COVID-19 AND FEDERATED: UPDATES

May 27, 2020


Church leadership has extended the closure period for all in-person activity at Bell Street facility through September 6.  This, of course, brings with it a continued sense of loss for all of us: how we would love to gather again to worship, to connect, to learn, to serve.


There is, however, nothing more important than the health of the congregation. It is vital we take no chances with the health and welfare of the people of the church. This decision is made with caritas—the old Latin word for love—at the center.  Our commitment to the membership of the congregation is paramount. Gathering in person still poses too great a risk of passing the virus.


Knowing this, church leadership is working on numerous levels to connect the congregation virtually and through phone outreach. We continue to do vital, life-giving ministry and enhance this marvelous community. Please join us as you see new opportunities to form community, to grow in faith, and to care for the larger world. Leadership is also grateful for the ongoing financial commitments made by church members and friends. As we were reminded in worship on May 24, faith, hope, and love have not been canceled. We are blessed to be a blessing!


May 12, 2020


Federated will be extending the building closure through June 28. All in-person worship services, events, meetings, and gatherings are canceled until then.  In-person worship services have been cancelled through Sunday, June 28.  Worship services will be available via online streaming at our YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/TheFederatedChurch. Tune in Sundays at 10 am, or watch the playback at anytime later in the week. 


Dates are tentative and subject to change, as we continue to follow the national and state guidelines.  Watch your emails for updates every Thursday. If you do not get our weekly eblast, contact Melinda Smith at smithm@fedchurch.org. Staff members are continuing to work remotely.


April 21, 2020

 

Federated will be extending the building closure through May 31. All in-person worship services, events, meetings, and gatherings are canceled until then.  In-person worship services have been cancelled through Sunday, May 31.  Worship services will be available via online streaming at our YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/TheFederatedChurch. Tune in Sundays at 10 am, or watch the playback at anytime later in the week. 

 

Dates are tentative and subject to change, as we continue to follow the national and state guidelines.  Watch your emails for updates every Thursday. If you do not get our weekly eblast, contact Melinda Smith at smithm@fedchurch.org. Staff members are continuing to work remotely.

 

March 31, 2020


Federated will be extending the building closure through May 1 following the recommendation put in place by the President, which states to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. All in-person worship services, events, meetings, and gatherings are canceled until then. We plan to re-open the building on Monday, May 4. 


In-person worship services have been cancelled through Sunday, May 3.  Worship services will be available via online streaming at our YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/TheFederatedChurch. Tune in Sundays at 10 am. We will plan to resume worship on Sunday, May 10.


This is subject to change, as we continue to follow the national and state guidelines.  Watch your emails for updates every Thursday. If you do not get our weekly eblast, contact Melinda Smith at smithm@fedchurch.org. Staff members are continuing to work remotely and will get all emails and voicemails from home.


Hamilton will be postponing his sabbatical indefinitely, to be with the church during this time.


Please forward prayer requests to Kiersti Critchfield kcritchfield@fedchurch.org or 440.247.6490 x103. Our Pastoral Care Team and our Prayer and Praise Team will pray for your requests.


March 19, 2020


Federated will be closing buildings to the public from Wednesday, March 19 until Tuesday, April 14. All in-person worship services, events, meetings, and gatherings are canceled until then.   


In-person worship services have been cancelled through Easter Sunday, April 12.  Worship services will be available via online streaming at our YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/TheFederatedChurch. Tune in Sundays at 10 am. 


Staff members are working remotely and will get all emails and voicemails from home. 



March 13, 2020


Dear beloved Federated family,

I write to let you know that, after much consultation, deliberation, and discernment, church leadership has decided to cancel both of our planned worship services for this Sunday, March 15, and for the remaining Sundays in March.  As time goes on, we will evaluate how to proceed beyond March. For the time being, we still welcome commissions, committees, and groups to meet in the building, knowing that many groups may decide to suspend their meetings temporarily, and urging those who do continue to meet in person to maintain appropriate social distancing.

It is with a heavy heart that we suspend worship, but also with the deep conviction that it is right and necessary. These last few days have seen an enormous change in the way we view COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has now been declared by the World Health Organization to be a global pandemic. As I write, cancellations from nearly every walk of life are pouring in. The Cleveland Orchestra cancelled its weekend concerts as well as its upcoming tour; the NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball have all called a halt to their games; the NCAA has cancelled all college sports for the rest of this winter and the coming spring; the Cleveland International Film Festival has called off its program; many colleges have sent students home and shifted to online classes; and Ohio schools, public and private, have been shuttered for the next three weeks.

On Thursday, I watched the press conference of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. He carefully acknowledged that the First Amendment grants religious institutions the freedom to make their own decisions. At the same time, though, he eloquently reminded us that our first responsibility is to honor each other and to keep each other safe. Many of our fellow citizens are undoubtedly carriers for the virus. Larger-scale gatherings are potential breeding grounds for COVID-19. In an attempt not to overwhelm our health-care facilities, authorities are urging us to do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. One of the great keys to limiting the spread of the virus is “social distancing”—providing physical space for people and minimizing the contact we have with each other. As a church that takes its responsibility to the common good enormously seriously, we feel it is incumbent on us to stem the possibilities for sharing the virus and inadvertently contributing to the worsening of the pandemic.

Even without being able to worship in person, it is vital that we continue to give ourselves into the hands of God and to look for God’s direction and sustenance during this crisis. In that vein, I will be recording a meditation to be uploaded to Federated’s website for this weekend. We will hear scripture and be directed to keep our eyes and hearts on God. That meditation will be made available by Saturday afternoon on the sermon blog of the church’s website (https://fedchurch.org/blog/). In addition, for those who would like to keep up with their financial pledges, remember that online giving is available on the website (https://fedchurch.org/giving/). You may contact Janis Stefanchik at business@fedchurch.org for help.

Even with these cancellations, it’s crucial to remember that we are still and always a rich and caring community of Christ’s people. God is holding us close even, and we would say especially, when contagion and fear and panic strike. We are people who are bathed in grace.

Not only that, but, as servants of God, we might always be asking ourselves: Where are there needs in the church family that we might meet? How can we connect with and support each other during this period when we won’t be gathering as a congregation?

In all this, let me remind you that I hold you in my heart. And God holds you in the divine heart. And finally, we live with the unshakable conviction that, as Julian of Norwich so simply and eloquently put it, “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

May God’s blessings abound and give you a deep sense of peace.

Yours in grace and peace,
Hamilton Throckmorton