc.).
Friends, these are unique and trying times. All reports indicate the situation is bad — but we’ll be okay if we take it seriously and do all we can to keep ourselves and each other safe. At the same time, all reports indicate that it will get worse if we all do not follow best practices. So please — take care — wash your hands, practice safe distancing, and if you fall into the category of “most vulnerable” to the virus (over 60 and/or with other medical conditions) — please, stay home and reach out for help. There are many who are willing to go out and get you what you need — be it medicine, groceries, etc.
And friends, have faith. Trust, and let us pray:
Eternal God, sustainer, provider, God of all wisdom and knowledge, Our spirits are weary, our faith quivers, our minds get clouded by news of sickness and death. You know our thoughts before we express them, even the fears we dismiss, you know them. We cannot hide our feelings and worries from you. So, as we are, we come to You, Oh God, asking for wisdom, for clear minds and open hearts, for calm and assurance that, through the crisis, You are present.
Knowing that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words,” We ask for wisdom and protection…
For medical personnel, scientists, doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians.
For those around the world considering current and other health crises.
For health care personnel and caregivers.
We lift them up to You.
We ask for clear minds and open hearts as people navigate daily lives…
As closures, cancellations, and quarantines are enacted.
As families gather in their homes, some caring for those who are sick.
As we encounter neighbors in our neighborhoods, stores, and pharmacies.
We pray for the sick, those who have lost or are at risk of losing jobs in the midst of this crisis, for those whose health or social services will be or have been affected, for those suffering the direct effects of this virus, locally and around the world.
Illumine us, Holy Spirit. Show us in what ways we can be of help as we care for self and others.
We ask for calm, assurance, and strength. May we all remember that, in the midst of any crisis,
Your grace reaches us, Your hope enlightens us, and Your love surrounds us all.
(A Word of Prayer from Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and Cindy Kohlman, co-moderators of the 223rd (2018) General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.)