March 12, 2020
Dear Park Hill Presbyterian Church,
It is with concern and love that we announce that our church building is closing for all worship services, events and meetings from Friday, March 13th to Friday, March 27th.
It is our church policy to follow the North Little Rock School District practices for closures and cancellations in the event of emergencies, and earlier today Gov. Hutchinson requested all schools in four counties to close for two weeks, including North Little Rock School District. In addition, it was brought to my attention that church members have been exposed to the coronavirus, and their doctors had encouraged self-quarantine.
Out of an abundance of caution and love of our neighbors, this is the right, albeit difficult, decision at this time. As a community with many adults over the age of 60 and with pre-existing health conditions, I am willing to accept the responsibility and consequences of closing the church building for this time. However, this does not mean we are going on vacation.
This is an important time to stand as a witness to the love of Christ and expand our concern into our community. I would ask that as you determine your own level of safety, that you would continue to practice the Center for Disease Control guidelines on hand washing and self care as an act of compassion for others, especially those who are more at risk. I would also ask that you reach out in concern for friends and neighbors, particularly those who live alone or are already ill, and inquire as to their needs. Do they have supplies? Can your phone call relieve some boredom or loneliness? Do they need help? A serious concern related to the prudent call for “social distancing” is that many adults will be isolated from their communities and places of connection and recreation. Please consider seriously how you can help relieve burdens of isolation while protecting yourself and others.
Furthermore, Park Hill Presbyterian will offer alternative means of worship and gathering during this time. An emailed Order of Worship will be sent on Sunday morning with weblinks to music, readings, and reflections, and a version of the Sunday Bulletin and message will be mailed Friday to those who regularly take their newsletter via the U.S. Postal service. The sermon will be posted on our Facebook page on Sunday, and we can share conversation about the message and scripture there (please join if you aren't already a member).
It is our hope that we can resume our normal calendar of events starting on Sunday, March 27th, but that will be determined as events progress. Until that time, I urge everyone to continue to pray and act as though you bear the hands of Christ into the world for others—because you do.
Rev. Marie Mainard O’Connell
Park Hill Presbyterian Church