Newsletter April 2022 - First Presbyterian Ridgewood, NJ
Dear Friends, During the early days of the pandemic, when it was not safe to gather, our worship services were pre-recorded and made available online. Our building, which had always been filled with people and lots of activity on Sunday mornings, was now closed. Realizing that our members were missing the fellowship component of congregational life, we began the virtual coffee hour, which met a need for many of us.
At the same time, a number of our Deacons and Elders, as well as other church members, began to reach out intentionally to other First Pres members and friends through porch visits, phone calls, emails, text messages, FaceTime calls, and handwritten cards and notes – ensuring that no one became too isolated or felt completely alone. Members began contributing to the Deacons’ Emergency Fund so that any member who needed financial assistance could receive it. And of course, the Caring Cooks continued their good work providing meals for any member who was going through a health crisis or loss of a loved one.
As I witnessed and experienced this amazing congregational care, it occurred to me that we were living out what Jesus meant when he told his followers to “love one another.” And as a pastor, I could not have been more pleased. A few days ago, I received a hand-written card from a member, who reminded me just how important our fellowship and congregational care is. Needless to say, I was touched. As you read the message from the card (below), I believe you will be touched as well.
To Pastor Bruce and All at First Pres:
I am glad that First Pres hung in there during the pandemic. If people ever wonder what there is in going to church almost every week, well it is a place to be loved and cared for. It may be a bit of a ride but worth every minute and a gallon of gas. I could go to the nearby Presbyterian Church, but as my mother said, this is your spiritual home and home away from home. To all who question going to church, it is time well-spent. It is a place to recharge. But most of all, it is a place to keep in touch with God. You can keep in touch with God outside of church, of course. However, it is easy to go astray. Church is always a place to find peace and a friend. So as they say on the “Golden Girls,” thank you for being a friend.
Yours in Christ,
Thank you for your wise and heart-felt words, Peter! Grace and peace, Bruce