Blood Drives – help if you are well

The American Red Cross is hosting blood drives at our church on the following dates:

Friday, March 27th 10-3pm

Tuesday, April 14th 2-7pm

Friday, April 24th 10-3pm

If you are healthy and able to donate blood, this is a wonderful opportunity to support the community. There is an urgent need for blood donors, and all safety precautions are being taken by the Red Cross to ensure everyone’s health is protected. For an appointment, please visit redcrossblood.org enter sponsor code Burlington or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The church address is: 355 Cambridge Street, Burlington MA. There is plenty of parking.

Please note that blood donation is considered an essential service and is still allowed during the current shutdown.

All invited to worship with us Sunday! (Digitally!)

As we learn new ways of being community during this temporary time of social distancing, we invite you to join us virtually for a time of worship and prayer tomorrow morning at 10:30. You can join us live using Google Meet by watching the live stream https://stream.meet.google.com/stream/457e8737-2b9b-483e-9346-fb0efa80ec8a. You can also listen to the audio only by dialing in on your phone (landline or cellular) ‪+1 405-498-2734 and entering the PIN 635 541 392# to join the meeting. We will also record and upload the service to our YouTube channel later on Sunday afternoon if you’d like to watch it later. You can subscribe to the channel by going to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8JK1pFFIlO1dqadVfM2eqA/featured and click on the Subscribe button. You will receive notifications when new videos are posted.

I will lead a service of morning prayer, including scripture readings, prayers, and a brief reflection. You may want to have a Bible nearby to read along with us. I encourage you to gather with your household, bring a cup of coffee, and sit in a comfortable chair as we make space for God and hold a time of worship. If you have specific prayer requests you would like me to lift during prayers of the people, please email me before 10:00 am on Sunday at pastor@burlingtonpres.org as there will not be a way to share prayer concerns live during the broadcast.

This is new for many of us, including myself, so let’s be gracious with ourselves as we live into how this all works. If you have questions about logging on, I will open the Meeting room at 10:15 so you can log on early and let me know if you have any issues with the link. I’ll do my best to help you connect! I will be exploring more ways of sharing information and keeping you updated on any changes to our schedule over these next few weeks. Above all, keep in mind that while we are keeping physical distance from one another, we do not need to be isolated. I will be reaching out to all our members and friends in the days ahead, and if you have any needs – physical, social, or emotional – please know that I am available by phone, email, Facebook messenger, and am always ready to talk with you.

Christian Education teachers and students

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Trina

Worship moving to not-in-person through the end of March

Summary: We will not be worshiping together in person for March 15, 22 & 29th. We will be pursuing other ways to worship, fellowship and support each other as a church family – stay tuned to this site!

Dear Church Family,

News about the declared pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. The discussions we were having last week about social distancing and limiting contact during worship now seem woefully out of date based on how other communities are responding. Many of us are dealing with shifts in our daily routine, as schools are closing for two or more weeks; people are being advised to work from home as much as possible; public institutions, sports organizations, and other places are also shutting down. Grocery stores are dealing with shortages on the shelves as people gather supplies they will need in order to stay at home for much of the next few weeks, all in an effort to limit the spread of the virus and lessen the demand on our hospitals and health care system.

These are unusual circumstances in which we are living, and we are all learning as we go. Last night, the Emergency Response team met virtually and decided that in the best interests of the community, we are suspending in-person gatherings at the church through the end of March. This date will be re-evaluated as we continue to get new information and updates from local, state, and federal officials. The Emergency Response Team consists of Pastor Trina, Brenda Flynn, Caitlin Rivet, Brad Morrison, and Sue McGilvray-Rivet. Several other churches in Massachusetts and other parts of the country are making similar decisions at this time.

The central activity that we participate in together is the act of worship on Sunday morning. Beginning this Sunday, March 15th, we will offer a time of worship online at 10:30 am. We are working on ways to bring the worship service to you, and invite your participation from the comfort of your own home. Instructions about how to join this virtual gathering will be forthcoming. There will also be an option to dial in and listen over the phone. We look forward to experimenting with different ways of sharing in worship over the next three Sundays. This may also impact our plans for Holy Week and Easter, but at this time we are unsure how long the suspension of in-person meetings needs to be in place. I will also share a weekly email with updates and different spiritual disciplines that you might want to try. We will also hold virtual meetings for Bible study, book group, and meetings of church boards. This is a new way of doing things, so let us be patient with ourselves and one another as we learn and experiment with new tools.

We are contacting all outside groups who meet at our building to inform them of this decision as well. It is important to remember that we are taking this step out of an abundance of caution and to protect the needs of the most vulnerable – not only in our church, but in the wider community. And there are ways we can still care for each other even if we are not able to see one another in person. Make that phone call you’ve been meaning to make, send a card, check in on your neighbors. We are compiling a list of church members, organized by town/region, so that we can have a network available to people who may need help getting groceries, picking up a prescription, going to a doctor appointment, and so forth. If you have needs in this area, please call or email the church office or Pastor Trina and we will coordinate with you on meeting those needs. The best ways to reach me are on my cell phone: (773) 951-7820 and pastor@burlingtonpres.org.

Above all else, let us remember that God is with us, during what feels like a wilderness time in our lives. God is with us in the midst of it all and we will come through this time into a new day. In this Lenten season, it is a reminder to us to step back from the normal routines and listen for God’s still, small voice. Let us take good care of ourselves, and of one another.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Trina

COVID-19 Planning

Dear Church Family,

We are all aware of the news reports of the growing global spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. While there is a lot that we still don’t know, we do know that this virus seems to have originated in Eastern Asia and has been circulating within the continental United States for, at minimum, 6 to 8 weeks. Until recently, reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States have been rare, as testing was restricted to those who had either been in Eastern Asia, specifically China, or in direct contact with someone who had been. However, as testing becomes more widespread, we are beginning to see an increased number of patients diagnosed with the virus across the United States.

At the time of writing this letter, there are a total of 41 presumptive positive cases of the virus in Massachusetts, and that number is likely to rise as testing becomes more widely available and more people report symptoms to their physicians.
We are aware that we are living in the midst of a great deal of uncertainty. We do not yet fully know what this virus is doing, how far spread it already is, or even how fatal it truly is (early data from China showed an alarming 3% mortality rate, but recent global numbers show that trending sharply downwards to <1%). Complicating all of this is the fact that we are currently facing a higher than normal activity influenza season with both Influenza A and B hitting our community.

What does this mean for us as a church community?

At this time, worship and programming will continue as normal at Burlington Presbyterian Church. An emergency response team is preparing a plan for how we will care for our members, stay in communication, and respond to needs in the surrounding community should a wider outbreak be declared in our area. We will pay close attention to the public health guidelines of the Town of Burlington, Middlesex County, and the Massachusetts Dept of Public Health (MDPH). The risk to the general public in Massachusetts at this time remains low, according to the MDPH website.

It is a good reminder to follow health and safety precautions, as we would during any cold and flu season. Should you be feeling unwell, especially with signs of a respiratory infection, we encourage you to stay home, and contact your doctor. If you have responsibilities at church that day, please contact Pastor Trina and leave a message on the church voice mail so that we can find a substitute for you. It is recommended that people in vulnerable populations, such as those over the age of 75 or who have other health conditions that may compromise your immune system, also remain home to protect
themselves. Please keep the church office informed, too, so that we can pray for and care for you. If you are feeling well, as you come to worship, you will find hand sanitizer in the narthex, and in the fellowship hall and classrooms. Best practice is to wash your hands, as hand sanitizer is not 100% effective against viruses, but sanitizing your hands can help reduce the risk of spreading germs to others.

We encourage alternative forms of greeting one another, in place of handshakes or hugs for the time being. Some of these ideas include a friendly wave, or “elbow bumps”, and using gestures such as peace signs, a bow or nod with hands over your heart.
As time goes on, we may introduce new practices for other elements of worship like communion and collection of the offering to reduce transmission risks. We will also begin to post sermons to our website starting with this Sunday’s sermon. If you have knowledge about livestreaming and podcasts, please contact the church and let us know! Should it become necessary to cancel services or programming based on the recommendation of our local health officials, we will notify you via email, on the church website, and by posting to our social media accounts.

In addition, we continue to encourage best flu-season practices to protect your health and that of others. Wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds with soap and water), cough and sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose, take your vitamins, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and if you have not yet gotten a flu shot, please do so at this time. Stay informed with accurate information about what is going on, such as from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019- covid-19 Updates are posted daily.

Above all else

Let us remember to approach this season with caution, but without fear. Let us remember to be gracious and loving, caring for our siblings and our neighbors. Let us remember to be gentle with ourselves and with each other. Let us not give in to terror or panic, but instead let us live, love, and serve as Christ has called us.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Trina

BPC Book Club!

We’re reading books together at Burlington Presbyterian Church this winter! If you’re interested in reading and discussing along with us, here’s the lineup!

February – Inspired by Rachel Held Evans
March – The Longest Road by Philip Caputo
April – Kindred by Octavia Butler
May – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevensen
June – tie between Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott and The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama

Find them in your local library or bookstore and read along with us!

October 2019 Crossroads

Stewardship Report

The church of every time and place wrestles with the distance between our timeframe and expectations and God’s. In God’s time, even the small seeds we plant can grow into sturdy trees. In God’s time, the fears we carry can be transformed into new partnership and hope. In God’s time, our expectations can be expanded and surpassed by God’s faithfulness. The 2019 Peace & Global Witness Offering encourages the church of our time to cast off anxiety and fear, discord and division, and embrace our reconciling God’s mission to those around the corner and around the world. It is boundless peace God offers. It bursts through the shackles of time and expectation. It quiets the anxiety of each believer by joining us together as we offer our prayer,
“Now, May the Lord grant us peace…in all times in all ways.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16
We will receive the offering on October 6. Please give generously.
Reprinted from Presbyterian Mission

Mission and Advocacy Prayer for October

Almighty God, it is difficult to see children suffer, especially from hunger. We ask You to give them daily bread today (Matthew 6:11) and end their persistent hunger. Provide the food they need to grow and thrive. Pour out Your grace on hungry families, especially parents straining to feed their children despite dwindling resources.

Source: World Vision web site

Christian Education

Sunday school for children and youth has started! This year we are trying to get to know each other better, as unique individuals and important members of our church family.

Adults, please take a look at the bulletin board outside the pre-school classroom – you can match names with faces of our children and youth and learn a little about what is important to them.

Safe Child Training
Safe Child Policy Training will take place on Oct. 27 right after the worship service. Lunch will be provided. All our volunteers who work with children or youth, Elders and Deacons must take this training every three years.
Anyone else interested in understanding what it means to be a “mandated reporter” of child abuse/neglect is welcome to come. Please RSVP to Ann McGrath.

Worship

At our meeting on August 29, the Worship Committee passed a motion to donate 25 of our old, blue Presbyterian hymnals to Elliot Brown for the Christian Fellowship Church of the Merrimack Valley where he is organist. Session approved the motion and the Christian Fellowship Church has gratefully received the hymnals. Elliot served BPC for many years as organist/choir director.

Sunday worship services for October begin with the celebration of World Communion on October 6. In recognition of the many cultures represented in our congregation we will have a variety of cloths on the communion table, several different breads, use several languages in the liturgy and sing hymns in different languages. Communion will be received by intinction.

October 13 is “Bread for the World” Sunday.

October 20 is designated “Children’s Sabbath” and working with the Christian Education Committee, we will invite young people to participate in different ways, such as greeters, worship assistants and ushers for that service.

On October 27 the church celebrates Reformation Sunday.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in worship services and please continue to volunteer as worship assistants and communion servers. Susan Larson would also welcome more voices to the chancel choir. Please speak with her about that opportunity.

Trustees Report

As fall and winter approaches, please be mindful of making sure that all windows and doors are locked and the heat turned down when you leave the church. On more than one occasion, the door to the play yard has not been locked after the children are out there. There is a new lock on the door and all parents whose children use the play yard should check to make sure the door is locked when they leave.

Thanks to those trustees who helped during the summer with lawn mowing and various chores around the church. The front railings and posts were recently painted, the carpets and floors were cleaned and the floors waxed and the inside wall to the front door will be soon be repaired.

Food Pantry Needs
We receive donations for the Food Pantry on the 1st Sunday of each month. The Food Pantry needs donations on a continuing basis. Please consider purchasing some 20 oz. dish detergent, individually wrapped bars of soap or bottles of shampoo. They also really need donations of coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Your help is appreciated. Thank you

Pumpkin Patch Volunteers Needed

St. Marks’s Episcopal Church, 10 Saint Marks Road, Burlington, will hold their seventh annual Pumpkin Patch event during the month of October. Our church, along with many other churches and civic organizations, has been asked to help with the selling of pumpkins during the month. Our staffing dates are Friday, October 4th and Friday, October 18th. The patch opens at 12 noon and closes at 6pm. We need volunteers to sign up for two hours or more on each day. The hours are 12-2, 2-4 and 4-6pm. Please refer to the sign-up sheet in Fellowship Hall if you can commit to helping out. A percentage of the sale proceeds go to support People Helping People. Please speak to our church coordinator, Ken Dewar, if you have any questions.

Bible Journaling

What is Bible journaling? Come and find out! It can be anything from writing a brief note to a full art piece, done in a Bible or in a notebook. We will be doing some basic techniques on paper – no artistic ability needed! Feel free to bring a journal if you would like to work in that.

Life Line Screening
Life Line Screening, a leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will offer their affordable, non-invasive and painless health screenings at The Presbyterian Church in Burlington on 10/15/2019. Five screenings will be offered that scan for potential health problems related to: blocked arteries which is a leading cause of stroke; abdominal aortic aneurysms which can lead to a ruptured aorta; hardening of the arteries in the legs which is a strong predictor of heart disease; atrial fibrillation or irregular heart beat which is closely tied to stroke risk; and a bone density screening, for men and women, used to assess the risk of osteoporosis. Register for a Wellness Package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screening from $149 ($139 with our member discount). All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. In order to register for this event and to please call 1-866-229-0469, visit http://www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979.