SFPC Updates for COVID-19
July 2nd Update
The Coved-19 pandemic has been and is continuing to be a daunting challenge. Since early May, a group of staff and session elders has been gathering to find a way to safely reopen the building to ministry opportunities and the potential of having live, in-person worship again while also following all safety protocols and suggestions given to us by both the presbytery and the CDC/OHA. Given Oregon’s June through September weather and overwhelming evidence that outdoor gatherings are far safer than those held indoors, we had begun exploring the possibility of holding worship service in front of the church on Winter Street in July. The plan was that these services would continue to broadcast online.
Subsequently, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our area and calls for greater caution and implementation of safety procedures and it does not seem reasonable to begin in July. We are mindful that there is a great deal of desire to be in community with our fellow SFPC family, so we have been looking at ways to possibly host gatherings, ministry events, and even an outdoor worship service at our building. This said, making sure that we are able to keep anyone who uses our space safe is our first priority. We have had our timeline of reopening changed and disrupted numerous times since we first started meeting in early May and it is not any easier to plan into the future now than it was 2 months ago.
Desiring to be good stewards, we are going to continue developing procedures and resources that would allow us to utilize our facilities for any number of ministry opportunities, including possible outside and inside worship, in the safest and most prepared way possible. We do long for us to safely and with confidence gather as a community in person once again. We hope that we may start to implement some "at the church" opportunities as soon as August, but only if the health and safety of everyone involved will not be at considerable risk. Our main goal is to create a safe and inclusive environment for all people, which includes physical health.
The COVID Re-Opening Team is also working diligently, knowing that our congregation has a great number who are or work directly with high-risk individuals. For this reason, please know that the COVID Team and Session have decided to take a more cautious approach as we begin to develop plans for the coming months.
The leadership and staff of the church are committed to helping our congregation connect with each other in the safest way possible while also being flexible and creative with our ability to be SFPC in 2020. The road ahead has many twists and turns, but we know that with a listening heart, God will lead us through in the safest way possible. We are all in this together and through this all we are still a fully-inclusive community of ordinary people experiencing and embodying God's extraordinary love. We can't wait to be with you all again.
-COVID Re-Opening Team (Interim Pastor Brian Craker, Rob Thrasher, Michael Talbert, Luanne Boice, Audrey Harman, Josh Dolar)
May 22nd Update
Our Session understands the need to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider a wide variety of topics and issues when it comes to reopening the church, specifically when it comes to allowing groups to meet and what it will look like for us to worship together in the building once again.
We want to take the time to let our SFPC family know that out of an abundance of caution to the wellbeing of our congregation and community, we will continue to abide by the Governor's recommendations for safest practices in regards to places of worship and holding in-person worship. This means that for the time being, we will continue to have our worship services online only.
Session has put together a committee comprised of both staff and session members that are working on what the timeline for SFPC to reopen will be and what the steps and goals of that timeline will look like. They are diligently looking at all information available to them through health officials, local, state, and national officials, and both Presbytery of the Cascades and our national Presbytery.
Our Reopening Committee and Session will be releasing a statement and plan for reopening once they have all the necessary info to make sure that we are keeping everyone who comes to SFPC safe in worship.
Thank you to all of your support during these different times and we are all in this together in these times. You all are in our prayers and continue to be.
April 28th Update
Our session and staff, in prayerful and listening hearts, know that we are unsure what social distancing guidelines will be looking like from month to month. Because of that, we will be keeping our building closed and all events canceled until social distancing guidelines will allow us to once again hold groups, events, and worship in our space once again.
March 20th update
Earlier this week Governor Brown extended the school closures through April 28th and advised houses of worship and non-profits that gather people to consider doing the same. The Session took that recommendation to heart, and at this time is extending our SFPC facility closure through that same date: April 28th. This will mean that all worship gatherings, meetings, classes, and groups will need to postpone or meet online during this time. Easterpalooza, as mentioned before, has also been canceled this year.
The Session has also wanted to be sure that during this closure, that if our facility is needed for the medical needs of our community, that a way forward could be made clear. That said, the Red Cross Blood Drive is still on for Tuesday, April 14th. The Red Cross team will be able to keep the facility and donors safe during this very critical time of need for blood donations.
March 14th update
In light of the recent developments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), Salem First (SFPC) is shifting our worship service to online-only, and closing our facility to all SFPC services, classes, groups, and meetings through March 31st. Please see the attached letter for the full details regarding the impacts of these actions. We will continue to stay connected as a worshipping community during this time and will reassess the situation as things progress. Please also join us in lifting up our entire community in prayer, especially for those working directly with or impacted closely by this outbreak.
SFPC will move to an online-only service format. This will mean that our in-person worship service will be canceled until at least April 28th. Thankfully the recent sanctuary remodel included technological upgrades to allow us to live-stream and record our worship services. No matter how things progress with the Coronavirus situation, please know that the SFPC staff is committed to keeping this worship experience a reality. Contingency plans are already in the works should further restrictions materialize. While we now know that we won’t be able to gather together for Holy Week and Easter, we WILL be able to worship together in spirit and in truth through this technology. God is good!
We have three options for joining us for online worship. To watch our Livestream:
SFPC Website: salemfpc.org/live
Our website and youtube channel will also host previous services you can watch anytime. You can also search “Salem First Presbyterian” on YouTube and subscribe to the channel.
We would also LOVE to see what worshipping together virtually looks like through pictures of you worshipping at home that we can post to the SFPC Facebook page! You can post pictures on either Facebook or Instagram and tag us (@salemfpc) or email them to .
For our offering time, you can give online via our website, you can send a text message to 503-676-5683, or use your bank or financial institution’s online banking services to send a check directly to the church. Thank you for your continued generous support!
We’re facing a very challenging time together right now, and the board of Deacons, and others in our community, are rising up in response to help those that need it. If you currently find yourself unable to leave your home, we are willing and eager to help you by delivering groceries, prescriptions, and whatever else you might need right now.
To receive these services, or to join the Deacons in ministering to our neighbors in this way, please contact me by emailing email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the church office at 503-363-9234 or 503-974-6125 if it is after church hours.
Congregational Care Coordinator
Salem First Presbyterian Church
The church office will be closed to public access through April 28th. The best way to be in touch with SFPC staff during this time will be through email, and you can find those email addresses on our SFPC staff page. You can also call the church office but we cannot guarantee someone will be in to answer the phone so you may leave us a voicemail.
Please note: Our amazing staff is taking on significant additional work during this outbreak so please limit your communications to items that are time and need sensitive during this time. Thank you so much!
Unfortunately, in light of the ban on public gatherings, we have had to cancel Easterpalooza this year. We will send out a community-wide announcement regarding the cancellation soon. Our amazing and creative staff is already brainstorming for a special event later this year once the all-clear is given for our community. We will share more details when the time comes…
SFPC Groups and Building use
Effective immediately, we are closing the SFPC main building and restricting access to staff and necessary Session leadership to carry out necessary and time-sensitive tasks during this closure.
We have chosen to cancel all programs and groups that meet in our building through April 28th and are asking all SFPC ministry meetings to move to electronic or video meeting methods if possible. For SFPC groups that meet off-site, we encourage following CDC recommendations of postponing or meeting online if possible, otherwise strictly observing personal space distancing of 3-feet, and limiting contact with vulnerable populations. The Session has also wanted to be sure that during this closure, that if our facility is needed for the medical needs of our community, that a way forward could be made clear.
We are encouraging all non-SFPC affiliated groups that use our building to be in communication with their groups about what their plans are with regards to meeting at SFPC. We will link to their websites below.
Little Friends Montessori School: http://salemlfm.com/
Mens Bible Study Fellowship: https://www.bsfinternational.org/class/713
Brothers of Valor: https://valormentoring.com/
New Beginnings Church
General Health and Saftey Links
We want to make sure that everyone in our community feels loved and safe. We can do so by staying informed and up to date on what the best health practices are and look like. We are including links below to help you stay informed as the SFPC Community. We will be updating this as any more relevant info becomes available.
Oregon Health Authority: http://www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus
The Importance to help "Flatten the curve": https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/flattening-curve-for-covid-19-what-does-it-mean-and-how-can-you-help
CDC recommendations for faith communities:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/index.html