Welcome to the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

We are a loving collection of congregations committed to working together in unity and living out our calling as disciples of Christ.

 

November 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

It has been more than eight months since the first impacts of a pandemic turned church practices upside down. In those first few weeks, when so much felt unknown, the officers of the presbytery offered their guidance on science, safety, and practice; their prayers and spiritual support; and, in the ensuring months, COVID-related grants to the majority of our congregations. We settled into new routines.

Few of us ever imagined then that, come Advent, the challenge facing us would be greater than ever. But here we are, with the COVID-19 pandemic spiraling out of control. This week, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Health Departments, and our governors, have become increasingly insistent that the only way to slow the pandemic is to stop all but the very smallest gatherings. And while neither state has mandated the suspension of church activities, their urgency has compelled us to write you today: 

          • We strongly recommend that you continue—or consider anew—the suspension of in-person worship and all other activities in your church buildings at least through December 13, with the  likelihood that we will not gather together during Advent, Christmas, or well into the new year.

This is not where we hoped to be as we stand at the doorstep of Advent. We know you long to gather in-person, because that’s what the church is and does. We know some of you fear that if you continue to meet online or not at all, what we so value in the church will be lost. We know you’re getting pressure from all sides, and some are voting with their feet and with their funds. We also know that God is bigger than our sanctuaries, our fears, and our traditions. Presbytery cannot mandate that churches stop gathering in-person for worship. That authority is reserved exclusively for the session. We can simply be honest with you, support you in your decisions, and stand with you in finding ways to carry them out.

Being the church in this unprecedented time means continuing to do whatever we can to protect the least of these. Thus, we offer these additional observations:

          • Please do not force anyone to attend events in person, including your pastor.

          • If you choose to gather in person for any reason, you must have a written safety plan in placeWhether for in-person worship, or other events like a wedding or a funeral, you must have a written plan and follow that plan, and all state guidelines. (There are new Minnesota guidelines for faith communities as of this past Wednesday.)

         • Lean on your colleagues in ministry for creative ways to celebrate Advent and Christmas. Be the connectional church. If you don’t know who to call, then contact the Presbytery office. If you’re willing to assist another congregation, contact the Presbytery office. We will connect you.

We also speak, in one voice, our prayers of support for those on the front lines of the pandemic: those ill, and the ones who care for them; our front-line and essential workers; our decision-makers; and so many among us struggling with physical and emotional needs. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

This pandemic gives us an opportunity to be the church, in ways we would not have wished for, but that will have real impact on our communities. Let us encourage one another and find our encouragement in the One who strengthens us. We hold you in our prayers daily.

The officers of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and the executive presbyter

Jean Emmons, moderator

Greg Bolt, Diana Barber, Jamie Schultz, Barbara Lutter, Steve Robertson, Jeff Japinga

 


OCTOBER 2020 STATED MEETING FILE LINK: OMNIBUS MOTION/CONSENT AGENDA 

OCTOBER 2020 STATED MEETING FILE LINK: PRESBYTERY PACKET

AGENDA Q & A DOCUMENT

ROBERT'S RULES FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS

ZOOM TIPS AND LINKS  


 

START HEREat the PC(USA) COVID-19 RESOURCES PAGE

QUESTIONS/PRACTICES to CONSIDER BEFORE RESUMING IN-PERSON ACTIVITIES- LINKS

 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR CONGREGATIONS - LINKS

 

WORSHIP & CHURCH ACTIVITIES - LINKS

From the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 

PCUSA Office of Theology and Worship: celebrating the sacraments 

From the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship

> Regarding Ruling Elders: PC(USA) 

Video Recording and Editing Instruction Videos

> Video Making Basics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZnEMWX0lf4&t=13s

> Editing and Post-Production Basics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AebsqfsVXM4

 

Church Music & Covid-19 

 

Being a Vital Congregation during a Time of Pandemic

 

PASTORAL CARE & RESOURCES - LINKS

> The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) website has extensive resources for pastoral opportunities and ways to reach out into the communities.

> The Christian Century: 10 Guidelines for Pastoral Care During The Crisis

> Advice for funerals: From the National Funeral Directors Association; from the Massachusetts Council of Churches

> Pacing yourself as a spiritual leader in crisis: This Facebook post from Emily M. Scott about what she learned about being a pastor during Hurricane Sandy: https://www.facebook.com/emilym.d.scott/posts/10157419456533026

> Realistic Self-Care for experiencing anxiety or depression (pastors, parishioners, children, etc.): https://www.virusanxiety.com/ ; https://sojo.net/articles/using-love-commandment-talk-covid-19-kids ; https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/coronavirus-isolation-10-lessons-to-help-kids-cope ; https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide

> LeaderWise: Social Distancing Doesn’t Mean Social Isolation

What Hurricane Sandy Can Teach Us Today about Ourselves and the Care We Offer

  

WORSHIP & CHURCH ACTIVITIES

One Great Hour of Sharing

We stand today facing the most chaotic time in a generation or more: a isolating health crisis that is forcing us to disconnect with others; to not gather in our churches; to suspend most hands-on love and care. In short, to set aside, for the moment, those practices that make us most human.

Sunday worship is one of those times from which most of us, temporarily, will disconnect in person.  If you need a community with whom to worship online on Sunday, we invite you to join one of these (listed by city location):


 **PLEASE NOTE**  To contact committee chairs or submit documents for committees, please email office@ptcaweb.org or contact the chair directly. Thank you.