Updated 11/17: FPCC’s Response to Coronavirus

Update Tuesday, November 17

Contra Costa County has reentered the Purple Tier of Covid restrictions which means we can no longer meet indoors. You can read the full county health order here. Clicking this link will take you to the Contra Costa County Health Department website. With the weather changing and as a precaution to protect everyone’s health, all in-person services at FPCC have been canceled. We will revisit the possibility of reopening when the county moves to a lower tier. Stay safe and continue to join us on YouTube for Sunday worship at 10 AM. Clicking this link will take you to FPCC’s YouTube channel.

Update Wednesday, November 4

This week our in-person service at 10 AM on Sunday moves back into the Sanctuary due to the weather. Please continue to follow these guidelines to keep everyone safe as we move indoors:

  • Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth at all times.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer, Bible, Communion elements, and any other items you need for the service.
  • Maintain a minimum of six feet of distance away from anyone not in your household.
  • Use the sanitizing wipes available in the bathroom to sanitize surfaces after each use; please do not flush these wipes.
  • If you have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, or runny nose within the past 48 hours, please do not attend. You can check your symptoms on the CDC’s website. Clicking this link will take you to the COVID-19 symptoms page of the Center for Disease Control’s website.
  • Temperature checks will be taken at the entrance. You must have a temperature lower than 99° F to enter.

Update Monday, October 19

Our in-person, on-site courtyard service is now at 10 AM on Sundays.

Update Friday, September 25

On Sunday, October 4 we will begin experimenting with an in-person, on-site service in our courtyard at 9 AM. This is a Communion service. The in-person service in the courtyard at 9 AM will feature the same sermon as the recorded Sunday worship service available on YouTube at 10 AM, but with a shorter liturgy and less music. If you prefer a full worship service, please enjoy the recorded Sunday service available on YouTube beginning at 10 AM. Clicking either of these links will take you to FPCC’s YouTube channel. There will not be a fellowship time following the service. If you plan to attend this new in-person service, you must follow these guidelines:

  • Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth at all times.
  • Bring your own chair, hand sanitizer, Bible, Communion elements, and any other items you need for the service.
  • Set up your chair only on a marked spot. Socially distanced spots for chairs will be marked in the courtyard.
  • Maintain a minimum of six feet of distance away from anyone not in your household.
  • Use the sanitizing wipes available in the bathroom to sanitize surfaces after each use; please do not flush these wipes.
  • If you have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, or runny nose within the past 48 hours, please do not attend. You can check your symptoms on the CDC’s website. Clicking this link will take you to the COVID-19 symptoms page of the Center for Disease Control’s website.
  • Temperature checks will be taken at the courtyard entrance. You must have a temperature lower than 99° F to enter.

Thank you for helping to keep everyone safe and healthy as we begin meeting in person once again.

Update Friday, July 10

Given the current rise of COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa County, Session has decided not to reopen for worship at this time, and to revisit this decision in late August or early September. Opening in the immediate future would mean no singing, no unison prayers, and no fellowship – a very minimalist worship experience that may not feel much like church.

Presbytery has brought some liability issues to our attention, and our recent survey of the congregation assured us that the quality of our online worship services is better than the risks associated with reopening too soon. We heard many messages urging us “Don’t rush,” and “Safety is more important than [congregating] while the virus continues to rage.” One respondent summed it up: “We cannot imagine church as it was at this time. When you take away social greeting, singing, and after service coffee hour you might just as well enjoy it from home as we’re doing now.”

As much as we all want to come back and see each other again, it is far more important to keep everyone safe. When we do return to in-person worship, we will take the following precautions:

  • Facility Preparations
    • Hand sanitizing stations in the Narthex.
    • Disinfectant wipes available in all bathrooms.
    • All hymnals, pew Bibles, pencils, friendship pads, other literature, and any other shared items removed from the sanctuary.
    • Signs requiring social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing posted in the Narthex.
    • Every other pew roped off to promote social distancing.
    • Prior to each service, all touch surfaces wiped down with Lysol disinfectant. Touch surfaces include the wood railing on the back of the pews, bathroom counters, faucets, toilets and dispensers, handicap ramp railings, all stair railings inside and outside, and door handles/crash bars.
    • Microphones and stands, music stands, instruments and other items on pulpits and podiums will be wiped down with disinfectant between each use.
    • Windows and doors will be kept open during worship to provide better ventilation and fresh outside air, and to prevent congregants from touching door handles. Air conditioners will be left off as much as practical due to the potential spread of the virus by air-conditioned air.
  • Changes for those who attend:
    • Touch-free temperature and COVID-19 symptom screenings will be required for everyone entering the building.  Anyone with a temperature over 100º or who has experienced COVID-19 symptoms within the last 48 hours will not be allowed to enter.
    • Masks will be required for everyone entering. Extra masks will be available in the Narthex.
  • Changes to our worship services:
    • Services will be shorter than normal at no more than 45 minutes, with at least 15 minutes in between for people to exit and to clean prior to the next service.
    • Attendance is limited to no more than 100 people or 25% of room capacity.  For the sanctuary this would be 75 people.
    • Ushers will wear gloves and will pass out bulletins as people enter.
    • Ushers will discourage people from congregating in the Narthex prior to worship and remind people to maintain distance. After worship ushers will release people row-by-row to exit through the Narthex.
    • We will discontinue congregation group singing, recitation, and other practices where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets. The choir will not sing at worship or rehearsal until a viable vaccine is available and administered to choir members.
    • Children will remain with their parents. No children’s Sunday school will be offered.
    • Ushers will wear gloves to hand out pre-packaged communion elements provided in pre-made self-serve packets containing juice and wafers for Communion Sundays
    • No offering will be taken during worship. The offering plates will be placed in the Narthex near the entrances, and people will be asked to place their offerings in either before or after worship.
  • Changes to coffee hour and fellowship at FPCC
    • There will be no fellowship time either before or after worship. People will be asked to leave immediately after worship.
    • Drinking water fountains in basement and courtyard will be turned off and signs placed informing congregants/visitors they are inoperable.
    • Signs will be posted on bathrooms requiring that only one person use the bathroom at a time unless part of a family unit.
  • Additional protocols
    • A record will be kept of all attendees for a minimum of 14 days and be made available to health officials in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19.

Continue to stay safe and we will continue to worship with you remotely.

Update Tuesday, May 5th

The Contra Costa County Health Department has extended the ordinance requiring all county residents to shelter in place in their homes through Sunday, May 31. You can read the full ordinance here. While the county is relaxing some restrictions regarding outdoor activity, FPCC is continuing our full slate of online programing to keep our church community connected:

  • Pastor Johanna, Rebecca, Darryl, DeVonn, and Lisa will take turns hosting morning prayer videos daily Monday through Saturday on our YouTube channel at 9 AM,
  • Pastor Johanna will live stream a mindfulness service Thursday nights at 8 PM on YouTube and Facebook,
  • Darryl will host Sunday evening praise worship sessions live on Facebook at 7 PM,
  • Sunday morning worship will continue on YouTube at 10 AM on Sundays.

Update Tuesday, April 7th

The Contra Costa County Health Department has extended the ordinance requiring all county residents to shelter in place in their homes through Sunday, May 3. You can read the full ordinance here. In response, FPCC is continuing our full slate of online programing to keep our church community connected:

  • Pastor Johanna, Rebecca, Darryl, and Lisa will take turns hosting morning prayer videos daily Monday through Saturday on our YouTube channel at 9 AM,
  • Periodically Pastor Johanna will also post brief scriptural reflection videos on YouTube,
  • Darryl will host Sunday evening praise worship sessions live on Facebook at 7 PM,
  • Sunday morning worship will continue on YouTube at 10 AM on Sundays.

Update Monday, March 16th

Today the Contra Costa County Health Department issued an ordinance requiring all county residents to shelter in place in their homes beginning midnight tonight and continuing until April 8. You can read the full ordinance here. In response, FPCC is making some changes in the coming weeks to help protect everyone’s health. See the end of this email for a full list of all canceled FPCC programs through April 7.

Join in! New Ways to Participate
FPCC is ready to try some new ways to make sure we stay connected in the coming weeks.

  • Beginning Tuesday, March 17th, Pastor Johanna will host live morning prayers on our YouTube channel at 9 AM. Please send her any prayer requests at pastorjohanna@fpcconcord.org to be included. You can join her in prayer every morning here.
  • Periodically Pastor Johanna will also post short videos with reflections on spiritual disciplines to help us through this strange time. Find the first video here to find out what Pastor Johanna is binge-watching! Future videos will be available on our YouTube channel.
  • Online Sunday services will continue! Pastor Johanna will continue to live stream her sermons on our YouTube channel Sundays at 10 AM.

Stay Connected! Let’s Not Lose Touch
The church office will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through Tuesday, April 7 and will not be receiving any voicemails. But we still want to hear from you!

  • You can still email the office at fpcc@fpcconcord.org. This email will be checked daily Monday through Friday.
  • Feel free to call Pastor Johanna (574-933-4243) or Rebecca Chase (858-805-5874) with any needs or just to let us know how you’re doing. You can also email them at pastorjohanna@fpcconcord or rebeccac@fpcconcord.org.
  • Be sure to email Pastor Johanna with any prayer requests for her daily prayer video at pastorjohanna@fpcconcord.org.
  • If you need any assistance (grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, etc.), please contact your deacon. Deacons, if you need help fulfilling these needs, please email church staff at fpcc@fpcconcord.org.

Our church and all other non-profits still rely on regular giving to keep things running even as we won’t be gathering in person. Consider giving from home with Zelle, the safe online giving app that partners with your bank. Sign up through your bank’s mobile app and select FPCCZelle@fpcconcord.org.

The following FPCC events have been canceled through April 7th:

  • Men’s Bible Study at Digger’s Diner on Tuesday mornings
  • All musical rehearsals (choir, praise band, and The Flock)
  • The Wednesday night small group with dinner at church
  • Theology on Tap
  • Mission Sewing Group on Thursday mornings
  • The Prayer Walk on Saturday, March 21
  • The Gathering on Saturday nights
  • Sunday morning worship service, fellowship time, and adult Sunday school (Please note: Pastor Johanna will live stream Sunday sermons on YouTube at 10 AM on Sundays)
  • The Clayton Small Group on Monday nights
  • The Clean Start Laundry program on Saturday, March 28
  • The Wednesday afternoon Bible Study at church with LaVerne Herren
  • Circle 4’s April meeting
  • First Friday’s April meeting
  • The Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast

We look forward to rescheduling many of these events when we can. Even though we may not see each other very much for a few weeks, your church family loves you and we will continue to hold each other in prayer.


Original post from Tuesday, March 11th

The Contra Costa County Health Department has declared a county-wide state of emergency in response to the local spread of coronavirus. You can read their statement and guidance for social distancing here.

At FPCC we are taking the situation seriously, but we don’t believe that there is cause for alarm. We will continue to have our worship service this Sunday, March 15 as well as the Farewell Reception for Susan Soehner during the Fellowship Time.

However, we will be making some changes to help protect everyone’s health, and we encourage anyone with a compromised immune system or underlying health situation, anyone classified as part of a vulnerable population, or anyone not feeling well to please stay home.

If you choose to stay home on Sunday morning–good news! 
First Presbyterian Church Concord has our own YouTube channel!
You can now live stream our services any time you can’t make it to church. Plus, you can also find past services here, so if you’ve missed one, this is the place to find it. Click the purple button below to go directly to our channel. When you see the welcome message from Pastor Johanna, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

You can also give to FPCC online!
Participate in the weekly offering while watching the service from home with Zelle, the safe online giving app that partners with your bank. Sign up through your bank’s mobile app or by clicking the button below and select FPCCZelle@fpcconcord.org.

If you choose to join us on Sunday morning, here’s what to expect: 

  • We will be practicing “social distancing” as advised by the county: spread out and plan to sit at least 6 feet away from each other, and refrain from handshakes and hugs, use elbow bumps or waves instead.
  • We will not be passing collection plates down the aisles to collect the offering during the service. Instead, collection plates will be available in the narthex, or you may give online with Zelle.
  • We will not be passing the peace during the worship service to prevent physical contact. We encourage you to share the peace of Christ with each other through a wave or a nod.
  • Hand sanitizer and tissues will be available in the narthex.