Dear First Pres Family:

There is some confusion in the State of Florida now about how people of faith should approach public worship and community ministry in the midst of a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

I spoke this week with people in our city government about our church’s feeding ministries. Under the Governor’s Executive Order from Wednesday, April 1, non-profits involved in feeding and assisting the marginalized in our community are essential entities. We must observe social distancing with staff and volunteers, but are completely clear to continue our bag lunch and soup kitchen ministries.

The first and second Executive Orders from the Governor may have given the impression that it is acceptable for people to attend religious services. In my conversations I have come to feel that those staff and volunteers who are gathering to conduct services that will be streamed (like our 9:15 am and 11:00 am Sunday services, and Maundy Thursday Evening Tenebrae) are fine to do so, again, observing the 10 person limit for the room and 6 foot social distancing.

Since it is difficult to maintain a safe separation for large groups, out of concern for all our members we plan to continue these Facebook Live worship events and not gather for public worship until further notice.

Stay safe, and please join us on Facebook Live for Palm Sunday worship. Our office remains open so please call if you should have any questions or concerns.

In Christ,