Dear Gardens Family,
These are some difficult times for all of us. We all want to be far beyond dealing with any of the shutdowns, physical isolations, and changes because of COVID-19. We may want that, but that simply is not where we are presently. We are hopeful that it will be over soon. We must trust in God and His plan if we are to get through this together.
Please know that our first priority is the safety of all of our members, extended family and friends. Session continues to review the re-opening guidelines and recommendations from Presbytery. The ongoing threat of the Covid-19 virus requires that a return to in-person worship be measured and mindful of the most vulnerable among us. Florida’s numbers continue to rise on a daily basis. After much discussion over the past several weeks, Session has determined it would be in the best interest of all not to reopen at this time. Session will continue to monitor this situation and will keep you informed with future decisions.
Even though our physical building may be closed, the church is not. We will continue with our Zoom Worship services until we can safely re-open Gardens. Sermons will be recorded and posted on our Gardens website (www.gardenspresbyterian.org). This long-range decision to remain worshipping online allows us to focus on important questions facing us right now. What can we do to make online worship more meaningful, and what might we learn for our eventual reopening? How can we strengthen our connections with each other during this unusual time? How can we connect those who are unable to join our services? Session and staff value and invite your input on these important questions.
When the time is right and we can resume in-person worship, please know it will not be as we remember it. It will look and feel different. Face masks and 6 feet of social distancing will be required. Chairs will be spaced out. We will be unable to hug, shake hands, and have physical contact with each other. We will be required to maintain detailed attendance for members, extended family members, friends, and visitors. All of those will need to provide personal information, such as name, address, and phone number. This will be for the purpose of contact tracing.
We understand these uncertain times are filled is sadness, frustration, disappointment, and maybe even deep grief. However, we know these times may also have blessings, happiness, and meaningful moments among them. In our midst of despair, we may also see glimpses of God and the new things He is be doing among us. As we move forward together, let us be guided by scriptures, receptive to the Holy Spirit, and open to the grace of God. Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ.
Written on Behalf of Session and Staff,