Message from Pastor Devon – March 26, 2020

Today, March 26, the leadership met to discuss the next few weeks around Wintergarden. There are a few more changes and updates as we move forward and continue to do our best to “flatten the curve.”

Here are our following updates and cancellations:

Sacred Space Service: Our meditation service at 8:30am will continue. But we will continue ONLY ONLINE, not in the garden. Pastor Devon will set up a worship space in Lemon Bay Preserve by her house and we will livestream the service through Facebook Live. This 30 minute meditation service is a time of listening, reflection, silence, and prayer. We will make our mediation service available on Facebook Live. Please visit Wintergarden Facebook page by clicking HERE.

Traditional 9:30 Service: We will cancel our time to worship together at 9:30 through April 12th. When we are able to come back together for worship, we will gather to celebrate Easter on that day. I pray you will look forward to Resurrection Sunday with me and with our community! Please know we are doing this to care for our community at large. Here are a few places where folks can “watch” worship services:

First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota: HERE at 11:00am Eastern

Church of the Palms in Sarasota: HERE at 9:00am Eastern

Village Chapel in Kansas City: HERE 9:30 CENTRAL TIME

Woods Memorial Presbyterian in Severna Park: HERE 9:30am Eastern

The building will be closed for all groups through April 15th. That really means that events and meetings scheduled for inside the building will NOT happen through April 15.  If groups would like to meet, groups are welcome to meet outside on the property or in the garden area. We are asking for each group/individual to bring their own chairs and coffee. Groups are welcome to grab their groups coffee pots and those items from inside the church. We ask that if you are gathering, please practice the recommended 6 ft. social distancing and if you do not feel well, please do not attend. Please do not use the chairs from inside the building. 

The Food Pantry will remain open but with modifications. We will be open from 12-4pm every Thursday. Guests are to come directly to the garage and not gather inside the church. We will be pre-packing boxes and directly placing the boxes in peoples’ vehicles. If you want to help volunteer, please contact Patti directly by clicking HERE.  If you know of anyone who is fearful of leaving their homes, but is in need of food, please let Pastor Devon know and she will help make arrangements for people to get food. 

The Community Garden and Food Forest Dedication has been scheduled for March 28. The dedication will be postponed until April. Date to be determined in after April 15.

Family Fun Night Cedarkirk Fundraiser is being postponed until April. Hopefully April 24th! We will do dinner and a movie. Also, if once something is officially scheduled, you do not feel comfortable attending and you would like to help the youth go to camp, please send a check to the church 

Third Tuesday at the Homeless Coalition: We will continue to prepare food for the Homeless Coalition on Tuesday, April 21.

On-Line Giving: I know many of us our worried about our finances at this time. It is understandable. It is also important for us to all continue to give as God calls us to give. If you are able to, we would greatly appreciate you either mailing in a check to the church or using our platform for on-line giving. It is really safe and through the Presbyterian Foundation with the denomination. We made it as safe as possible! Click HERE to give to Wintergarden during this time (and moving foward!).

Please remember to take care of yourselves. Be smart. Be kind. Be the church when you do go out into the community. Spread the love of Jesus without sharing germs. And share the toilet paper if you have an abundance. You can do it!

As the status of COVID-19 changes, it is important to stay up to date on the latest information from the following organizations:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov

The World Health Organization: www.who.int

Florida Health Department: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov  

Last week, I learned that if you can breath in for 10 seconds, and then exhale, that is a great sign that you might not have COVID-19. I want to encourage everyone to be practicing self-care as mush as possible. Get out and walk, stretch, eat healthy, call friends and family, use Facetime and Skype to connect with people, and truly spend time in God’s word and devotions. 

Also, if you feel you are sick and you have the symptoms of COVID-19 (shortness of breathe, sore throat, cough, fever), please goes to the hospital! If you are just worried and concerned, please let Pastor Devon know by phone call, text, or email. 941-525-6671 or revdev08@gmail.com. Devon or a member of our care team will call you back and talk and pray with you. I will be as available as I can possibily be during this time. The care team will be checking in with folks as well. 

And finally, we will continue our journey through Lent in Plain Sight. The daily devotion typically happens around 9:30 every morning. Sometimes it is a pre-recorded video, others time it will be Facebook live. Please join us then. And every Wednesday night, we will have a prayer time through Zoom conference call. Just click on this link: https://zoom.us/j/824192898 and enter this Meeting ID: 824 192 898.

Church, you are loved. You are prayed for. We want you to be well. And you are a gift. Continue to be the people of God wherever you might go and do so in a way that respects the needs of others and their concerns. 

Love in Christ –

Pastor Devon
941-525-6671