General News

Staying Connected, Helping Others

April 7, 2020

How the church can help you—and how you can help the church.

How Can I Help?

This is the question our pastors hear most often. We are deeply grateful for your selfless generosity during this time. There are several things you can do. Read about the opportunities below, then complete the Staying Connected form to let us know how you can help. You may also contact us at [email protected].

Assisting Fellow Members

There are a number of ways you can help serve fellow members in need. You can assist our Deacons and Circle of Caregiving volunteers in making pastoral phone calls to elderly members, members who are sick or infirm, and members we cannot reach by email. Many members also need help completing and submitting their U.S Census data, and handling essential errands. If you have technology skills, some members need help with applications like Zoom and FaceTime that can connect them with family and friends.

Meals on Heels

This 34-year-old ministry continues its mission to prepare and deliver a hot nutritious meal to homebound seniors every Saturday. We have advised our volunteers and those receiving the meals to follow government guidelines on sanitation and social distancing. Read more about our COVID-19 precautions here. Deliverers are needed now more than ever. Please sign up in advance by contacting John Wyatt at [email protected].


The elderly and our neighbors living on the streets are particularly vulnerable during this time. You can be a voice for them, by contacting national, state and local officials to appeal for increased public services during the pandemic.

Coordinating with Other Volunteer Programs

Many congregations and nonprofits still have active volunteer programs going. If you can help us identify these opportunities in your neighborhood, we can make our Fifth Avenue volunteers of these additional opportunities to serve.

Connecting with the Church

Asking for Help

We may be limited to phone calls, emails and texts, but the church is here for you. If you want to speak with a pastor, if you need help with essential errands, if you are in need of food or shelter, please let us know. You can complete the Staying Connected form to tell us specifically what help you need. All information will be held in confidence. You can also contact the Congregational Care office ([email protected]) or call the church at 212.247.0490 and leave a message for the pastor on call.

Congregational Emails

Every week, you can expect an email on Tuesday morning with the latest church news, links to online ministries and information about how you can be of help. On Friday morning, you will continue to receive a pastoral message in anticipation of Sunday worship. On Sunday morning, look for an email with links to the latest worship video and family worship video. The Sunday email also will include the church prayer list, news of the faithful departed, and Joys & Concerns from members of the congregation. If you already receive the Friday emails, you are on the list to receive the Tuesday and Sunday emails as well. To subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) any of our emails, click here.

Family Ministries on Zoom

Family Ministries has changed its online offerings. Instead of midweek Family Gatherings, we’re offering Parents Community Group (Zooming on Sunday mornings at 9) and Mom’s Bible Study (Wednesday mornings at 8). Youth Group continues to gather online with the Rev. Werner Ramirez on Thursday and Sunday afternoons. Email [email protected] to get connected with any of these online events!

Online Worship & Other Events

Online Worship

Each week we create two worship videos—a service featuring our pastors and musicians, and Family Worship at Home, from our Christian Education director, Jaime Staehle. We send an email with links to both videos on Sunday morning. You can access them directly on our YouTube channel and on our homepage. Video services also are planned for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. You will receive emails as soon as these services are available for viewing.

Brahms Requiem: The Lenten Concert

Thanks to all who participated in the online premiere on Facebook and YouTube on Friday evening! The full concert is available for you to watch again and again. It is an excellent companion to Holy Week. Here’s the downloadable program, and Ryan’s article on the history of Brahms’ masterwork. 

Lenten Spiritual Practices

As we enter Holy Week, consider how spiritual practice can deepen your preparation for Easter. We now have four offerings online:

The Stations of the Cross. Follow the Way of the Cross at your own pace, accompanied by the artwork of Laura Fissinger and Laura James, along with words of Scripture and prayer.

The Spiritual Practice of Chanting. Experience the divine through words and music, accompanied by Ryan Jackson, director of Music & Fine Arts Ministries.

Meditation with Charlene. A guided meditation exercise led by Executive Pastor Charlene Han Powell.

Writing to God. Associate Pastor Kate Dunn teaches us how paper and pen can draw us nearer to God.

CREDO: Four Christian Mystics

This year our popular Adult Education series, CREDO: Essentials of Christian Theology, explores the Christian spiritual tradition through the lives of four mystical teachers. The series began on Sunday, March 8, with Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston’s class on Hildegard von Bingen. Three remaining classes—Werner Ramirez on Julian of Norwich, Charlene Han Powell on Teresa of Ávila, and Kate Dunn on Thérèse of Lisieux—have been postponed until after Easter. Watch for details on these online classes coming up this spring.

If you need pastoral assistance, email us at congregat[email protected]. We're here for you.