Dear Wyoming Church community, As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, I am writing to you to share our latest update. Given Governor Phil Murphy’s order for New Jerseyians to shelter-in-place, our Session Task Force has decided to suspend in-person worship and gatherings for the foreseeable future.
You may have heard people say, “The church was never a building.” And yet, we must acknowledge that this is heartbreaking. Collectively, we mourn worshipping and doing ministry in the same space. And as we look towards Easter and even beyond to Wyoming’s Church-Has-Left-the-Building event, we can’t help but feel the loss of celebrating in the sanctuary—the place in which we are gathered and from where we are sent.
Even still, our ministry continues, because, in fact, the church is not a building. Our community is the church. And so through the phone, mail and 21st century technology, we continue to reach out to each other. You are not alone.
Please continue to stay connected to our vibrant and welcoming community. Worship with Wyoming Church on Sunday virtually through Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/wyomingpres/). And for information on how to subscribe to our You Tube Channel, make a contribution to Wyoming Church, sign up for our weekly email, or to contact our office, please visit our website (https://wyomingpresbyterian.org). And as always, feel free to reach out to me or the office with any question or concern.
Friends, during these troubling times in which we have left our sanctuary, let us find refuge in God and in each other. For the Psalmist reminds us that even when the mountains shake in the heart of the sea, God is our help amidst the trouble.
Rev. Caroline S. Unzaga
Interim Pastor, Wyoming Presbyterian Church
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
Though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.”
Psalm 46: 1-2
If you missed the service or were unable to access the service this morning on Facebook Live, here is you chance to reconnect with Wyoming in a meaningful and uplifting way. Hear some beautiful music from Steven Shellman and Wyoming soloists and instrumentalists and a timely message from Pastor Caroline as she leads us through Lent.
Click HERE to see other videos.
- Enjoy today’s service
- Click SUBSCRIBE (subscriptions are free) and the next time you go to YouTube you can click on subscriptions and Wyoming Presbyterian will pop up.
Every year we as Presbyterians collectively give money to a mission component of our denomination called One Great Hour of Sharing. Your financial gifts share God’s love with people experiencing need. One Great Hour of Sharing has three prongs; Presbyterian hunger relief, Presbyterian disaster relief, and the self development of people. The first two area self defining while self development of people is a little more interesting.
Through self development of people, grants are given to people help themselves. Just think, you could give a person a fish, but if you teach them to fish they can feed themselves! It is specifically for empowerment of economically poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged people, seeking to change the structures that perpetuate, poverty, oppression and justice. Folks who have had a hard time are taught job skills, resume writing and things to make them more able to hold a job and earn money.
Please prayerfully consider making a special donation to One Great Hour of Sharing. The donations are set to be collected on Palm Sunday, which is April 5. Since we can’t worship together you can send it to the church in the mail. As a congregation we set a goal of $6000. I am sure that a good portion of it will go to help the many who are suffering as a result of Coronavirus.
Dear Members and Friends of Wyoming Church,As promised, I am reaching out to share the decisions that the Wyoming Church session has made to meet the challenge of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. We will be refraining from public worship, meetings, ministries, and programs in our church building for the next two weeks. This is effective immediately and will include the next two Sundays, March 15th and March 22nd. The session will make a decision about resuming public worship during the week of March 22nd and share accordingly.
This decision was made prayerfully, in consultation with the leadership of the Presbytery of Newark, as well as considering the recommendations of our local governments and school systems. During this time, our goal is to do all that we can to support the spiritual and emotional needs of our Wyoming Church family and greater community, while also mindfully protecting everyone’s physical health.
This doesn’t mean that we will cease “being church.” In many ways, we need each other even more during times of crisis. Our session has put together the following plan, so that we can continue to worship and support each other as a community:
- Worship: We will livestream our worship service on Sundays at 10 am on FacebookLIVE. Simply “like” us at Wyoming Presbyterian Church Facebook page and join us at our regularly scheduled time.
- Spiritual Care: The Deacons and I will be responding to any special needs of our parishioners during this time. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally or through the office; we will be checking messages regularly.
- Education: Our Lenten Adult Education forum will continue via online video conference. We also will be exploring sharing children’s ministry resources that can be done at home.
- Team Meetings and Ministries: Our Mission Team will continue to provide support to our community partners. The Session, Staff, and other teams will continue to meet regularly virtually.
- Task Force: The session has appointed a Task Force to monitor the quickly evolving news regarding COVID-19 and to make decisions accordingly.
We will be communicating regularly through our Facebook page, our website, as well as providing opportunities for virtual worship and community. If you haven’t done so already, join us by “liking” our page. Friends, this surely is a time of high anxiety. As we look to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, we hear him urging us to receive his peace.
Blessings, Pastor Caroline
Pastorcaroline.firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-376-3066
“Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you…
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Dear Members and Friends of Wyoming Church, You may know that the most common phrase in the Bible is “do not fear.” These words may be of little comfort as news of the Corona Virus has rightly stoked our fears. However, in times like these, we are invited to consider the wisdom of the Psalmist: our help comes from the Lord. God is our help, especially as we discern our path forward amidst uncertain and ever-changing terrain.
By now, you surely have become aware of the spread of the Corona Virus here New Jersey and in neighboring state, New York. If you are like me, you have been inundated by notifications of cancellations to avoid the spread of the virus. At this time, Millburn public schools have decided to shift to virtual schooling beginning next week. Open Door Preschool has also suspended classes for the next two weeks.
You may be wondering about worship and event cancellations at Wyoming Church. Please know that your church leadership has been in conversation with local leaders, as well as the Presbytery for guidance. The church session will meet tomorrow morning to prayerfully discern our next steps. All decisions from session with be forthcoming on the website and on social media (Facebook and Instagram) as well as in an email.
The situation is evolving rapidly and we will continue to assess best community practices and be in touch. And we live in hope – for health, for healing, and to protect the vulnerable. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by phone at 973-376-3066 or by email at email@example.com
Yours in Christ, Rev. Caroline S. Unzaga
Interim Pastor Wyoming Presbyterian Church
SOCIAL MEDIA @ Wyoming Facebook (@wyomingpres) and Instagram (@wyoming.church).
ADULT EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 26 so our study will be begin Sunday March 1 from 12:30-1:30 pm for 5 Sundays. Because of Covid-19 the next few weeks will take place with ZOOM.
If you would like to participate email Jon Reese for instructions. firstname.lastname@example.org
The study will be based on Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi by Amy-Jill Levine.
“Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.”
It’s that time of year for Christians around the globe to enter the season of Lent. People from the outside might seem perplexed. Why do Christians put ashes on their foreheads and fast for 40 days? Why not just do a good juice cleanse and call it a day?
You know as well as I do that the world isn’t what moves so quickly–it’s us humans. Here in the Northeast we have become particularly adept at maximizing our time and our family’s schedules, as well. We all do this maybe because tacitly we know that time is one of our most precious resources and we don’t get back once we’ve used it.
And so we have the season of Lent help us put it all into perspective. Those ashes that go on our foreheads remind us of our mortality—from dust we have come and to dust we shall return. If you hadn’t thought of it lately, it’s your annual wakeup call. This life is it—so take inventory, reflect, breathe in and out, and pray. In fact, why not take 40 days to do so, like Noah on the Arc or Jesus in the wilderness. Lent is our invitation to slow down and to live intentionally. Lent helps us prepare for the one who turns death on its head, for the one promises more than dust, but instead true and abundant life.
Here are just a few opportunities to join in and do the work of reflection together as a community:
- Adult Education: “Short Stories by Jesus,” Sundays during Lent at 12:30 pm
- Ash Wednesday Worship Service, 7 pm in the Sanctuary
- Holy Week Special Services
Lent is a time for us to do just what poet Mary Oliver charges us with in her poetry: Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.” If you hear that annual wake up call, you are always welcome to pause and reflect during this season of Lent at Wyoming Presbyterian Church.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Caroline Steinemann Unzaga
Interim Pastor, Wyoming Presbyterian Church