Grace and peace to you whom God holds in inestimable love and delight!
We are working as a staff to adjust to our “new normal” and have some updates to share with you on ways to stay connected through this season of social distancing.
1) SUNDAY WORSHIP – we will continue to offer live streaming of worship on the church’s Facebook Page at 9:45 AM on Sundays. You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to access the live service, and if you miss it in “real time” you can go back and watch it later. (It stays up on our Facebook page for posterity!) The church’s Facebook PAGE (not group) is: www.facebook.com/WestbrookCongregationalChurchCt/
Scroll down the newsfeed and find the service at 9:45 AM.
2) WEEKLY SMALL GROUP- as our in person Lenten groups have gone on hiatus till we can regroup in person, Mairi and I will be offering an alternative six-week, online small group on Wednesday nights at 7 pm. We will use Zoom (a videoconferencing service) to gather online. The weekly small group will be a “Lectio Divina” type Bible Study on Psalms. (See attached handout for the description of group Lectio that we will use). To join the group use this link: zoom.us/j/126200609 or let me know and I’ll send you a reminder email. We will start meeting on Weds, March 25 and meet for six weeks.
3) FAMILY MINISTRIES: Mairi is putting together a bunch of ways for families with children and youth to stay connected and engaged in faith formation over this time of no in-person Sunday School or youth groups.
– There will be prerecorded video of a Children’s Message and a Sunday School lesson for each Sunday that parents can access and share with their children. Mairi has created a separate, dedicated Family Ministry Facebook page where all these will be posted and archived. Here is the link that page: fb.me/wccfamilies
– Mairi is creating a “Live (Weekly) Story Hour” to gather in “real time” which will be led by Faith Formation staff/volunteers. Time/dates TBD.
– Mairi is exploring with SYNC and Senior Youth Group members/leaders ways to stay in touch over the distance. Time/dates TBD.
4) (NEW!) LIVE DAILY PRAYER: because we want to stay connected more than ever! Mairi and I will be leading a daily prayer at 11:45 AM every day (except Sundays) for 15 minutes via Facebook Live. Again, go to First Congregational Church of Westbrook, CT Facebook page and scroll down for the Live post. For those who join live there will be a chance to offer up your prayers in real time. For those who access it later, you’ll be able to enjoy daily prayer whenever is convenient for you. Daily Prayer will begin on Thursday, March 19
5) LECTIONARY LUNCH: the new in-person Bible discussion group will go on line on Tuesdays at Noon. This group was suggested/created by John Noyes and Rev. Jan to dig deeper into the Sunday scripture readings than a 15 minute sermon can go. We’ll post and discuss the Bible reading from the previous Sunday. This will be another Zoom group. Use this link: zoom.us/j/327460011 or let me know if you’d like to join and I’ll send you a reminder. This will start on March 24.
6) STAYING CONNECTED BY PHONE: The Deacons and I are putting together a list of folks who may or may not have computer access to keep in touch with by phone with regular check in calls. If you’d appreciate receiving or making such calls please let me know.
7) DON’T FORGET OUR LENTEN DEVOTIONAL! An existing online resource! If you’d like to receive it and haven’t joined yet, please let me know. I STILL NEED about 25 devotions to get through Easter Sunday. PLEASE SEND YOUR SUBMISSION TO ME as soon as you can! I’m attaching the suggested guidelines for writing a devotion to this email.
8) TECH SUPPORT! If you have any “tech anxiety” about joining or participating in Facebook Live or Zoom meetings please let us know. Mairi or I will be quite happy to walk you through how to access either. They are really quite “user friendly” once you know what you’re doing!
Friends, here we are in the wilderness. God’s people have been on this terrain many, many times throughout our sacred history! God is with us even now, even here. We have not wandered out of God’s reach even though we are six feet from one another. This may even be a time of special connection as we go out of our way to stay connected to one another across the social distance. I will sending out regular updates as opportunities arise or needs change.
Grace&Peace, Rev. Jan