Dear FPC Family,
Today, with new information, prayerful consideration, and more feedback among pastors and elders, FPC now changes the decision made yesterday to keep in-person worship services. We have now decided to cancel all in-person gatherings for tomorrow and have a live streamed service available at 10:30 am.
Yesterday, the pastors responded to the situation concerning the COVID-19 virus by concluding that while we would modify our procedures, we would continue to meet in-person for Sunday worship services tomorrow morning. At that time we also committed to continually monitor develops related to the virus. This will be an ongoing commitment of ours as we think about what it means to be the Church of Jesus Christ in the middle of a pandemic. As a result of that monitoring, in this fast-moving, ever-evolving situation a few things have changed since we made our initial decision: First, the President of the United States declared a national emergency, an action that frees up federal funds and lowers legal barriers for responding to the virus, but also signifies the seriousness and progression of the virus. Second, by order of the state government, all schools are cancelled for the next two weeks. Third, even though there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Polk County, more than 20 new cases have been discovered across the state of Florida. Finally, earlier this afternoon a recommendation from the Coach/Coordinator of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay was sent to all the churches asking that congregations cancel in-person services. (You can read that letter here) Churches in our presbytery have followed that advice.
So, with all of that, and after consultation among the pastors and with the Session, FPC Lakeland has decided to CANCEL all in-person gatherings for Sunday, March 15th. This is not a decision based on fear but based on our common love for one another and desire to witness to that concern to our community.
That said, we will have a live streamed service from Loudon Hall at 10:30am tomorrow. If you are able please tune in to our Facebook page or YouTube channel to join us in prayer, song, and study of God’s Word. While it is much better when we can meet together, we are incredibly blessed to be able to offer this alternative and do our part to keep the spread of this virus at bay.
God bless you all,
The Pastors of FPC Lakeland