COVID-19 Update

REMINDER

Our Sunday 10am Service is now available for all to attend in person. Masks will be required.
We will also be Live Streaming at 10am on our YouTube channel. There is no 8am Service.

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Please visit Pastor Scott's Message for weekly updates or visit us on Facebook.


Published: 7/9/2021

We have lifted the limit on the number of people that may attend worship at the Sunday 10am Service. You are all free to join us in the sanctuary in person! We do require that everyone wear a mask, and appreciate your cooperation as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic.

May God bless you all,
Pastor Scott
scott.cousineau@firstparishsaco.org


Published: 5/29/2021

Opening the Church
Guidelines as of May 20, 2021

Here is the wonderful news that you have all been waiting for … we plan to resume in-person worship on Sunday, June 20! But what will our post pandemic “in-person” worship service be like?

With the new bi-polar ionization units installed in the ventilation system and the air quality in the entire building being greatly improved we will be able to slowly reopen the church.

  1. In the beginning, seventy-five people may attend the in-person service. That number will include staff. The service will continue to be live-streamed every Sunday.
  2. Those wishing to attend “in person” worship services will have to register online or call the church office by Thursday of the previous week. People will be admitted on a first come first serve basis. The Church Office phone is (207) 283-3771.
  3. Everyone must wear a mask. Yes, we did say mask. Churches include many unvaccinated people including those who are medically compromised and cannot receive the vaccine, as well as young children who are currently ineligible for vaccination. It is important that everyone feels safe and is respected whether they are vaccinated or not.
  4. Everyone will sanitize their hands when checking in.
  5. Everyone will observe physical distancing with six feet intervals.
  6. Families will sit together. Each family will sit in every other pew.
  7. Everyone will register with name and phone number.
  8. Everyone must be symptom free.
  9. We must be cautious about singing indoors based on science and mixed-vaccine-status-groups. Therefore, the choir will be the only people permitted to sing.
  10. There will be no paper bulletins.
  11. Upon completion of the service, everyone will exit the church with physical distancing. Once outside, people are free to visit with your friends at First Parish Church.

 We thank you for your patience during this long journey. Worshiping in person is a big step to returning to normal.

May God bless you all,
Pastor Scott
scott.cousineau@firstparishsaco.org


Published: 4/13/2021

Dear First Parish Church Family,

The COVID task force met the third week of March. We are watching the numbers and the guidelines.

The bipolar ionization system will be installed during the April school vacation week. That system will work to eliminate the presence of the virus in our air. Our tentative plan is to resume a phased-in resumption of in-person worship beginning in June. We will practice the recommended protocols: reservations, singing in, masking, social distancing, no passed or shared objects, no singing, and no fellowship hour. We will limit the number who will be able to attend, and increase (or decrease) the number depending upon the circumstances. Of course, we will continue to livestream all of our worship services.

Our hope and our prayer is that we will be able to expand our in-person ministries in September.

May God bless you all,
Pastor Scott
scott.cousineau@firstparishsaco.org


Published: 4/29/2020

Dear First Parish Church Family,

I hope that you are all happy and healthy. I am sure that we all feel pretty much the same way ... we are anxious for this episode to be over. It will be eventually. By now, you have likely been made aware of the governor's proposed guidelines for reopening the state. According to those guidelines, it will likely be three more months before we can resume "normal" worship services as a church family. (In June and July we may be limited to gatherings of less than fifty people.) The thought of that is disappointing, to say the least.

However, I have asked the Deacons to think of ways that we can be creative during these next couple of months. We will explore new ways that we can gather for worship and fellowship. If you have any thoughts, please share them with me.

May God bless you all,
Pastor Scott
scott.cousineau@firstparishsaco.org


Published: 4/1/2020

No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. I wish it was.

In light of Governor Mill’s order to stay home, we will be making additional adjustments here at First Parish Church. Our ministries are important for our family and our community, and they will continue. However, we are also trying to limit exposure. Thus far, the evidence of stay at home compliance in California and Washington state shows that staying apart has dramatically reduced the spread and tragic results of the virus.

Therefore, we ask that you please STAY HOME. As much as we miss you, please do not come to the church. Our staff is going to conduct as much of their work from home as possible. We will still serve the needs of our community but will do so adhering to health and safety protocols.

We will conduct simplified worship services that we will continue to live stream. Please send me any prayer requests before Sunday morning. We will not be able to retrieve them once the service begins.

Unfortunately, the Flower and Altar Team will NOT be distributing palms on Saturday as we planned. We will place them on the church steps following the service on Sunday if anyone would like to stop by and take some.

The Deacons and the Calling Committee are keeping in touch with the more isolated and vulnerable members of our church family. I encourage you to do the same. If you are aware of anyone that requires assistance or support, please let us know.

We typically take a special offering that supports the Deacons’ Discretionary Fund on the first Sunday of the month. We have begun receiving requests for food assistance because of coronavirus related job losses. If you are able to make a contribution to the Deacons’ Fund at this time, please know that you will be supporting our neighbors. ALL meetings will be conducted using conference calls or other meeting platforms.

I will be in the office during my normal hours, Tuesday through Friday. You can reach me via email.

I know that we want to be together. That day will come. In the meantime, let us do as much as we can to stay apart so that we will be able to gather together again as soon as possible. I thank you for all of your support and your cooperation during this strange and uncertain time. We will get through this.

May God bless you and keep you,

Scott
Reverend Scott W. Cousineau
Pastor, First Parish Congregational Church


Published: 3/21/2020

Dear First Parish Church Family,

This is a very confusing and trying time for our community. We desire to be a sanctuary, a safe place, for all who struggle and suffer. We desire to serve our community, to help our neighbors in need. But we have to balance that with practicing the safety protocols that are in place.

As the COVID-19 coronavirus has spread, the CDC and other health and safety officials have advised that we should practice social distancing. Their recommendations have been that we limit ourselves to interactions with ever-decreasing numbers of people. That recommendation now stands at ten. I think that it is likely the case that the number will continue to decrease. The best way to "flatten the curve," to limit exposure and spread of the virus is to limit the number of people with whom we come into contact. Currently, the recommendation is that we stay home for a few weeks.

Therefore, First Parish Congregational Church will suspend ALL public gatherings. We will worship online only. On Friday afternoon, we will post the bulletin for the service so that you can follow along with the live stream. You will also be able to join us at 10:00 AM on YouTube or Facebook Live. The 8:00 AM service will be suspended. 

Please send any prayer requests to me at: scott.cousineau@firstparishsaco.org. Please indicate if you would want them to be shared publicly.

  • The church office is closed to the public. If you need anything, please call us at 207-283-3771. I will be in the office Tuesday through Friday.
  • All meetings are suspended until further notice. We have the ability to setup audio/video conferencing to conduct meetings remotely. Please contact office@firstparishsaco.org for remote meeting options.
  • All Choir rehearsals are suspended. Jacqui will be rehearsing via audio/video conferencing.
  • We will be compiling a list of those who are well and are able to run errands (as long as we are able to do so) for those who are in at-risk or vulnerable groups. If you are willing to serve in that capacity, please let me know.
  • During the next few weeks, connection and communication will be of vital importance. We will post as many updates as are necessary.
  • Please hold our friends and neighbors in prayer.
  • Please comply with health department recommendations. Do not behave as though you are afraid of getting sick, behave as though you ARE sick and do not want to make others sick as well.
  • Please pick up your phones and call your neighbors.
  • Use social media for the best possible purposes.

 We will get through this if we help one another.

May God bless you all.

Scott
Reverend Scott W. Cousineau
Pastor, First Parish Congregational Church

 

 

 

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UCC, SACO MAINE


12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072


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