Listen to God
Holy week and Easter usually fall in late March or early April. Cut out a cross and write your word on it. Hang it up like the others or add it to your journal. Think about what your word has to do with redemption.
We are happy to let you know that the member who had been told last week they were positive for the Covid-19 virus was told wrong. The other member who was under quarantine has tested negative. Both are doing well and resting up.
Please continue to use caution in your day to day life, respect the state-wide shelter in place order, and limit your physical exposure to other people.
If you are a member who does not receive prayer chain updates and you would like to be put on the prayer chain, please let us know so that we can put you own the list. We will not add anyone who has not specifically signed up to be on the prayer chain list. If you are not getting the updates, you are not on the list.
Thanks, friends. Have a blessed Holy Week.
I think you're wrong (but i'm listening)
We are changing up our Bible study and book study plans just a little bit for this spring. While we still want to read "I Think You're Wrong (but I'm listening)", but we're going to move that study to just one session per week, beginning on April 15th. We will meet Wednesday mornings at 11 am.
If you already have the book, you're set. If not, you can get it on Kindle, audiobook, or hard copy on Amazon. Just be warned that hard copies may take a while to arrive due to shipping delays. If you previously requested that the church purchase it for you, we have not bought copies yet. Please let us know if you need help figuring out the purchase and having it sent to your home. The study will last 10 weeks, with one chapter per week. Please prepare by reading the first chapter by the start date. We will meet via Zoom. You will need to sign up using the form below and you will get an email with the link and/or call in information.
Our second option for a small group study is a good old fashioned walk through Philippians. We will spend 4 weeks walking through this comforting section of scripture with our friends from Mount Nebo and Glenshaw Valley. We will meet Thursday afternoons at 2 pm beginning April 16th.
We will go through one chapter of Philippians per week. Please prepare by reading the first chapter by the start date. We will meet via Zoom. You will need to sign up using the form below and you will get an email with the link and/or call in information.
Many of you may have the ability to watch the church services on your tv through your cable box. Both Verizon Fios and Comcast Xfinity offer a YouTube app on many of their devices. Here are the directions :
Verizon FIOS YouTube Instructions
Comcast Xfinity YouTube Instructions
Friends, many of you have heard through the prayer chain that one of our members at Emsworth UP has been confirmed to have COVID-19. Due to other health concerns and risk factors, this member is being kept under watch in the hospital, but is doing well overall. We also have one other member who is currently undergoing quarantine at home while awaiting test results. Please join us in praying for their recovery and rest during this time.
Please know that neither of these cases cause infection concern for our congregation as a whole. It is coincidence that both have fallen ill. Neither were present at church on March 8th, the last week that we met on Sunday morning for worship. Since then, we have been worshiping online only and have had limited staff presence at either church building. Please know that none of the congregation - outside of these members' own households - have been exposed to either of them.
I am grateful for the caring and thoughtful leadership of our elders through this time. While it was not easy to decide to cancel in person worship for as long as we've been apart, it is very apparent at this time that it was the right decision. Had we continued to meet regularly, this could indeed have been a congregation-wide health crisis.
Please remember that it's of the utmost importance that you limit your trips outside your home to infrequent and essential trips only. It is not only for your own health that this is important, but for the health of others in the community as well. It is our loving Christian duty right now to do everything we can to protect our community from this pandemic.
Below, you will find links to safety tips to keep healthy during this time, as well as some mental health and wellbeing tips. If you ever need to talk, please feel free to call the pastoral care line at 412.219.2503 or call Pastor Charissa directly on her cell phone. If you have a medical concern or emergency, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Thank you all for your love and concern for one another! You are beloved and loving and I am constantly humbled and honored to call myself your pastor.
While we're doing online worship only, we still want to see as many familiar faces as possible on Sunday morning. Even if you're camera shy, it's a great act of love for your church community to record a quick message about where you have seen God working this week. Nothing fancy, just a cell phone video or a photo and caption texted or emailed to Pastor Charissa at 412.219.2503 is good enough!
If you'd like to participate in something extra fun (and top secret), say "Peace be with you" at the end of the video. You won't be disappointed.
And remember, for Palm Sunday, we want videos of you and your loved ones waving your palms and shouting "Hosanna!"
If you have questions, email or call Pastor Charissa.
Palm Sunday: We want to see your palms waving! If you don't have palms from last year, from a house plant, or wherever, you have two options. You can use one of the printable options below and print them and cut them out at home. One is full color and another gives the option to color it yourself. OR you can just wave your hands! You have palms on your hands and we love a good liturgical pun!
Once you have your palms ready, gather up anyone else who lives with you: spouse, kids, pets, puppets, be creative! Then get a quick video of you waving those palms and shouting "HOSANNA!" "Hosanna" means "Save us, Lord!" If ever there was a time that we feel like we need saving, this is it!
Email those videos to Pastor Charissa at firstname.lastname@example.org OR text them to 412.219.2503.
The Palm Sunday service will air on our YouTube channel at 10 am Sunday, April 5th. It will be immediately followed by Communion via Zoom. This is the virtual meeting software we have been using. It is useable on any smart phone, tablet, or laptop, as well as any desktop computer that is connected to a webcam and microphone. Please call us if you need the phone number to call in via regular phone instead. Worship should end by 11am and we will give everyone until 11:10 to log in for the communion portion of the service. Please have your own grape juice or wine, and some bread ready for the celebration of communion.
Pro tip: if you "subscribe" to the church channel on YouTube, it will be easier to find in the future. Also the more subscribers we have, the more features YouTube allows us to use. Feel free to share with friends and family.
Holy Week: While we are scaling back Holy Week, we haven't forgotten about it and we are certainly observing Holy Week. We will be joining up with our friends at Ben Avon Community Presbyterian on Maundy Thursday (April 9) for a two part service. At 6pm, we will gather via Zoom virtual meeting for dinner and communion. You are invited to bring your meal with you to the service as we check in with one another and share a meal from our own dining rooms and kitchens. At the end of that time, we will celebrate communion together. Please have your own grape juice or wine, and some bread ready for the celebration of communion.
Immediately following this dinner service, at 7pm, we will join our friends at Ben Avon Community Presbyterian for their live-streamed Tenebrae service.
Easter Sunday: We will gather on Easter morning bright and early to celebrate the rising sun on the Lord's Day. Join us via video call (call us if you can't "zoom" in but would like to call in on the phone) at 6:30 am for a casual Sunrise prayer service. Feel free to "bring" your breakfast and/or coffee with you. If the weather is warm enough, sit outside on your porch to watch the sun rise. Not even a Pandemic can stop the sun from rising on Resurrection Sunday!
At 10 am, our worship service will air on YouTube, followed by communion in the same way that we'll be celebrating communion on Palm Sunday. Have your wine/juice and bread ready and log in to the meeting to have communion live with one another.
I know these are strange and uncertain times we are living in and I thank you all for your love for and dedication to one another and your church family, your creativity and flexibility, and your willingness to jump in and try some new things!
Aside from some technical difficulties with the services we're uploading our worship to, I've heard nothing but good things about the worship services these past three weeks. I appreciate all the participation from those who have sent in videos. It's been great to see everyone in worship together! There are still lots of opportunities to participate. Please check out the "Community During Quarantine" page for details.
As most of you know, the church buildings will remain closed at least through the end of April. That doesn't mean we can't still worship together in this special season. You will find details for that on the "Community During Quarantine" page as well.
While this is an unprecedented and unpredictable time in our lives together, I have faith that that which is out to harm us, God can use for good. Based on what I've seen over the past few weeks as you all work to care for one another and to "be church" in new and interesting ways, I believe that our congregation will come out of this different, but stronger. We've been thrown into the deep end of figuring out new ways to do life together and that speaks volumes about your ability to move forward in the future.
I love you all and thank you for all you are doing. Please call if you need anything!
While the church offices are essentially shut down for the time being, that doesn't mean you can't drop by to say hi! We're setting up online pastor's office hours. Just pick a time from the list at the sign up below and log in to the virtual office at the time you chose! You can sign up at the last minute, even. If the slot's open, that means it's open office hours. As soon as you fill out the slot at the link below, you'll get an email with info on how to find the virtual meeting room. This virtual meeting room will work with nearly any laptop, tablet, or smartphone and many desktop computers as well. Just make sure your computer has a webcam and a microphone. If you don't have the hardware to use the virtual meeting room, just pick a slot and note that you'd like Pastor Charissa to call you on the phone instead.
I can't say it enough times. I'm so blown away by the love and creativity you all are showing one another right now. Everyone has been willing to roll with things and work together as we completely reinvent what church looks like in a time of physical distance. Keep up the great work!
Keep calling and texting each other. Stay in touch with one another as much as possible. This is where the rubber meets the road. We say we're a church family. . . now is the opportunity to really live that in a new and important way.
Please reach out to someone around you - including your pastor - if you need something. Even if that's just a chat. We're all having good days and bad days. That's normal. When you're having a bad day, reach out to someone and lean on each other.
Keep connected on the church website too. We will be building in more and more gatherings and activities online if this continues for long.
You all are such a blessing.