Letter from Rev. Charlotte Bell

Dear First Congregational Church of KPT Member, Friends, and Visitors,

As a church, our ministry always holds the spiritual and physical well-being of all who with whom we have contact with.  Jesus calls us to care for the sick and vulnerable most of all.  The leadership of the church have been in conversation as to how we can continue our ministry through this global pandemic COVID-19 crisis.

Heeding the advice from the UCC Maine Conference we felt it was wise to implement cancelling church for March 15, 22 and 29.  We will continue to monitor recommendations and inform you as events unfold.  In the interim, we are working on creating a live-stream abbreviated Sunday worship that can be accessed on our church’s Facebook page, or a click on YouTube service.Being a small congregation will enable the leadership to phone each of you, that we have phone numbers for to check-in each week.   Jesus teaches us to reach out to one another in times of plenty and in our times that we are in the desert.  Let us know if you’re in need of anything, more phone calls, or groceries.

As we self-isolate from one another, we will need the church and lean into our faith more than ever during this crisis.  Pastor Charlotte will be posting a weekly reflection, scripture passage and questions on our church’s web site and snail mailing this to you if you do not have computer capability.  Please reach out to Pastor Charlotte by email – revcbell1stcckpt@comcast.net, cell phone 603-582-0117, and please leave a message on the church’s phone 207-967-3897.  Pastor Charlotte will continue to be in the office, Tuesday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, reachable by phone, email.

We will continue to stay in touch with you, and ask for you to reach out to one another, neighbors, friends and others who may be experiencing anxiety or isolation  We ask that as your church continues to provide care to each of you, that you also care for your church with your prayers and consider mailing in your offering as you’re able;    First Congregational Church of Kennebunkport

141 North Street,  Kennebunkport, ME 04046

God has presented us a challenge, and we can call upon the divine power that lives within us to meet life’s obstacles with calm and confidence.

“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.” Ephesians 6:10

In times such as these, the church is privileged to show what the power of faith can do.

Hold fast and reflect on this passage from Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts;

so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

Peace be with you,Pastor Charlotte and the Executive Committee

Service Cancelled for March

We are following the  recommendation of the UCC Maine conference Minister and we will cancel all church worship services, meetings and church events for the remainder of March,starting this upcoming Sunday.    We will reevaluate the situation at that point on how we will move forward. Thanks for your understanding.

Note from our Minister on COVID-19

Greetings First Church members and friends!

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m sure many of you are concerned about the coronavirus and how it may impact us here in the United States.  As Christians we are not to give into fear.  At the same time, we are to act wisely and take proper precautions when we can.  Part of loving our neighbor means watching out for each other’s health.

The Surgeon General met with church leaders this week and gave general guidelines for churches to follow at this time.  Although the risk to any individuals in the U.S. of contracting the disease is extremely low there are certain bestpractices churches can follow to minimize any risk.

I have been in contact with Rev. Deborah Blood, ME UCC Maine Conference Minister and colleagues on the various ways we can continue safely worshiping in our church settings.  We can make simple modifications to help keep our members and community healthy and safe.

Should I stay home?             

  • Use good judgement.  Older individuals, those with underlying health concerns or a compromised immune system may want to seriously consider this option, but we trust you to make that decision.
  • Those who have recently traveled to an area with known widespread or sustained community transmission of the new coronavirus should also seriously consider staying home for a couple of weeks, even if you don’t have symptoms. Community transmission means the virus is being passed around within the community and not just affecting those who have traveled outside that community.  College students returning home should keep this standard in mind before coming to worship. 

    If you are joining us for worship
  • Greet your neighbor without touching: We are asking those gathering for worship to no longer shake hands or share hugs.  With a smile and a wave, we can share a warm welcome without sharing anything else.  The pastor will be following these same guidelines before and after the service. 
  • Our sexton has been asked to spend a little more time than usual disinfecting high contact areas.  You can do your part by washing hands regularly with soap and water.  Washing is always best, but there is also hand-sanitizer (if available) at each entrance to the meeting house and Ober Hall.  Despite best efforts to keep hands clean, it is a good idea to keep your hands away from your eyes and mouth.
  • Cover up any coughs and sneezes with a clean tissue or handkerchief.  In the absence of these, the elbow pit works well too. 
  • When visiting with others, social distancing is another way to help protect yourself and others.  This means standing further away from others than you normally would when visiting. It also includes avoiding sitting directly in front of or behind someone during worship.  
  • Rather than pass the plates around during worship, the ushers will hold the offering plate for you to give your offering. We are avoiding passing anything from hand to hand.
  • With the above in mind, April 5th Full Communion may be postponed.
  • Coffee hour may also be modified or suspended.

How can I stay connected?

  • The Pastor and Deacons are undertaking the work of reaching out to our entire church membership directly during this time.  We want to make sure everyone is feeling safe and that people have what they need.  If you are a member expect a phone call in the next week or so.  We encourage you to check on neighbors and friends, especially those who might be susceptible to more serious outcomes.

How can I learn of future changes/or cancellations?

  • We will be using this same method of communication if more changes are in order.  We will also be posting this information on our website and on social media. 
  • If you have a specific questions and can’t find the answer, don’t hesitate to call Pastor Charlotte at 603-582-0117, email revcbell1stcckpt@comcast.net, Chair of Deacons Laura Burne at 207-423-9213, email laurab.mlw@gmail.com and Moderator Carol Cook at 207-967-3076, email ccook@kennebunkportme.gov.

We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.  We will rejoice to join with you in fellowship and worship, whether that happens soon with the modifications above or in a few weeks when the crisis has slowed or passed.  Either way, know that your church is taking this seriously and is following the guidance of the CDC and our regional leadership.  We are also holding you all in our prayers.
In Christian Love,

Rev. Charlotte E.Y. Bell & The Leadership of First Congregational Church of Kennebunkport