– ha

Pastor’s Update:

FPC Responds to COVID-19 

 
Be not afraid, my sisters and brothers. Fear, not the coronavirus, is our enemy. The Lord reigns! Let us rejoice, give thanks and live for him.  – Pastor Stuart Spencer
 
 
 
 
 

Guidelines for visiting our Campus

 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Session has approved the following COVID-19 guidelines:

  1. Mask optional for worship. Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask are welcomed/encouraged to do so.
  2. Congregational singing to be resumed.
  3. Food can be served indoors with appropriate precautions to reduce increased contact.
 

We have a general rule at FPC Moorestown

to share with you to guide our actions as we interact with each other during worship service, Sunday School or on campus meetings — any symptom that is part of the litany of symptoms is COVID-19 until proven otherwise. What this means is that we have to be responsible for ourselves. If you aren’t feeling well, feel out of it, have the sniffles; be cautious. What used to be just a common “deal with it” situation is now required to be taken seriously as it could literally mean life or death for us, our family or friends. If you have any doubt, STAY HOME. 
 
Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.   -1 Corinthians 10:24
 
 

An Update Message from Pastor Spencer

 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 36

YEAR END FINANCIAL UPDATE

December 9, 2022
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
 
One of my Advent traditions is to take a small book from a shelf in my study called, The Mystery of the Holy Night. The book features classic paintings depicting the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, with excerpts from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor and theologian who was imprisoned for his resistance to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer was executed just days before the end of the war.
 
From his prison cell, he wrote often to his family and friends. He wrote with strong faith and deep hope about the joy of Christmas even while being apart from those he loved. I like to read from this little volume in December because it seems that with every Advent there’s a burden to carry and trouble that can weigh us down. Bonhoeffer never lost his confidence that God’s steadfast love was his to receive, even on death row. Bonhoeffer wrote a lovely poem that captured his deep trust in the “benevolent powers” that surrounded him until the day he died. It reads:
 
Faithfully and quietly surrounded by benevolent powers, wonderfully guarded and consoled,
–thus will I live this day with you and go forth another year.
 
Still will the past torment our hearts. Still, heavy burdens of bad times depress us,
Ah Lord, give our startled souls the grace for which we were created.
 
Warmly protected by benevolent powers, with confidence we wait for what may come.
God is with us at evening and at morning and most certainly at each new day.
 
I write to you with a sense that FPC Moorestown is “warmly protected.” God is with us and will give us the strength and guidance we need. However, we are not insulated from challenging times and heavy burdens, as Bonhoeffer knew and testified. We’re facing both at the end of 2022.
 
It’s likely that you’ve heard news of the financial challenges that we now face as a congregation. Due to a number of reasons and factors, we’re looking at a potential budget shortfall for this year and a significant anticipated financial gap in the coming year. For a clear and helpful explanation, I direct you to a written statement made by our president of the Board of Trustees Jeff Legath that’s on our Year-End Giving Opportunities page: https://fpcmoorestown.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1509559.
 
Since Jeff spoke to the congregation in November, many of you have increased or newly submitted your estimate of giving to FPC Moorestown for 2023, for which we are very grateful. Leslie and I likewise decided that we wanted to increase our financial pledge for next year. Others are making special gifts to help us now. I’m both grateful for and heartened by the quick, generous response of this congregation.
 
I ask for the open-handed resolve of your giving to continue, as God enables you to help. Here are my requests:
  • First, join me in praying daily for God’s provision for us. I’m asking the Lord to provide us with everything we need to fulfill his plans for us now. I’ve set aside Thursdays as a day for fasting and prayer. If your health permits you to give up breakfast and lunch that day, consider joining me in seeking the Lord’s help now. God’s people have regularly sought his assistance in times of great need by these two ancient spiritual practices.
  • Second, be sure you are current with, and (as you remain able) meet your estimated giving intentions for giving this year (2022).
  • Third, if you’re in a position to do so, pray on and strive to make a supplemental year-end gift to help us meet our budget, whether to our Christmas Green offering or as supplemental unpledged budget support. A special envelope has been included for you and can also be found in boxed offering sets.
  • Finally, but significantly, if you haven’t yet completed an estimate of giving pledge for 2023, please do so. No amount is too small, and if you have not pledged previously, I encourage you to do so and draw strength from the sense of belonging and ownership of our Church that comes with that commitment. If you have already submitted an estimate of giving for 2023 but you are praying on whether to increase your commitment, you can revise your estimate of giving for 2023 as well.
 
Please remember that you can give offerings electronically by going to our church website www.fpcmoorestown.org and clicking on the “Give” link, or within the Church Center app if you use that. If you need help, please contact the church office at (856) 235-1688.
 
I want to acknowledge the incredible leadership of our Budget Committee, Trustees and Session, and encourage all of you to help give our leaders the optimal resources we can provide them to plan our church’s work. I’m trusting our God to do great things for us and grant us the confidence we need to give our very best. I know that God is with us and will not forsake us with each new day.
 
Affectionately yours in Christ,
Stuart Spencer, Pastor
 
 

Pastor Spencer has shared uplifting and heartfelt messages with us over the term of this pandemic.

 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 35

LEARNING SOMETHING I COULDN’T DO

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
 
LEARNING SOMETHING I COULDN’T DO
I have a slackline set up in our back yard (see photo right). Slacklining is a sport and an art that can be used for balance training, recreation, or even a moving meditation. It’s similar to tightrope walking, and is accomplished by stretching a 1 to 2-inch wide length of nylon/polyester webbing between two anchor points, most often trees. The second picture features a handsome young man named Izzy. He’s my niece Katie’s boyfriend and a slackline pro.   DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 34

CONSECRATION SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown,
 
There’s been a lot of talk about giving around here since Labor Day. Rev. Allen and I have preached on the biblical basis for building a giving life. We’ve learned that God made us to give. We’ll be at our strongest and healthiest—spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, when we live to give. Our preaching, our study and our prayer are all leading us to two significant Sundays in October. The first is Consecration Sunday on October 16. The second is The Church Has Left the Building on Sunday, October 30.  DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 33

LIVE TO GIVE – FPC MOORESTOWN 134th BIRTHDAY

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church:
 
Way #16 of our 25 Ways offers a beautiful invitation to us: GIVE CHEERFULLY. Rejoice, you get to give! Think of giving as a privilege rather than an obligation, a joy instead of a burden. As you consider all that’s been entrusted to you—time, abilities and money – ask, “How is God calling me to share what I’ve been given?”      DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER… 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 32

COVID UPDATE, YOUTH DIRECTOR, 5th SUNDAY AND A CODA 

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
 
This verse leapt from the pages of Deuteronomy the way passages sometimes do. I attribute such impactful moments to the Holy Spirit giving me what I need to hear, precisely when I need to hear it. This was what I read one morning during my devotionals a few weeks ago. Moses was the speaker of these words. He directed them to Joshua, his younger assistant and the next leader of the God’s people. The two men stood looking into a land promised by God. It was a beautiful place to live but many challenges awaited Joshua. 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 31

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL, NEW WAYS VIDEOS & MORE 

A member of Session asked me, “Can I tell the Pastor that I’m sick of COVID?” Yes, I answered, you sure can, because I am too. I’m done with it, as I’m sure most of us are. However, COVID isn’t done with us yet.
Current COVID Protocols,     DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER… 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 30

CONGREGATIONAL SINGING RETURNS! 

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  – Psalm 100:1-2 (NRSV)
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Each week we gather as Presbyterians in the Sanctuary, Miller Commons and via live stream to give “all glory and honor, praise and thanksgiving to the holy triune God” (W-1.0101).    DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER… 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 29

WE PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE

PROTOCOLS RETURN TO THE MODERATE LEVEL 

Today, we watch with the world the unsettling events taking place in Ukraine. The world is right to be shocked and concerned with what appears to be the opening of a ground war, launched by Russia.
COVID Letter 2-25-22Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 28

SESSION RESPONDS TO COVID-19 UPSURGE 

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
COVID has come home for many in our community and our congregation. The virus visited me on New Year’s Day. That morning I first thought I was getting a cold—my first since the start of the pandemic. I googled my symptoms and then took a home test that revealed a positive score. I got it. I’m grateful that I never felt awful other than a mildly painful sore throat. I probably infected our youngest son, Miles. Thankfully, Leslie and Sam have so far escaped. I know that many of you have your own stories.   DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 27

UPDATE TO OUR COVID-19 PROTOCOL 

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
In the Sundays of this Advent season, we’re reflecting on the spiritual practice of waiting. We each have our own waiting stories — often such stories are personal and painful. We’re waiting together for this pandemic to end. We’re waiting for a day when we won’t have to think about masking and distancing. We long for a time when life doesn’t feel so weighted with worries.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 26

YEAR END MESSAGE 

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Glory belongs to him both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3: 18, NIVR)
These are the last words of the book of 2 Peter, and the final recorded words of the great Apostle. As we near the end of 2021, I look back over a wonderful but at times a challenging twelve months with deep gratitude for the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peter’s benediction is both a call to continue to nurture our understanding and experience of these gifts while also recounting how both have held and guided us through life and this year.  DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 25

NEW PROTOCOLS ADOPTED BY SESSION 

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown:
N.T. Wright, the gifted Bible scholar and author once wrote of the Lord’s Prayer, “Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.” His insightful words give me a new way to think and pray about the priorities of God contained in the short lines of the Lord’s Prayer.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 24

OCTOBER SPECIAL EVENTS 

9:30 am Blended Worship for three special Sundays

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,The word “church” in the Greek of the New Testament means a gathering of God’s people in a specific space, like Rome, Corinth or Philippi. John Leeman is a writer who recently wrote about the significance of this simple act we do on Sunday mornings.

Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 23

COVID GUIDELINES UPDATED

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
On this gorgeous morning, two days after heavy storms battered our region, I bring you an update. I’m always amazed how a fierce downpour often clears the air and results in a string of lovely weather. I pray that the storms we’re facing together may soon bring the beauty of God’s purposes.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 22

FPC MOORESTOWN CELEBRATES 133 YEARS

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church:
Let’s go back twenty years to three days in September 2001 that changed everything. I refer to September 10, September 11, and September 12, 2001.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 21

ANNOUNCING CALL OF ASSOCIATE PASTOR

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown,
After nearly 30 months of a nationwide search, our Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) gratefully presents a candidate who lives exactly one mile from the front doors of our sanctuary. A brief glance at the enclosed brochure tells you that the Spirit of God faithfully and wonderfully answered our prayers
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 20
 
OLLIE, OLLIE IN COME FREE!
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Right at this point in June, in the longest days of the year and summer nearly arrived; I fondly remember playing outside as a child with the kids of my neighborhood. My favorite game was Kick the Can, the reverse of Hide and Go Seek. One kid guarded an old tin coffee can while the rest of us hid by the houses, trees and shrubs of our neighborhood.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 19

REALISTIC HOPE!

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
There’s reason for realistic hope that our nation is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC and the State of New Jersey are loosening requirements for public gatherings. The rate of those who have received a vaccine is increasing while the rate of infection is declining. Signs requiring masks in stores are quickly vanishing. Families and friends gather now more easily and with less worry.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 18

PENTECOST SUNDAY

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. For close to 2,000 years, the day of Pentecost stands as one of the most significant days of the year. It marks the historic outpouring of the promised Spirit of God upon God’s people. That miracle still happens today. I hope you’ll worship with us on Sunday, either in person or via live stream.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 17

WE HAVE EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
I borrow and paraphrase a line from A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have [someone] that makes saying goodbye so hard.” How lucky, how fortunate, how blessed I am and we are to have someone like Kelly LePenske. She makes saying goodbye so hard. Stuart Spencer, Pastor  
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 16

One Year Later – We’ve Come a Long Way

March 12, 2021
Dear Member and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
The world changed almost a year ago exactly. Do you remember where you were? I recall how quickly everything shut down in the middle of March of 2020. Since then, we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of working, going to school, shopping, and attending worship.   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 14
Christmas Eve schedule offers meaningful, safe worship opportunities
December 18, 2020
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Planning for Christmas Eve in the middle of a pandemic, like nearly everything else we’ve faced this year, isn’t easy. Consider that Christmas Eve is the night when everyone goes to church. Not this year. Most churches are planning for pre-recorded or live stream services with no in-person participants.
 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 12
It will be a wonderfully powerful moment when we’re gathered together. Safely.
October 30, 2020
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Someone at some time taught you how to go to church. Most likely, your parents were the ones who showed you the ropes READ MORE…
 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 11
Session Approves Indoor Worship to Begin November 1; Limited Indoor Gatherings
October 16, 2020  
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,

“When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy. And now we’re here …” (Psalm 122: 1)

As of last Sunday, it’s been 34 weeks since we’ve gathered indoors for worship. That’s well over a half a year. For some of us, it’s felt like forever.   READ MORE…

 

Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 10
Joan Van Camp Porch
October 4, 2020
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
I’m delighted to share with you the opening of the Joan Van Camp Porch. Joan, a long time faithful member of our church, left a generous gift to the church last year.
Pastor Update
Fall Kickoff and Ministry Fair
September 11, 2020
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Once a group of maintenance workers at a state park had grown upset with the park management. Management was dissatisfied with how the workers were cleaning the camp sites after campers left for home.
Pastor Update
Session Approves Recommendation for Outdoor Worship Gathering
July 31, 2020

 

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,

For months, I’ve carried a vision in my mind of a time when we can return to our sanctuary and Miller Commons to worship God together.  READ MORE…

Pastor Update

“We’ll leave the light on for you … “
July 3, 2020

Dear Members or Friends of FPC Moorestown,
You may remember the old ad from Motel 6: We’ll leave the light on for you. A light left on is a silent sign of welcome and care — at a hotel, home, or a church. A light on means that you’re in someone’s mind and heart. READ MORE…
Pastor Update
May 29, 2020
 
Dear Beloved Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
It feels like forever since I last saw you in person. I carry you in my heart and I lift you before the Lord in prayer.   READ MORE…
Pastor Update
May 8, 2020
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
“Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8: 7)   READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Friday, April 24, 2020
“And now the word of the Lord is ringing out …”
 
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
A blessed and joyous Easter to you! If you’ve forgotten that we’re still in the season of Easter, then allow me to remind you. In reflecting on this season, author Joan Chittister writes,
Pastor Update
Thursday, April 2, 2020
 
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,  As we prepare for a Holy Week unlike any other we’ve experienced, I want to share a wonderful observation from The Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath. She noted, “The first Easter didn’t happen at a church. It happened outside an empty tomb, while all the disciples were sequestered at home, grief-stricken and wondering what was going on. So, we’re going to be keeping things pretty Biblical this Easter.”  READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
91 x 91: Praying Psalm 91 for 91 days
 
As one of our partners, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is hitting all of us, and may wreak havoc in the urban poor communities where we serve[1], we would love to invite you and those in the Moorestown Presbyterian Church Community that you think would be interested, to join us in a prayer campaign that we´ve named “91×91”.  READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
 
Friends,
As so many of the letters written to the early church begin, “Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ!” Now that life has shifted so suddenly and with such uncertainty, we’re seeking the Lord as we haven’t sought him before. I’m grateful for the opportunity to trust God more deeply, serve God more energetically and live for God with greater love and joy.  READ MORE..
Pastor Update
Friday, March 13, 2020
 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious flu-like virus that is spreading rapidly throughout the world and the United States. While the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus is very low, for some people — especially the elderly and those who are already fragile — it is potentially deadly. READ MORE…

Messages from members of the FPC Moorestown Staff.

 

Resources

 

Session Approved Guidelines PRIOR to July 17, 2022

 

LOW

Established LOW protocols. When the South West NJ region is LOW for two consecutive weeks there will be no restrictions — we are, in effect, back to normal. This includes unmasked congregational and choral singing in worship, serving food and refreshments, signing Letters of Well Wishing, and how we celebrate and administer the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

MODERATE

For INDOOR SUNDAY WORSHIP – Sanctuary and Miller Commons
1. Masks are optional for vaccinated persons – recommended for unvaccinated individuals.
2. Sanctuary will be open seating – social distancing when possible. People will be free to sit where they are comfortable.
3. Check-in, communion, offering – staff discretion
4. Choirs to be masked for singing
5. No congregational singing
 
For other INDOOR MEETINGS:
1. Masks optional for vaccinated adults – recommended for unvaccinated adults
2. No food will be served indoors
3. Choirs to be masked for rehearsals

HIGH

For INDOOR SUNDAY WORSHIP – Sanctuary and Miller Commons
  1. Masks required for all individuals
    2. No congregational singing
    3. All choir singers masked
 
For INDOOR MEETINGS:
  1.  Meetings are mask optional for vaccinated individuals, recommended for unvaccinated.
    2. No food service indoors.
Giving in this Era of COVID-19
Although we won’t be together for a time due to the highly contagious COVID-19, please continue to support FPC Moorestown financially. Like many others, we still have ongoing expenses and mission commitments, and deeply desire to support families who are stretched especially thin right now.