Dear Church Family and Friends,

     We want to give you an update as we approach Christmas in the midst of COVID. After consultation and discussion, The River board and staff want to thank each of you for working with us and with your personal convictions as we maneuver through this pandemic. Some of you have followed us through livestream or recorded services, some remain outside and listen to the service and some venture inside where we keep our seating at a safe social distance and masks on. 

     From what we understand, our current setup is sufficient to keep us from being a “spreader” location. We will continue to meet inside, outside, and online for the foreseeable future. If you do come inside, we ask you to keep your mask on the entire time you are inside. We also ask you to limit restroom use to “emergency” use only and. We ask everyone to go to your seat when you arrive and not to mill around socializing. We also ask you to go outside to socialize after the service, where the fresh air limits the chance of the virus spreading. 

     We do not know of anyone who has gotten COVID from contact at The River, but we have had some who attend test positive. Pastor Tara has a coworker at the hospital who tested positive, so she has been put on quarantine until December 26th. 

     If you are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, we ask you to follow CDC and Worcester County Health Department regulations before attending one of our services in person. 

     We plan on having our regular 9AM service on December 20th and 27th, a candlelight communion service on Christmas Eve at 7AM.

We are making decisions on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis about how we conduct our services and how we continue to make disciples and care for our community, while keeping social distancing.

Please check our website and calendar on a regular basis to stay informed about our services and other activities

We are live-streaming and recording our services, both audio and video, for those who are not comfortable coming to the church for services. We have a bible study and prayer meeting meeting every other week on Zoom and in person.

We have material for adult Sunday School posted online for self study. We are not currently meeting for Sunday School on Sunday mornings. 

Do not live in fear, live informed. You can get updates about the virus from  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at

Follow the Guidelines for Prevention from the CDC.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is why yours truly always carries a handkerchief; yep, I am old school!
  • Carry with you, or in your car, antibacterial hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes and use often.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and quickly discard it.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household disinfectant spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If you contract the virus, follow the guidelines for Treatment of Coronavirus as outlined by the CDC.
  • Stay home, rest, and let your natural immune system do its work.
  • Drink fluids and stay hydrated, and remember good old water is a natural cleansing agent.
  • Wash hands regularly. Keep all living areas clean with household cleaners.
  • Treat the symptoms. If you experience respiratory problems, fever, cough, or other symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

This would be a great time to reach out to vulnerable neighbors and friends to show concern for them (you know the love your neighbor part). Maybe getting groceries or just letting them know you are there for them. There are a lot of people open to prayer.

Paul wrote the the Church in Rome:

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
(Romans 8:15–16, NIV)

Pastor Mark C Massey