We are not prisoners of war, but we are in a forced confinement by an enemy. In this case, a microscopic virus undetectable by the human eye. We are not in our sanctuary; we are in our homes. We will not be passing the bread down the pew; or the juice either for that matter. Many of you will be where two or more are gathered in His name. Others will be without human companionship, but you will not be alone for we are all one in God’s Spirit.

This Sunday is one full of jubilation as we celebrate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. During this time of social distancing, we simply can't come together in one physical space. And yet, as Christians, we are joined together in spirit and will continue to worship virtually.

Remember that the love of God is filling our hearts now. The Holy Spirit abides with us now. We have strength and hope now as well as in the future.

These days of forced social distancing strike at the heart of our ministry in ways we all find ourselves grieving at the moment. And yet, we are still trying to meet the very real and increasing needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

Earlier this week, I woke up wondering what it means to be observing Lent in the midst of a pandemic. Is there something about the isolation and separation we all are experiencing that can help us understand more deeply the meaning of this holy season?    

In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, one thing remains unchanged—God’s love for us. During this season of Lent, we remember Jesus’ journey to the cross and his sacrifice made out of love to save us. We will continue to walk with Jesus together.

Since our last update, our committee has completed and gained approval of IPC Ministry Information Form (MIF), which is now posted on the PCUSA’s Church Leadership Connection portal and available to candidates within the denomination

Effective today, Tuesday, March 17 at 4:30 pm, church offices will be closed through April. Only essential services staff will report to IPC on select days for a few hours. The rest of our staff will work remotely and can be reached by email. Voicemail messages left on office phones will be checked regularly. All in-person worship, classes and groups are cancelled through April.

Sunday is the day when the church is filled with people I love and who love one another. Sunday is the day when we are most mindful of who needs our care and our prayers—especially when you or I are the ones most in need. Our concern for the coronavirus has temporarily robbed us of the opportunity to be together on this Sabbath day and a handful of others to come, but the virus cannot take from us the beauty of our life together and cannot break the ties that bind us with God and one another.

At this time, I need to update you on the new measures the IPC Day School will be taking in managing the COVID-19 situation in Birmingham. Following Governor Ivey’s state of emergency declaration and mandate to close schools and Mountain Brook Schools’ decision to have three elearning days, we will be closed effective Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 6, 2020.  All our enrichment activities will be suspended as well. We will continue to monitor the situation and send updates as necessary.