Oak Hill Presbyterian Church is taking seriously community precautions around the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is where to find the most up to date info on any planning, preparing, cancellations, resources, and other information for the church community.
We have returned to virtual worship. We will reconsider this situation in February. Watch for updates.
August 2021 Update
We are paying close attention to the data following the uptick in cases in Missouri over the summer. For now, we are continuing to meet in-person with masks and distancing in the sanctuary. We are still not singing as a community inside. We have not returned to fellowship inside the building. The Session will continue to monitor the situation and will make changes if and when necessary.
6/11/2021 9:30 a.m.
IMPORTANT COVID UPDATE
The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church met and discussed our COVID practices on Wednesday, receiving a report from our COVID Task Force. The Session voted unanimously to carefully and prayerfully resume in-person ministry as follows:
- Limited re-opening of the building began in June. Small groups of 15 or less can meet inside the building with masks and distancing recommended. Virtual options are still available to groups who would prefer to meet online.
- We will resume indoor in-person worship in July. Knowing that not everyone has access to the vaccine (including young children) and that our community vaccination rate is still low, we will ask all in-person worship participants to wear masks. The Worship and Christian Ed Committee will work out details and logistics to ensure we have space for social distancing, safety for liturgists and worship leaders, and whatever is necessary to continue offering an online option for those who will choose to continue worshiping online. We will not have congregational singing inside the building at this time, but Pastor Erin and Music Minister Susan will continue to research this issue. We will not have a time of fellowship after worship inside the building, but will encourage the congregation to visit and chat outside after worship. Our first worship service back inside the sanctuary will be on Sunday, July 4, and it will include communion and quite a lot of joy.
A few things to note:
– We have some work to do to get the building ready to return for in-person ministry. If you are available to help with some of the clean up and prep, please stay after worship and fellowship time this Sunday, June 13th.
– We are looking for some folks who are interested in serving on a Worship Tech Team. Are you pretty familiar with Zoom? Do you know how to send Zoom chats, share your screen, and change your Zoom name? Great! You’d be so good at this volunteer role. Please email Pastor Erin if you are interested in helping out one Sunday a month.
– A HUGE thank you to our COVID Task Force: Jillian Embrey, Brian Heuckroth, Donna Cook, Sandy Kay, Josh Smith, and Heather Macarthur who researched and discussed and came up with some good plans for us.
5-15-2021 12:30 p.m.
The session met on Wednesday this week (5/12) and received a report from our COVID Planning Task Force. After much discussion on local vaccination data and infection rates, and reviewing official guidance at the time (this was before Thursday’s CDC announcement) the recommendation from the Task Force was to keep the church building closed to large gatherings, including worship, until September (when data suggests that vaccination rates in the St. Louis area will be at our around 70%), but to offer small groups (15 or less) the option of meeting in the church building starting in June, following safe COVID protocols. Knowing that information and guidelines are changing rapidly, however, session amended this plan to include a monthly check-in at stated session meetings in case we want to review current data and make appropriate adjustments. We will continue worshiping together online, and will be adding in some in-person outdoor worship services this summer. We’re also making upgrades to the church building to improve our capacity to offer online worship options even when we are back worshiping in the sanctuary.
As a pastoral note- I know we are all wanting to be together again. I know that there is no perfect or perfectly safe plan. This is the first time any of us have ever lived through this, and I am watching your church leaders make the very best, most faithful, most loving decisions they can. The decisions the session has made all along have been with our most vulnerable community members in mind. Please keep being safe. Please keep encouraging your friends and family to get vaccinations when they are eligible. Please pray hard for the safety and wellness of all our congregation and our community. And pray that God will not only offer us wisdom as we make these decisions together, but also grace for when we stumble along the way. It is such a blessing that we get to be church together. – Pastor Erin
4-14-2021 9:00 p.m.
The Session met on Wednesday 4/14 and decided to continue worshiping on Zoom at least through the Easter season (which ends on Pentecost on 5/23/21), and asked a task force consisting of Sandy Kay, Brian Heuckroth, Donna Cook, Heather Macarthur, Jillian Embrey, and Erin Counihan to investigate and plan for when and how we might be able to safely and carefully resume in-person worship and re-open the building. If you have thoughts or ideas on this planning, please reach out to anyone on the task force.
1-13-2021 9:00 p.m.
The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church met tonight and unanimously agreed to keep the building closed and to continue with online worship through Easter 2021 (April 4th). We will continue to monitor local regulations and data as we plan for both the wellness of our community and our ongoing ministry.
11-12-2020 10:00 a.m.
The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church met on Wednesday 11/11 and decided to keep the building closed and to continue with online worship until further notice. COVID numbers in the city and throughout the region are on the rise again. The Session has asked the Stewardship and Property Committee to discuss some planning metrics and tools for data analysis to help us make a decision about reopening in the new year. For now, we expect to be closed through the holiday season and into the winter.
8-13-2020 2:00 p.m.
The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church met on Wednesday 8/12 and discussed our ongoing COVID-19 planning. Taking note of local data, and the recent increase in COVID hospitalizations in our region, the tightening of public precautions announced by our mayor this week, and our congregation’s ongoing approach to worship and community life together during this season of pandemic, the Session voted unanimously to keep the church building closed and to continue with online worship through Advent, with hopes to re-open, if safe, during the Christmas season. The Christmas season, according to the liturgical calendar, is Christmas Eve through Epiphany on January 6th. The Session will revisit the COVID-19 planning conversation at our November meeting. All church committees have been working creatively to plan ways for the congregation to stay connected, both virtually, and through small, outdoor, masked and socially distanced gatherings. We will continue to work together to find faithful and safe ways to worship, love, serve, and grow together during this time.
6-12-2020 7:00 p.m.
Our Session meet on Wednesday 6/10/2020 and voted to keep the church building closed and continue worshiping online through Labor Day, September 7, 2020. We have asked each of the church committees to start looking into ways we might gather safely, in small groups, outdoors, for fellowship or Christian education, in the coming weeks. To try some things out and see what we learn about how we might be together in very thoughtful and careful ways in the coming months. We are following CDC guidelines and city directives and data, and a whole lot of prayer, in making these decisions. As a few small gathering options are planned, we will keep the congregation updated via the weekly e-news, this website, and our social media pages. We remain in prayer for all who are fighting this illness, for all who are working and helping and healing through this time, and for all of us trying to do our best!
As always, we send our love and prayers. Please do let Pastor Erin know if you are having any special struggles that the congregation or our staff might be able to provide support around.
With hope and love,
5-15-2020 2:00 p.m.
At our regular monthly meeting this week, The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church discussed options for worship and programming, using guidance from city officials, the CDC, and several different ecumenical organizations. The Session then voted to keep the building closed and continue with online worship through June 30th. We plan to revisit this conversation and reevaluate the community’s needs at our June meeting to be held on 6/10.
We also took time to discuss online worship styles and options, and to take into consideration online security and safety. We feel that our online worship gathering on Zoom has been a good experience and we plan to continue gathering in this way.
5-1-2020 3:00 p.m.
How is it May already?! Who did this??
Friends, we’re getting through this long coronavirus stay-at-home time, and I know there is still so much uncertainty out there. The Governor is starting to re-open the state of Missouri, but the City and County are both still under stay-at-home orders. The session of Oak Hill Church will discuss our own re-opening plan when we next meet on May 13th, but as we still remain under a stay-at-home order, we will continue to keep the building mostly closed and keep worshiping online, using Zoom.
|4-2-2020 1:00 p.m. |
Greetings Oak Hill Community!
We have a few updates about Holy Week to share with you. The Session met last night over Zoom to discuss Holy Week worship, check in on our finances, share member care needs, and to pray together. An April newsletter will come out soon (sorry for the delay) and you’ll have a few more updates there.
Holy Week Worship
The ZOOM Meeting ID for all OHPC Zoom worship services is: 768-992-383
Palm Sunday- we will gather via Zoom for Palm Sunday worship this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. You are invited between now and then, to download and print a copy of this palm branch. You can color it in however you like, and then as worship is beginning, we’ll waive the palm branches around on our screens and have a whole Zoom palm parade/dance party!
Maundy Thursday- we will gather via Zoom at 6:00 p.m. around all our own dinner tables! Yup, we’re gonna have a big online dinner party. We’ll share our own meals together. Pastor Erin will offer a brief liturgy, and we will share in virtual communion. That means, we invite you to prepare your own bread, or bread-like product, and juice, or juice-like product, then Pastor Erin will offer the blessing and say the magic communion words over all our tables, and we will share in the feast together.
Good Friday- we will take a break from Zoom gatherings (holy screen time, Batman!) and we will email out an at-home Good Friday worship packet. You’ll be able to have a worship experience at home, on your own time, in your own space.
Holy Saturday- We know that so many of you love holding vigil in the sanctuary on Holy Saturday. We will provide an at-home packet for personal devotion, and quiet vigil time, for those who are interested. Materials for both Good Friday and Holy Saturday will be posted to our church website.
Easter Sunday- for you early risers, we will post a Sunrise greeting, and encourage you to share a pic of your sunrise Easter moment on our FB page. For the rest of us, we’ll gather on Zoom at 10:30 a.m. for Easter Worship. Again, we will share in communion, so please do plan to have your own elements (bread and juice, or crackers and juice, or something) at home.
Update on Finances
Friends, thanks to your generosity, we are in a safe financial position at this time. We’ve heard from several Oak Hill members that our new online giving setup is working and working well! If you haven’t tried it yet, check it out on our website at www.oakhillpcusa.org an click on the “donate” tab. If you have any trouble with online giving, please report that to Treasurer Brent Crittenden at email@example.com.
Also, the session voted last night to send an extra $200 this month to support Isaiah 58 Ministries. During this crisis, Isaiah 58 is serving even more members of our community each day, while receiving fewer food donations from local grocery stores. Our donation, paired with several of your individual donations made through online giving, will help them to serve our neighbors!
Update on Member Care
Please do keep one another in prayer this week. If you have specific prayer requests, or if you have any needs, or anything the church can help with at this time, please email them to Pastor Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, be sure to follow our website, and our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay connected during this time. We’re posting plenty of spiritual and prayerful posts, but also silliness and laughter, so we get to have a little fun, too.
Sending you so much love,
3-27-2020 6:45 p.m.
Greetings Oak Hill Family,
I hope this message finds you safely at home, with clean hands, and prayer-filled spirits. Here is the news from Oak Hill:
The building remains closed, and we are still focused on flattening the curve of the coronavirus through social distancing, so will again be gathering for worship this Sunday online using Zoom. We are working out a few kinks from last time and adding some new elements. The Zoom meeting ID for worship this Sunday, and going forward is: 768-992-383. More details about using Zoom are included at the bottom of this email. I’ve attached the worship bulletin for this Sunday, which you can print or download at home.
Please remember to check our social media pages to follow our daily Lenten Devotional and stay connected in this time of isolation.
Also, we have recently put together a phone tree! Each session member, plus our pastors, have received a list of church members and friends to contact. Our hope is to reach out, check in, learn about any needs in the congregation, stay informed, and to pray for one another.
If you are willing to serve as a virtual liturgist, or if you want to share any hilarious messages, creative music numbers, casual greetings, or other video communications with us during this time, Pastor Jillian has set up a shared Google Drive folder for those submissions. This week, we are looking for liturgists to record themselves reading Ezekiel 37:1-14. If you have time tonight or tomorrow, set up a camera and record that whole reading, then upload it to this folder, for pastor Erin to edit into one of our online videos: (please email Pastor Erin for link)
Needs Among Us
Friends, as this season of isolation continues, if you are experiencing financial, health, mental health, social, and/or grocery needs, or if something unexpected comes up, please let us know. Reach out to a session member, text Pastor Erin, send us a FB message. Just please get in touch. We’d love to help.
Sharing with Others
We are keeping in contact with our partner agencies and other community groups at this time. The Mission and Justice Committee instructed our Treasurer to go ahead and send the entire year’s pledge to Isaiah 58 Ministries right now, to support the ways they are supporting our community in this crisis. If you would like to make a personal contribution to Isaiah 58, you can do so on their website at www.i58ministries.org. You can also still drop off food donations at Isaiah 58, M-F 10am-1pm.
We’ve also made a donation of Neighbor Go-Bags to a Veterans assistance group.
We did resume our Wednesday Bible Study Class online, using Zoom this week. You are welcome to join us, each Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. The Zoom Meeting ID for Bible Study is 259-777-226. More details will be posted on our website.
The church website continues to be the best place for all updates from Oak Hill church at this time (we continue to have some email struggles). Please make sure you’re staying informed. www.oakhillpcusa.org.
Friends, I know it is all a lot right now. My prayers are with you. My prayers are with us.
I’m sending you so much love. And I can’t wait to see you all online this Sunday.
Blessings and Peace,
To join us for worship, please set up a Zoom account at www.zoom.us
Topic: Oak Hill Presbyterian Church Sunday Worship
Time: Mar 29, 2020 10:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada), Every week on Sunday
Join Zoom Meeting: Oak Hill Worship: https://zoom.us/j/768992383
Meeting ID: 768 992 383
No password needed.
Call in by phone: 312 626 6799
3-19-2020 1:00 p.m.
Greetings Oak Hill Family,
The Session of OHPC met last night over email to check in with one another, make some plans for worship, discuss logistics for canceling/moving events, and to pray together.
With current CDC guidelines recommending no gatherings of 10 people or more for the next 8 weeks, we have planned to move worship online during that time. Recognizing this is a fluid situation, and the guidelines may change, local policies may change, our ideas and plans may change, too.
For THIS SUNDAY, we will host an online gathering on Zoom. Zoom is an app you can download to your phone or tablet, and you can also access it on a regular computer. Zoom is a meeting site where we can all be online at the same time, and we can see each other’s faces. It allows us a little more sense of visiting and community than just our daily recorded videos. We’re still posting the daily videos to the church’s facebook and Instagram pages, but we’re going to try worship a little differently this week, with Zoom. The instructions for the Zoom worship are at the bottom of this email.
We are aware that the 8-week guidance on gathering, or not gathering, takes us through Holy Week and Easter. We are still brainstorming options for sharing in worship on these special days. We have canceled the Egg Hunt and Palm Cross folding events. We will worship in some way on Easter Sunday, still to be determined, but we also decided that whenever it is that we are able to gather together, in-person, back in our sanctuary, that Sunday will also be Easter Sunday. We will bring out the big music, the flowers, the bread, the fancy paraments, the loud organ, all the bells and whistles and confetti and praise and song, and it will be Easter on that day.
In the meantime, we will continue to worship remotely. We will check in on one another by phone and text and email. We will start offering bible study by Zoom. We will continue our daily Lenten video devotionals. We will continue supporting Isaiah 58 Ministries (you can drop off donations at their site, or donate financially online at www.i58ministries.org).
And, in order that you might continue financially supporting the ministry of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church, we have activated online giving. While you are still welcome to mail in your weekly offering, it might be easier at this time to make your offering online. On our church website, you can access the secure online donation page at www.oakhillpcusa.org/donate.
The church building remains mostly shut down during this time. We have canceled most activities, with the exception of Care and Counseling and AA meetings. I have been in contact with leadership of these groups and they are taking additional safety measures to be as careful as possible during these times, while also providing crucial services to people.
Finally, we know things are difficult for so many right now. If you are worried about your health, about finances, about child care, etc., if you need someone to run an errand for you, if you have an emergency financial need, if you are feeling lonely and isolated and need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call a session member. Text Pastor Erin. Drop a message on Facebook. Whatever is most comfortable to you. We are in this for the long haul and we will get through it together. Please let us know how we can support each other and be community during this time.
Friends, I remain in prayer for you, and us, and all the world. I am sending so very much love, and all my prayers. Each month when we share communion, when I stand at that table I say something about how we join the choir of saints of all times and places…. I am reminded today, that the saints of many times faced these kinds of struggles- trying to figure out how to do life and worship and be community in a time of fear and worry, under restriction and threat of sweeping illness- and I am lifted by their faith, their support, their endurance, their resiliency, and their hope. It helps me to think of the faithful of all times praying for us, inspiring and encouraging us, and hoping for us from heaven now.
Please keep washing your hands. Please keep 6ft away from everyone. Please keep sharing pics and videos of your pets. Please keep praying for our community.
ZOOM WORSHIP INSTRUCTIONS
In order to join in online worship this Sunday, you will need to go to www.zoom.us to sign up for a free Zoom account. Please do this before Sunday morning. You’ll want to use a computer or device that has a camera and a mic. If you don’t have those, you can always call in on the phone to listen in, but you won’t be able to see people’s faces. Once you have the app, and you sign in, you will click JOIN MEETING and enter the Meeting ID below.
Join Zoom Meeting : https://zoom.us/j/427890204
Meeting ID: 427 890 204
Dial by phone (no computer): 312-626-6799
When everyone joins the meeting, I will have your microphones muted, so people won’t be able to hear you. As the worship services goes on, I will unmute people’s mics and we’ll be able to interact some. There is also a “chat” feature on the app, but just know… we can ALL see what you’re chatting about there!
At 10:30, before we begin worship, I will talk everyone through a few logistics so we can participate well together. We are aware that many people will be using Zoom for the first time, and there will be plenty of grace offered. Oak Hill is a congregation pretty good at trying new things. Let’s give this a try and see how it goes.
If you have questions about Zoom, please reach out to Pastor Erin or Pastor Jillian. (No need to reply all to this email) Also, this is a short video on how to join a Zoom meeting, which might be helpful to watch if you are new to Zoom: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hIkCmbvAHQQ?rel=0&autoplay=1&cc_load_policy=1
3-14-2020 10:15 a.m.
The Session of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church has voted to suspend in-person worship for Sunday, March 15, 2020.
Listening to local recommendations and out of love and care and abundance of caution, we will not gather in the building this Sunday. We will make worship resources online and encourage members to keep following our daily online Lenten reflections to stay connected with God and God’s Word.
3-13-2020 9:00 a.m.
Yesterday, in consultation with AMEN St. Louis leadership, and listening to the decisions made by partnering agencies, and the concerns of trip leaders, we decided to cancel the AMEN group that was to arrive today, and the group that was to arrive next week. We have not made decisions for any groups arriving after March 22, and will reassess the situation on March 22, as with all other church programming.
3-12-2020 1:00 p.m.
Dear Oak Hill Presbyterian Church Community,
The Session (elected leadership board) of Oak Hill Presbyterian Church met last night and shared in extensive conversation and planning around coronavirus preparedness in our community. Using guidance and resources from the CDC, our local public health officials, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and more, we considered preparedness and prevention options that might work best in our context. We do not feel a sense of panic, but rather a faithful responsibility to take extra caution in slowing the spread of illness among vulnerable populations who use our building and gather in community at Oak Hill.
With that as our focus, the Session has decided:
· We will continue to gather for in-person worship at Oak Hill. We will practice alternative forms of passing the peace and collecting both food and financial offerings. We encourage folks who feel any COVID-19 symptoms or who suspect they may have been exposed, and anyone who is worried about being immune compromised or in a vulnerable population, to stay home. We will share resources for anyone who would like to worship from home.
· We will immediately stop all non-essential programming and in-person gathering at Oak Hill through March 22, 2020. This means we are canceling Craft Night, Open Gym Night, Bible Study, Sunday School, and Fellowship Hour. We’re also reaching out to outside groups who use the building to cancel those meetings. For purposes of this response, we are considering Worship, Care and Counseling services, and AA meetings essential programming, and those programs will remain open at Oak Hill at their leadership’s discretion, with some additional planning for extra safety and sanitizing.
· AMEN St. Louis Spring Break programs will continue as scheduled, pending individual group decisions. We’ll restrict AMEN programming to the AMEN House and the Upper Room, to be extra cautious about contact in building spaces.
· We will be increasing our sanitation practices- more frequent wiping down of surfaces, keeping hand sanitizer stations out, adapting the passing of the peace and the collection of the offering in worship, etc.
· We will continue monitoring the local response. The Session plans to meet again after worship on March 22, 2020 and to continue or amend our response then. We are also prepared to make swift decisions based on an email vote, as necessary. And Pastor Erin will closely monitor the need, should it arise, of suspending in-person worship. Pastor Erin will be in contact with both local authorities and the Presbytery and will share their guidance with the Session and the congregation as necessary.
· We will communicate all plans and decisions via the Oak Hill Presbyterian Church website: www.oakhillpcusa.org. Please be sure to check regularly.
We are acting out of caution and care for those most vulnerable around us. With that in mind, church members are encouraged to be aware of needs that arise among and around us. Please check in with your neighbors and church friends. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home. If you are concerned about being in public spaces right now, please make safe choices for your own health.
We will continue sharing our daily Lenten Devotionals online. We will post links to online worship services. And we will remain open to other ways to stay connected and to stay faithful together during this outbreak.
We are taking these precautions out of love and concern, with science and public health as our guides in decision making. At the same time, we remain deeply committed to prayer. I ask that you join me in praying for our community, our country, and our world- for all who are ill, for all who are worried, for our hospitals and medical providers, for leaders making community health decisions, for all who will be impacted financially by closures and work stoppages, for all who don’t have affordable access to health care, for all the unmet needs impacts that we haven’t yet imagined. We know that God loves this world and loves each creature, and we pray for God’s protection, care, and companionship in this difficult time.
If you have questions, concerns, or needs, please do not hesitate to contact the church office at 314-664-5524.