March 19, 2020



“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that

you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

III John 1


Dear Friends,


            Over the years I have tried to give up something for Lent as a way of remembering that God alone is my source of strength, sustenance, and hope.  I’ve given up chocolate and deserts and fasted a day a week.  I even tried giving up television for Lent once…once. (That didn’t turn out so well.  I lasted for about six hours, as I recall!) This year, for the rest of Lent, I am giving up going to worship on Sunday and I invite you to do the same. Hopefully never happen again, but it is the case for us this year.

            Our session has decided that we will not meet physically for worship at the next three Sundays.  We hope to be able to worship again on Easter (April 12), but this is not certain.   No committees or groups will be meeting at the church building until further notice.  Office hours will be limited to a bare minimum.

            Thankfully, the church isn’t the building.  It is the people.  It is you.  So, we will be the church in other ways:

We will still worship together each Sunday at 10:30 AM via Facebook Live Streaming. You can go to the church’s Facebook page to connect to the service and we’d love to hear from you as you do.  An “Order of Service” with music and lyrics for you to follow and sing along will be posted ahead of time.  Beyond Facebook, efforts are being made to put each service on the church webpage.  I understand that this cannot meet everyone’s needs, but it’s the best we can do for now.

Additionally, look for regular – if not daily – Facebook posts to encourage and inspire you.  Jane will sing a hymn or solo a couple days a week for us. Cindy Carlson will be offering her talents as well.  Donna Banks is preparing a children’s lesson and Youth devotional for each week.  I will lead a devotional prayer time each Wednesday evening.  We might even rope you and your family into helping as well!

            We need your help during this time.  Your involvement is crucial. Please keep me apprised of prayer concerns and pastoral needs. My cell phone number is (814) 460-3123. I’m here for you 24/7/365! I will be doing my best to check in with all of you.

            Your session is also asking that you continue to generously support the church financially. This is a critical need. The loss of at least three Sunday offerings it going to be a serious challenge for us. If you usually give your pledge in August, on Erie Gives Day, the session is asking you this year to give now instead.   As a cost-cutting measure, staff hours and pay have been cut for the next two weeks along with other budget items. There will be no non-essential spending at all.  We are tightening our belts as tight as possible! 

There are three easy ways to give at this time: 1. You can send in your financial support via the mail.  2. You can contact the church office about setting up a direct deposit from your bank account to the church.  Many of you have done this already. Thank you!  3. There is also a smart phone app which makes giving simple.  You can download “Give Plus Mobile”.  It takes about five minutes to set up your account and connect with the church.

Beloved, we have on our hands a Lenten season like no other, so, let’s make it a Lenten season like no other in the best ways possible. Pray.  Call on others.  Read scripture.  Draw close to the Lord and one another, and God bless you as you do so!


“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear…”


Psalm 46:1,2a


In Christ, 

Pastor Gregg D. Townsend






"Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the mission of the First Presbyterian Church of North East, Pennsylvania, is to know, love and follow Jesus Christ through prayer, study, worship, fellowship, and service."


We’re glad that you’ve found our website. First Presbyterian Church of North East, Pennsylvania is the oldest church in Erie County. We have been faithfully serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ since 1801. As you will see from examining this site we are an active congregation that worships, studies, and serves together. We are committed to caring and praying for one another, our community, and our world.

Our mission is Christ’s great commission to the whole church: to “Go…and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

If you would like further information about our church or about the North East Preschool, do not hesitate to send us an email or give us a call.

May God bless you!

Pastor Gregg D. Townsend