UPDATE: MARCH 26, 2020

Dear CPC folks,

May the Lord bless you and keep you each and all during this season of covid-19 disruption.  How important and life-giving it is to continue to connect with each other as a worshiping community in the face of this “stay at home” time of forced separation.  Here are a few important related reminders:
 
1.  Building closed / staff maintaining operations from homes.  As previously announced, the church building is closed until restrictions are lifted by governmental authorities.  Church staff members are working from home to the greatest extent possible.  Please don’t hesitate to contact any staff member with questions or ongoing church business via email, text or phone calls. 
 
2.  Deacons are reaching out.  God bless our Deacons for reaching out to members of their parishes in recent days.  If you have any prayer requests, you can always email them to prayers@cordatachurch.org 
 
3.  Connecting via Zoom.  You should also have received an email from our new office administrator, Mandy Gagnon, earlier today.  It introduces Mandy AND gives some important basic information about Zoom.  I want to encourage everyone who can to participate in worship this Sunday using Zoom.  Zoom is a web-based videoconferencing tool that will allow us all to see and talk with each other from home using a computer, tablet, or phone.  It’s pretty easy…anyone can do it!
 
Zoom Test Run (practice session).  To help you get connected & solve any technical issues ahead of Sunday morning, we are providing an opportunity for you to join a Zoom meeting a day early (this Saturday at 10:15a).  I will send a separate email reminder about the Saturday Zoom practice / test opportunity.  (Email #2 of 3).  We will also open the Zoom meeting at 9:30a on Sunday morning so those who can’t join in the Zoom Test Run a day early have another chance to sign on and get any kinks worked out before 10:15a worship services starts.
 
In His hope and confidence,
Pastor Greg

 

 


 

UPDATE: MARCH 19, 2020

Dear CPC folks,

 
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
Many of us were able to join together remotely for worship on Sunday morning.  I was pleasantly surprised by the good turnout for our first attempt at “live-streaming” a worship service last Sunday.  Many thanks to our entire amazing Staff Team for adapting to rapid change with grace and commitment. 
 
Here are a few updates to keep everyone informed in this unusual season:
 
Online (live-streaming) worship continues.  When our Session meets this coming Tuesday, we will no doubt arrange for Sunday morning worship to continue via live-stream on Sunday mornings.  I plan to recommend that we make that arrangement at least through Sunday, April 5th.  As we get closer to Holy Week, we will know more about how best to arrange special services and Easter.   To join in on Sunday mornings, go to www.cordatachurch.org and click on the Livestream option on the navigation bar (top right of home screen) on Sunday at 10:15a.  
 
Zooming into the future.  We are presently investigating a web-based video-conferencing tool called Zoom.  It is an easy-to-use tool that will allow us to hold meetings together even when we are not physically present.  We have already started using Zoom for small meetings and plan to expand to other purposes (small groups, Bible studies, prayer gatherings, maybe even Sunday worship) in the week(s) ahead.  Stay tuned for more information via email.
Some of you are curious about online giving options.  We are planning to enhance our present online giving options.  Again, stay tuned for more information.  In the meantime, did you know that your regular offering envelopes can be put in U.S. mail?  Just needs an address and a stamp and it will get to church that way.  Let Amber know at amberb[at]cordatachurch.org if you have questions.
 
Guatemala Mission Team is home safe and sound.  Our Guatemala Mission Team had to cut their trip short.  Let’s thank God that each of the 8 team members is well and that their flight home went without incident.  Team members are glad they went, satisfied that they had the opportunity to deliver some supplies that will be helpful to the Pokomchi people, and are looking forward to a possible return trip.
 
Prayers.  One unexpected thing to come from this global pandemic:  Deep, rich prayers.  All you dear CPC folks have been coming regularly to my mind…it has been such a huge blessing to pray for you. 
 
Needs?  If you have particular needs, whether those are food, finances, or prayer, please let me or your Deacon know.  This is a season when the people of God can and will help provide for each other.  What a blessing to have a church family like ours!
 
With confidence and hope in Christ,
Pastor Greg

 


UPDATE: MARCH 18, 2020

Dear CPC Community,
Thank you for being a prayerful and encouraging body with the love of Christ. Here are the latest updates from our Leadership team as of March 18th:

•Our office will be closed through March 31st with staff working remotely when possible.
•Sunday Worship will be online only through April 5th by streaming live at 10:15am or watching it after at cordatachurch.org
•Your Deacon will be contacting you shortly to communicate these details and then some. If you are ot part of a parish or would like to be connected, please email admin@cordatachurch.org.

“Finally, remember that we are protected by a good and loving God.  As followers of Christ, we can and should set the tone and example for how to respond.  Let’s address and regulate our own emotions as we seek to serve others with hope. To be a presence of calm when others are worried.  To be a conduit of God’s peace.” -Pastor Greg


UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Cordata Pres leadership has been wrestling with the question of whether to hold services on Sunday, given the recent recommendation from our local health department and government officials to avoid meeting in groups as small as 10 people, the encouragement of our Presbytery to follow that recommendation, the collective wisdom of all 3 Presby congregations (and other churches) in Bellingham, and the challenge of what Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves looks like in this season. 

Staff and Session together have voiced and listened to several perspectives. On one hand, we all want to care for our most vulnerable populations, and social gatherings are the most problematic element to the spreading of the coronavirus. On the other, worship is an essential element of practicing our faith, and doing that corporately is both a discipline and a gift.

The Session has reached the decision to reconfigure our Sunday Worship for THIS Sunday:  instead of worshipping together in person, we will switch to a video format over the internet . Please join us on Sunday at www.cordatachurch.org. The worship service will start at 10:15 as usual, and be livestreamed then.  We expect to be able to record it then and thereby make the recording available for viewing at any time afterwards.
 

Our Children’s Ministry team will be separately emailing our families with links to online video content. etc. for Cordata Clubhouse (children’s church) lessons to encourage and equip our families to continue worship and Bible study at home.  If you want to receive info on this, please email BonnieH@cordatachurch.org .  In related news, Gov. Inslee a short while ago issued a statewide closure of all public and private schools effective on Tuesday, 3/17.  Thus, Birchwood Christian School and Evergreen Christian School will discontinue meeting in our church building by then.

This season of navigating best practices can be hard, but it can also be a time to creatively consider what it means to be a community reflecting Christ – we encourage you to maintain connection with one another by phone, mail, email or other means to support one another and offer help where needed (grocery pick-up, helping with kids, etc.)  Let’s seek the peace of the city together – making wise decisions as recommended by our public officials to serve our most vulnerable populations. Let us hold fast to our faith in God, who is bigger than any pandemic and will see us through.  Let’s proceed with calm confidence, praying for our leaders, neighbors, friends and strangers both near and far.  Let’s pray especially for our Mission Team newly arrived safely in Guatemala–for the Lord’s protection against illness and difficulties in travel.
 
Take heart:  Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
 
With faith in Christ our Lord,
Greg

Rev. Greg Ellis | Pastor
Cordata Presbyterian Church
400 Meadowbrook Ct., Bellingham, WA 98226
office 360.733.8860 | cell 360.684.4226

To:

CPC Staff, Congregation, and Partners

From:

Nathan Shorb, Director of Youth & Operations

cc:

Greg Ellis, Pastor

Date:

March 3, 2020

Re:

Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)

Dear CPC Staff, Congregation, and Partners,

Our team is aware of the recent rise in cases concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington State and wanted to communicate to our Cordata Presbyterian Church community that every effort is being taken to minimize the risk of exposure in our building and facilities.

With the help of our great Custodial Team and everyone who comes through CPC, we can all assist in keeping the facility clean. We will be adding additional staff hours to focus on sanitizing and cleaning areas used most frequently on a daily basis, including our two schools.

What can you do to help keep CPC safe?

  1. Actively encourage sick people to stay home. Encourage and support staff, children, and visitors to stay home when sick.
  2. Model Respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Utilize the posters and encourage handwashing and use of hand sanitizer throughout the day. Ensure that adequate supplies (single-use tissues, hand sanitizer, etc) are maintained.
  3. Practice social distancing. When diseases are spreading in a community, reduce how big the outbreak can get by staying six feet or more away from each other, especially if someone may be sick. Coughs and sneezes can travel this distance.
  4. Perform routine environmental cleaning. Assist us in routinely cleaning all frequently touched surfaces in the building including doorknobs, light switches, surfaces, tables, chairs, and bathrooms.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at NathanS@cordatachurch.org or 360-733-8860.

 

Sources: www.cdc.gov/COVID19, www.doh.wa.gov/coronavirus, www.cordatachurch.org/covid19

Message from Pastor Greg

Dear CPC folks,

May the Peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God!  
 
Last Sunday (March 1), I announced during morning worship service some of the precautions we are taking to respond in a healthy way to the coronavirus / covid-19 illness that has been detected in our neighboring communities (mostly in the Seattle area.  To date, Whatcom County has no confirmed cases, but health officials do have a few people they are testing for the illness.  
 
How can we respond to this headline-grabbing situation?  
 
First of all, hygiene:
 
Physical Hygiene:  The stuff that public health officials suggest to keep yourself and your spaces clean and corona-virus free.   Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, use standard cleaners on all surfaces, that sort of thing.   
We are also increasing the frequency of our cleaning of key surfaces in the building.  Our pre-school already has a very well-developed policy to prevent communicable diseases among the children and families in our school [See attached memos]
 
Social Hygiene:  If you are sick stay home, don’t spread it.  If you have health risk factors, consider staying home for a Sunday or two.  We want you to be healthy and whole!  If you do that, please let me or your Deacon know, since we want keep up with you.  
When you do come to church, the basic idea here is give people their space!  For Lent, we will give up shaking hands in greeting and in the passing of the peace.  We will also take extra precautions around how communion is served.
 
Emotional Hygiene:  This is a big one.  Pay close attention to the information, media, and “emotional” content you consume and stay away from those messages, media and people who try to feed a frenzy. Stick close to good sources, don’t spend too much time there, just get good info and then act.  [e.g. See https://ncov2019.live/data, an informative site created by a 17-year old student on Mercer Island].  Feed faith, hope, and love of God for you and for all people.  Try not to feed worry and fear…in your own soul or in others.  Speaking of good sources…
  
Local public health departments seem to have a really good eye on actual conditions and in your local area. Here’s the link to our Whatcom County Health Dept:  https://www.whatcomcounty.us/3329/Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19 
 
 
Finally, remember that we are protected by a good and loving God.  As followers of Christ, we can and should set the tone and example for how to respond.  Let’s address and regulate our own emotions as we seek to serve others with hope. To be a presence of calm when others are worried.  To be a conduit of God’s peace.  And to be wise about what actions will keep people safe and what won’t.
 
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.
 
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Greg