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‘We take hope in Christ and the promise to never leave us’

Nelson and Moffett release a pastoral care video for Presbyterians

by the Office of the General Assembly and Presbyterian Mission Agency

LOUISVILLE — Building on Wednesday’s pastoral letter to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on the COVID-19 health crisis, denominational leaders the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II and the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett have released a video created this week in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Siblings in Christ,” says Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, “these are truly trying times for all of us as we face a rapidly-spreading virus, panic buying that has left grocery shelves nearly empty and supplies in great demand.

“We have seen the worst in people and the best. Yet through it all, we take hope in Christ and the promise to never leave us. We are holding each of you in prayer. Like the rest of the country, our Presbyterian communities are separated, but we are still deeply connected through our common humanity, spirituality and strong faith in God.”

“We are not only with you in prayer and solidarity,” said Nelson, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), “we are also here to serve you.”

The PC(USA) “is committed to supporting mid council leaders and pastors who are on the frontline of preaching words of hope in these times,” Moffett said. The Church has compiled special resources for pastors, congregation leaders and members, updated regularly and found here.

“Because the Presbyterian connectional system encourages us to learn from one another, we are encouraging crowdsourcing as a way of sharing ideas,” Nelson said. Email with your suggestions and experiences for ministering to others during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Presbyterian Foundation offers access to an online giving system. While there are many congregations and individuals experiencing financial hardship brought on by the pandemic, “for those of you who are able, we encourage continued support of your local church and sharing God’s love with our neighbors in need worldwide,” Moffett said.

Nelson said national staff plans to meet with mid council leaders “to assess needs and discern ways in which we might be of assistance.”

The two urged Presbyterians to show compassion for others by not purchasing more food and supplies than they need and by speaking out against the racism that has been directed at some of our Asian siblings.

“Jesus makes it clear that how we respond to our neighbors is of paramount importance to him,” Moffett said. “These tough times call for the best of Christian character and actions.”

Like Presbyterians across the country, the two leaders are looking forward to celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

“Please note that we will hold an online Easter service from the Chapel at 100 Witherspoon in Louisville, Kentucky, for those of you who would like to be a part of a national experience,” Nelson said. “Easter is a new way of life in which we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus and called to walk in the newness of life. There is much new happening in the world around us. We pray for God’s comfort and grace as we walk forward together during these uncertain times.”

“Finally,” Moffett said, “this past week has been full of high anxiety and mounting fears. We have heard from government leaders and health experts. Now let us turn to the Scriptures to find out where biblical people found faith, hope and courage in the face of pestilence. Over 100 times the Bible tells us don’t be afraid.”

In Psalm 27:1, David tells us why, Nelson said: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

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