A Letter from Pastor Mark

Trinity Coronavirus Update – March 17, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Psalm 46:1-2
Dear Trinity Family,
Here’s our plan for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as of Tuesday, March 17.

Please read this entire letter.

Trinity takes seriously our moral responsibility to ensure the physical, emotional, and mental safety and well-being of those on our campus and in our surrounding community. This includes monitoring the evolving situation related to COVID-19. We serve a loving and good Father, Son, and Spirit, and we are also blessed and thankful to live in a country with a great health system. We will stay as flexible as possible in order to quickly respond to new information about COVID-19, both pastorally and practically. This communication highlights ways we can love each other and protect the most vulnerable among us.
 
First, PRAY for wisdom. Guided by scripture like, “…may your love abound more and more with knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” [Phil 1:9-10]. We want to respond knowledgeably and blamelessly to guidance from our local health officials, CDC, and God.
 
Pray for Peace. Guided by Scripture like “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).
 
Second, there will be no in-person WORSHIP GATHERINGS on March 22nd, March 29th, or April 5th, with the likelihood that we will extend this longer.  Trinity’s Session (the elders and pastors) believes that the wisest course of action for our church is to monitor and follow, as best we are able, the course of action recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our government authorities to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
 
On Sunday, March 15, CDC recommended that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. This recommendation is effective through May 10, 2020.[1]  On March 16, President Trump advised people not to gather in groups of more than 10.
 
After weighing our options to these rapidly changing guidelines to protect people and promote peace in our community, your Trinity pastoral leadership team and Session have decided we will follow their recommendation and hold church services ONLY VIA VIDEO for the time being. We want to communicate that Trinity is committed to the health and prosperity of our whole community.  Watch for more communication from us regarding Easter services and beyond.

MAKE ‘ONLINE CHURCH’ YOUR MISSION OPPORTUNITY! 
Church is not cancelled, just changed.
 
For these next three weekends, let’s all continue to gather - in our homes, by watching the worship services. Literally “home church”! Our services will be full of joy, encouragement and hope - what everyone needs in times of uncertainty.
 
For now, we will be live broadcasting the songs and sermon on Sunday morning at 10:30am. Each service will be accessible live through our Trinity App and through YouTube. They will also be archived to our App and the website. In addition, Carrie Cornell is helping create Sunday School videos, lessons and activities for children age 2 thru 5th grade! CLICK HERE for some of those resources.
 
How do we access the online services?  Download the Trinity App (Available at App Stores as “Trinity Church Plymouth”), click on This Sunday and then Watch Live on Sunday mornings at 10:30. Or, go to the home page on the web and follow the link from the home page to watch live.
 
Is this ideal? No. I can’t wait to get back to in-person, live services. But we are so grateful for the technology which allows us to provide this solution.
 
Will all events at Trinity be cancelled?
No. But not all events will be ‘in person.’ 
  • Community groups & Journey Groups – each group is free to make their own decision. You should not feel pressure to meet, but please keep in contact and love one another well! The CDC is recommending that individuals in high-risk groups should consider staying home. Please stay flexible. Some of our groups may decide to cancel their meetings or to meet online. If they do, they will let their group members know. 
We know the following groups are still planning to meet:
  • Food Pantry (3/21) – Drive up food distribution only. People need our help now more than ever! This could change if we cannot get food delivered to us, but currently we have commitments for food.
  • Food giveaway to ABC’s in the D families (3/21)
We know the following groups have canceled upcoming meetings:
  • Sunday morning – No events in the Trinity building. 
  • ROOTS classes on Tuesdays/Wednesdays – cancelled.
  • Wednesday night dinners – cancelled.
  • AWANA & How to Study the Bible class on Wednesdays – PAUSED until at least April 5. 
  • Sunday morning/Wednesday night/Sunday night – Senior High and Junior High group activities cancelled.
  • High school small groups – meeting at their leaders’ discretion.
If you have any questions about whether your group is meeting, contact the group leader, or contact the church office (info@trinityepc.org). 

How You Can Help
Remember to support Trinity Church financially during this time. We encourage you to be an online giver, preferably a monthly recurring giver. Our staff is still working. Our local and global partners who rely on our support are still serving. We pray giving does not drop off during this season.
 
You can donate in the following ways:
 
To give a one-time donation, or to become a monthly recurring giver, go to trinityepc.org/give. Click on Make a Donation. If this is your first time giving online, be sure to follow the instructions on the screen.
 
Use the Trinity App – select the “How to Give” picture or the “Give” icon at the bottom.  Enter the amount you’d like to give.
 
Mail or drop your gift by check to Trinity:
                Trinity Presbyterian Church
                10101 W. Ann Arbor Rd
                Plymouth, MI 48170
                Attn: Sue Gerish
 
Do You Need Help??
If you are in need, please let us know! Whether you are ill or have been advised to stay home because you’re at a higher risk of illness, we are devising strategies to care for one another as God’s family. Please email scottygull@yahoo.com. if you need help or contact the church office at info@trinityepc.org.
 
How Can You Stay Healthy?
The best way to help stop the spread of this virus is to follow common-sense guidelines.  Learn more about Coronavirus protective measures here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
CDC has also given guidance for what to do if you believe you may have the virus here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
 
In addition to this medical advice, I might add three recommendations:
  1. STAY CALM - Constantly checking headlines and worrying can have the unintended effect of robbing you of sleep and driving up stress. That makes you more vulnerable to illness. Let go of “anticipatory anxiety.”
  2. STAY CONNECTED – to Trinity. Worship with us online, keep connecting with your groups, find ways to serve others, and give online.
  3. STAY PRAYERFUL
    I expect God will work through this pandemic in ways we can’t imagine now. He will sustain and strengthen us in these days and redeem this season for His glory and our good. As Christ-followers, we have been called “for such a time as this” to a season of “unwanted ministry” to be a people who bring peace to a world full of panic.

    Please pray for the global medical and political leaders. Pray for those who are deeply impacted by this disease. Pray that people all over the world will draw closer to God.

    And though we are not meeting in person to worship for a couple weeks, please know that you may always ask for prayers. Please use our Trinity App to give your prayer requests to our Prayer Team and they will keep your prayers confidential while faithfully praying for you.
As always, please let us know if there is anything we can be doing to care for you and your family.
 
This situation is changing rapidly! We will update you if we hear any new recommendations from the authorities.
 
Prayerfully,
 
Mark Fuller