March 21, 2020: Read our weekend digest that includes our new household liturgy and sermon, and details about an easy service opportunity HERE.
March 18, 2020: Read about our efforts to care for one another and our neighbors amidst the coronavirus HERE. We need your help.
March 16, 2020: Our prayer and communion meetings that were scheduled this week and next are unfortunately postponed until further notice. We are creating new resources to cultivate community and keep us connected to the life and teaching of New City. All details are HERE.
March 13, 2020: House church worship directions can be found HERE. These directions were also emailed to the congregation.
March 12, 2020: Below is the message sent to the congregation of New City Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, OH.
New City Church Family,
You probably knew it was coming: a word from our church about the rising concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19).This is a quickly evolving situation and what follows below is what we think is appropriate for the situation as it exists today. This email is designed to provide a big picture of our current plans, and this will not be our last communication on this topic. Please read carefully below, then stay-tuned for more information.
The World Health Organization has officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic. As the President said in his address last night, while the virus is not a mortality risk to most of the population, it is still a very deadly disease, and we all have a responsibility to take basic precautions to hamper its spread. The plan we outline below was developed after seeking the counsel and guidance of medical professionals in our community, as well as our own prayerful reflection on the Scriptures.
We want to do all we can to love and serve our neighbors. We want to be wise, adopting best practices from medical professionals as well as always operating with the hope and confidence that comes from faith in the risen Jesus. Our conviction that God is in control mitigates panic and fear. We want to do all we are able to help and protect our church members, neighbors, and community members, especially those who are vulnerable to disease.
To that end, we have been told by our doctors that reducing large group gatherings for a few weeks will help to minimize the risk of transmission. This can slow the spread of the disease, as well as help prevent the hospital system from being overloaded by a quick outbreak.
At the same time, we want to obey the command of Hebrews 10:25: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” So in general our plan will be to continue to gather in smaller groups (hopefully even more frequently), while suspending our large group gatherings for at least the next few weeks.
Here is what it will look like:
- We will NOT gather at the church building for the next two Sunday mornings (March 15 and 22). We encourage you to gather on Sunday mornings either with members from your community groups, or folks in your neighborhood. Or, if that’s not possible, to gather with those in your household for worship. We will provide liturgies for you to utilize, as well as a video of our sermon for you to use at your gatherings; these materials will be available Sunday morning at https://www.newcitycincy.org/housechurch. We will still be sitting under God’s Word together, offering our prayers and praise together, even as we gather remotely in smaller groups.
- We encourage community groups to gather per usual.
- We will offer smaller communion and prayer services at the building during the week. We will have 30-40 minute services Tuesday (March 17) at 7am, as well as Wednesday (March 18) and Friday (March 20) at noon.
- Women’s daytime Bible Study will not meet for the next two weeks.
- The Free Sale will be rescheduled.
During a time of need, fear and isolation, it is all the more important for us to gather as a community of faith and to welcome those who are looking for hope. This will look a bit different for a few weeks, but it will also be a chance to experience worship and community in a different way, and perhaps open our eyes to the experience many Christians have had throughout the centuries. Many of the practices we are planning have been utilized successfully by the church in China over the last few months.
If you are ill with viral symptoms (i.e. fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc.), please refrain from coming to even these smaller gatherings while symptomatic. The wisest course of action is to stay at home until your are well. If you are vulnerable to this virus (if you are over 60 years old, if you have an impaired immune system, or if you have a serious medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc.), please use wisdom in your participation in church gatherings. Know that your presence will be missed and we invite you follow along with the materials we send out, listen to sermons online, and text any prayer requests to 97000 with the keyword pray4newcity at the beginning of your text. We will also be updating the home page of the Church Center App.
Historically, Christian presence amidst illness has been a powerful witness to faith. We practice wisdom and seek guidance from medical professionals, but we do not cower in fear nor do we isolate ourselves out of sense of self-protection. Instead, we continue our practice of meeting together and serving one another and our neighbors. As Rev. Scott Sauls says, “Wash hands for sure; then wash feet.”
With love and care,
New City Session and Staff
“The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.” -C.S. Lewis