The Open Door
The First Presbyterian Church of the City of Cape May
The Visitors' Church for over a Century
Obedient in faith we intend to work together to touch the lives of others and be disciples of the Lord.
At this time we are not having any church gatherings, including worship services. The Twelve Steps Groups ARE continuing to meet in the building.
From the Pastor:
Holy Week in Challenging Circumstances
Greetings from my couch to yours! This Lent we have all given up quite a bit, and our sacrifices unfortunately will continue through Easter. The prayer is that by sacrificing togetherness (not to mention dinners out), we can preserve health and life, and effectively love the most vulnerable of our neighbors. I have to keep reminding myself of that; that there is a good reason for all of this and it is all very much worth it if it means fewer people suffer. Thank you for all the good work you are doing to take care of yourselves and one another!
Meanwhile, we are still the church and Easter is around the corner. The good news is that resurrection happens, even when we cannot be together to watch the sunrise at the Cove. The worship and music committee has been working with Pastor Nicole to develop creative ways we can celebrate Holy Week under the circumstances. There will be special services online, posted on the website, Youtube, and Facebook on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. The Cape May ministerium is currently working on doing an open Zoom service at 9:30 am on Good Friday, so watch Facebook and the website for more information on how to tune in to that.
In addition, on Palm Sunday, we will be handing out greetings, palms, and blessings in person from 9 to 11 am, and leaving the palms and blessings for passersby to take thereafter. During the week, look for our wood and chicken wire cross, draped in purple, on our front steps.
And on Easter Sunday, you can watch on Facebook Live at 9am, as Linda Kissling and I begin the flowering of the cross. We'll then leave the cross and lots of cut flowers so that passersby can add a flower if they choose.
Wishing you all the depth and blessings of this season, and that they may harmonize gloriously with the depth and blessings of Holy Week.
We are accepting donations and making distributions by appointment to reduce the number of people gathering together in one place. Anyone wishing to make a donation or who needs food, please call (609) 600-7715. While it's not "business as usual," we are there for anyone who needs us.
Hunting Easter Eggs from a distance
We'll be posting decorated Easter eggs (made of construction paper) around the church building, where they can be seen from outside, and encouraging local families to go on a "hunt" for them, taking and posting pictures of their favorite ones. Not as exciting for the average child as a basket of candy would be, but hopefully fun for all concerned! You can participate by decorating an egg on paper and leaving it in the church mailbox, or by putting a decorated egg or two on the windows of your own home, bright and early Easter morning. If you are out (with or without children) on Easter or any time that week, look for the eggs and be sure to post pictures of your favorites in the comments of our Facebook post, or on Instagram!
The Deacons have been contacting our Shepherd List people during this time when most of us are staying home and using our phones and other media for contacting each other. We have been checking to see how our flocks are doing and trying to find ways to help us all get through.
Some ideas from the Deacons:
- Linda Connolly suggests getting familiar with telemedicine before you need it. You can go to CapeRegional.com to get more information and a phone number that will help you with the process.
- Acme’s Pharmacy is delivering prescriptions. June Willis used this service.
- CVS is delivering items from their store, not just prescriptions according to Linda.
- Gail Bridges used Acme’s Instacart service for pickup. They also have delivery service. At this writing, both pickup and delivery are scheduling a few days out so you need to plan ahead.
The Deacons’ Transportation Pool was able to help two of our members before that stay at home order went through:
- Jerry Graham picked up a prescription for Jane Turkington when her senior living facility went into isolation early in the crisis.
- Lou Riccio stretched our guidelines (south of Cape May Court house medical visits) in order to pick up June Willis at the airport on her return to Cape May from Florida.
- In addition to the masks mentioned in the April Open Door, Gail is making masks for Cape May Regional following a request from local quilt guild CAMACO. If you would like more information, see her contact information below.
One of our Deacons, Lisa Lovero is in an essential business and has to go to work. For Lisa, her job is more than a business, she is a compassionate healthcare worker at North Cape Nursing Home. Since the nursing homes are not allowing visits from friends and family, she is extra busy right now trying to keep the patients well and busy. And, Lisa’s mother had a mini-stroke and Lisa can’t be at home with her because her job is essential. Linda Connolly delivered a prayer shawl for her.
We hope you are doing well. If you need help and don’t know who your Shepherd is, please contact me at or 609-898-0514. I’ll try to put you in touch with someone who can help even if I can’t.
During these times when so many of us are having to stay at home, we are actually contributing to keeping our planet green simply by lowering car emissions. The New York Times reported that cities around the country showed a decrease in their air pollution due to reduced car activity.
And while we are in the middle of a new normal, consider the bees. We need them for pollination and dandelions help in this process. They are bright and sunny too, so maybe consider leaving them alone and letting them grow. (I know this will not be a well-received suggestion since we are used to our well-manicured lawns and gardens, but maybe you’ll give it a try ….).
There will be NO April Book Club Meeting.
The Church Book Club invites anyone interested to join us on Sunday, May 10th at 6 PM in the Fellowship Room. We have chosen to read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, which is the story about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. His contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. All are welcome.
In addition, the book case in the Fellowship Room, has a number of selections which are available for readers to take and read."Take a book, bring a book" for anyone so inclined to do so. Happy reading!
Questions may be directed to Linda Linhares or Connie Blocher.
A Prayer For Uncertain Times....
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
From the Pastor:
A good time to…
As I told the session already, I’ve begun collecting sentences that begin with the words, “It’s a good time to…” It’s a good time to be a reader, a gardener, an introvert (check, check, and check). It’s a good time to live near the beach (yep). It’s a good time to be on Facebook (way too often). It’s a good time to knit, crochet, or stitch (nope). It’s a good time to be a runner (I’ve heard). I’m wondering how each of you would complete that sentence. What skills or resources or hobbies are you grateful for in this time of hunkering down? A few things I hope you would list, as I do-- It’s a good time to have a church community, a Bible, and a prayer life. A good time to pay attention to the beauty of creation around us. A good time to practice the ancient tradition of Sabbath—where no work or travel interrupted hours spent in relaxed conversation with loved ones or with God.
It’s tricky to say there are silver linings in this crisis. The leisure that I have to enjoy my garden and my sons doesn’t make a counterbalance to the real tragedy out there. People with loved ones who are ill, those who fear for themselves or their loved ones, and those who wonder how they will support their families in the weeks to come--I’m guessing those people don’t want to hear about the tomato seedlings on my kitchen table. And yet. Gratitude is always possible. For most of us in Cape May right now, there is much to be grateful for—our surroundings, our relative safety, and our relationships. Let’s keep on counting our blessings, practicing gratitude, and caring for our own and one another’s spiritual health as much as we care for our physical.
We are accepting donations and making distributions by appointment to reduce the number of people gathering together in one place. Anyone wishing to make a donation or who needs food, please call (609) 600-7715. While it's not "business as usual," we are there for anyone who needs us. so be sure to set your clocks ahead on Saturday night!
We are looking to help our local hospitals in sewing masks! If you or anyone you know are able to help make this possible, call or e-mail and they will pick up your donations:Below is mask making instructions received from South Shore Stitchers, another local guild. Just click on the link "pattern" and instructions on sewing masks is provided. Also, you can contact Lauren Mendelsohn, from AtlantiCare: or call 609-513-3350.
WeNeedMasks.org launched yesterday afternoon and the response has been overwhelming. The healthcare organizations listed are pleading for masks to help them through this crisis and I will share with you that many of the requests have brought me to tears. From large hospitals that are overwhelmed to small clinics, healthcare centers, nursing homes, senior centers and EMS facilities, they are all including notes asking that we please send them whatever we can as quickly as we can.
Fabric masks do not prevent COVID-19; however, at the discretion of the healthcare professionals, they are being used on patients, as well as being used over top of the N-95 masks to extend the life of the mask. And they are needed.
Please help now. Today. ASG members can make a difference and your skills are desperately needed. There are patterns on the website, but you can use any pattern for the surgical-style mask and it can have either elastic or fabric ties. There is also a pattern for an Olson mask that is more detailed, but is being requested by some organizations.
As soon as you can, visit the Locations page of WeNeedMasks.org and begin mailing or delivering masks to the organizations listed as soon as possible. The list is continually being updated so please keep sewing and please keep checking the list - the organization does not have to be in you area. Masks should be placed in sealed plastic bags and will be laundered by the facility upon receipt.
It looks like this distancing will last a little longer than we first expected. Many of us are already using some form of online offering. For other members, mailing in your offering would help us continue with our regular bills....utilities, payrolls, etc. One of us will be using the drive thru bank for deposits weekly.
You are still the church!
Our belief that we do not have to gather in a beautiful, historic sanctuary in order to be the body of Christ is now being put to the test. Right now the church has left the building and one part of Christ’s body lives fulltime at your house. Here are few ways that we can continue being the church until we meet again:
1) Find us online! We are now on YouTube (Cape May Presbyterian), Facebook (First Presbyterian Cape May), our website (firstpresbycapemay.com), Instagram (firstpresbycm) and even Twitter (@MayPresbyterian). Find us, like us, follow us—join us for a short worship service on YouTube or Facebook Sunday morning, join us for scripture on Wednesdays, Gratitude on Saturdays, and so on. We are posting something every day and you will often see your friends there. As we learn more about how to help, we will be sharing those ideas as well.
2) Call one another. Call people you don’t usually call—just to check or just so that both of you can hear a friendly voice. Cards and even letters are also great ways to keep in touch.
3) Give regularly. See the Stewardhip word above. Other than the cost of utilities, few of the church’s expenses are decreasing at the moment. Three easy ways to give:
· The traditional way: Pop a check in the mail to us!
· The electronic way: Call your bank and have them walk you through online giving; it’s easy and a great way to ensure that you give what you intend to, consistently.
· The smart phone way: Get the Venmo app and give through your phone! Find us on there as @CapeMayPresbyterian.
4) Pray for one another—and for the whole world. It’s been a long time since we realized this vividly how deeply connected we all are. Let’s pray for those connections to be wholesome and healing ones.
At this time, all Yoga classes are CANCELLED until further notice. Please check our website at www.firstpresbycapemay.com for any updates.
If you would like to submit information for the next month's Open Door, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
requests by the third Monday of every month.
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