600 Ridgewood Road Maplewood, NJ. 07040 Online Sunday Worship Available on YouTube at 7 a.m.

Letters from Pastor Janice

Letter 3 – Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Grace and peace to you all,

As we read about the first case of COVID-19 in Maplewood and others in the surrounding towns, we pray to be wise and patient in these days.  We pray for all God’s people, the elderly, those compromised, health care workers, and of course, the children.

 Thank you for all the notes by text, by email, and on Facebook to Brenda and Holland and me.  The positive feedback about the worship service video has been wonderful!  You can watch anytime and share it with your friends!  
You will be invited to watch online again next Sunday, March 22.

And guess what?  I just paid my tithe online. Rob paid his too and it was really easy.  I feel so relieved to know that there is a way to fund God’s work while we are physically distancing – and saving lives. I am so grateful to know that Morrow finances will be ok. 

Here’s what’s new:
DAILY CALL TO PRAYER.  We are hoping to have Morrow’s church bell ring daily at 12 noon and at 6 p.m.  We are inviting anyone with a key fob for the building to volunteer. (Watch for an email.)  We want to remind the community to stop and pray, and to always remember that God is with us.  Set your alarms. And listen and pray.

There will be no in person Contemplative Services this week in the Chapel but you will have an opportunity to experience Contemplative Worship online.  Be still, cultivate silence, and hear the voice of God.  Here’s the link to our YouTube channel. Live at 8:00 p.m.

It is important to note that only recovery groups and Feeding Ministries will continue meeting in the building. Morrow staff will be working from home this week. 

These few days have been so very interesting.  We are learning so much about the technology that we have and never have time to explore. Even Dr. Holland said he was learning a lot and I thought he knew everything!  So, as we pray for the world, the sick, the care providers, and the decision-makers, there are glimmers of hope:  increased sensitivity and attending, getting the church out of the stone age, being energized in new ways, and maybe even growing in our viewership. We already have 300 viewers this week! How about that.   

I also wanted you to know that we are snail-mailing these letters to those who are not electronically connected. Last week we telephoned 250 homes to include them too. 

Know that you are loved. And keep the needs and feedback coming.

Blessed to be together in ministry,

Pastor Janice


973.512.8820 (texts and emergencies)

Letter 2 – Friday, March 13, 2020

Faithful Friends,

Your well-being is on my heart and mind and spirit. You are being prayed for by your pastors.  In my first letter, I mentioned that I would follow state and community guidelines.  You can read Maplewood’s decision here:


Since this morning, SOMA schools have closed for the next 2 weeks.  The church will take it one day at at time.  However, for this week, March 15, we will be holding WORSHIP ONLINE ONLY.  The building will be closed.  

Please know that if you or a family member are sick, members of the church are willing to shop and leave groceries on your porch.  If you would like to pray together, please call your pastors, 973.763.7676 and leave a message on ext. 15. Your calls will be returned in a very timely manner. 

I hope you will watch the service and pray for the world. This week, in the midst of these circumstances, and Women’s History Month, we can hear the story of the Samaritan woman -and realize the radical wisdom and compassion of Jesus -for all of us.  Even now.  

Especially now.

You will be very happy to know that the school district will be using Morrow’s MacDonald Hall for food collection and prep for families in need. 

For families who are at home, please watch Pastor Brenda’s awesome children’s message, and check out these cool ideas for entertaining the young ones.  https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/life/2020/03/12/home-due-coronavirus-10-creative-ways-keep-kids-teens-busy-and-engaged/5015221002/

You can give online here:

PLEASE stay healthy and use this time to pause. This is a unique moment in time. It is holy in that we really are attending the needs of others first.

Our Preschool is closed until April 3rd.  

Please watch for more info and know how you are loved.
Pastor Janice

Letter 1 – Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Faithful Friends, 
These are trying times and so we seek to live with wisdom, in love, and without fear.  I did want to let you know where we are as a church and share some resources with you in the midst of the spread the Coronavirus. Your church leadership is in prayer, and in conversation, about how to proceed with our work in the most responsible manner.
Maplewood released the following:  “As of this weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advise that seniors over the age of 60 years and those with underlying health conditions should avoid crowds and public spaces. For example, if you need to go to the grocery store, try and go when there will be less crowds and wipe the handlebars of the shopping cart. Wash your hands after being in public spaces. “
Each state declares their own states of emergency and we will follow New Jersey’s lead. Right now  “self isolation” for those who have traveled to/from an impacted areas, or who have sought treatment from a medical care facility with symptoms including a fever, dry cough and headache for up to 14 days.”

For now, Morrow Church has made the following decisions:   

We are not passing the peace.
   We will refrain from serving any food or drinks at coffee hour.
   We will not be sharing a common communion cup.
   Your communion team has already decided to serve small cups for communion.

   We have been sanitizing surfaces regularly and well.
   If you fit the criteria of being susceptible, please stay home. No one should risk     
   their health to come to church.

   Sermons are available online every week. We are working on including music for   
   your spirit. Your viewership and prayers for the church and the world are needed 
   and encouraged.

More helpful information from the community:  If you take medications on a regular basis, make sure you have an ample supply in the event you cannot get out of the house.  Have your doctor’s phone number handy, and if you are not feeling well CALL first for instructions before going to the doctor.  When people come to visit you, ask them to kindly wash their hands when they enter. It is always a safe precaution.  Get a flu shot. While the flu shot does not prevent coronavirus, it can help protect your immune system and keep you healthy during this time. Maplewood Public Health Division has free flu vaccine for adult residents. 

a) Cover your cough (or your sneeze) with the elbow of your sleeve or with a tissue and throw it away, 
b) Wash your hands for 20 seconds. It is the soap and rubbing action under water that removes the germs, 
c) Use a paper towel to open the door if you are in a public space or use hand sanitizer, 
d) Wash your hands every time after being in a public space, 
e) Stay home if you are sick, 
f) Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.

You can see more and read more here:https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/should-i-avoid-crowds-because-coronavirus/607420/
If you have any questions, please call the 24 hour state hotline for coronavirus: (800) 222-1222.
See excellent visuals here:https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/facts-about-novel-coronavirus-and-how-to-prevent-covid-19/
We will continue to keep you informed. 

Know that you are cared for and prayed for and loved.
Blessed to be together in ministry,

pastor janice