Updates from pastor tarr and other staff


Here is an update since the letter I wrote to you on March 14th in light of the “Shelter-in-Place” order from the 6 counties in the Bay Area.

Note: I’ve included the original letter below since not everyone in our fellowship has an email account or uses social media, (which is how the original letter was sent) and I want to make sure everyone is informed who calls CPC “home.”

Dear Friends and Members of Centerville Presbyterian Church,

In troubling times of uncertainty and change, there is great comfort and wisdom found in the Scriptures, especially from the Psalms. Here’s one of my favorites from Psalm 130: 5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” And from the Gospel of John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

With the spreading of the coronavirus world-wide, and yesterday’s order directing nearly everyone to stay at home, or stop working, unless they are providing an essential service, our community is understandably in a state of fear and uncertainty. However, for CPC, this should be seen as a great opportunity for ministry rather than a crisis to be feared. This should be a time to reach inward to serve our congregation in new ways. This should be a time to reach outward to serve our community in new one-to-one ways while observing all the precautions of social distancing and practicing healthy protocols. It’s amazing what ministry can be accomplished using our phones and the internet.

Here’s what you need to know: 

1. As of yesterday afternoon, the campus is closed and in a paused mode. Only occasionally a skeleton crew will be in the office for minimal assignments and only to receive mail and deliveries, to ensure the security systems are in place, and to conduct emergency business. 

2. All staff members have been encouraged to work from home via the telephone and internet. 

3. Assignments have been made with staff to mobilize via on-line and telephone to connect and serve our congregation. For example, deacons and elders will be assigned to shepherd and stay in touch with members of the entire congregation – to make sure basic needs are being met and to provide prayer and spiritual support as needed or requested. 

4. The church’s webpage, cpcfremont.org, is being updated and by this Sunday a brief homily will be provided to view and listen to on-line. 

5. Daily devotions are available on the website and also by calling the church telephone number 510-793-3575 ext. 12. 

6. If you are in need of prayer or wish to leave a prayer request for someone else, a prayer hotline is available by calling: 510-793-3575 ext. 19 and leave a message or you may submit a prayer request on our website. Your pastors and staff will be checking for messages throughout the day. 

7. The Children’s Ministry team will be posting material on the website regularly for families, including some activity ideas. 

8. The Youth Ministry has postponed all on-campus meetings and events during the “Pause” and will continue to meet virtually via the internet and social media. 

9. If you need to reach a staff member, please dial their extension number and leave a message with your full name and number. 

10. To get future updates during this time, please call 510-793-3575 or visit our website at: CPCFremont.org.

Hebrews reminds us that in difficult times we can “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”

I can’t wait to “meet” with you. Take heart, dear friends, God is with us!

Pastor Dennis L. Tarr

March 14

Dear Friends and Members of Centerville Presbyterian Church,


We are living in volatile days.  Our world and nation are in a crisis mode while we work together to slow and shrink the spread of COVID-19.


Please know your Session and Staff are prayerfully and actively taking steps to ensure the physical well-being of our church family as well as the many groups who meet here and the sister congregations who worship on our campus.


In order to communicate thoroughly with our membership, some of whom do not use email or social media, and for all the other groups and congregations, your Session has made the following decisions for the coming weeks:


Sunday, March 15th

We will gather to worship at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.  There will be no Vesper Service at 5:00 p.m.  Instructions will be given as persons arrive to use hand sanitizers, to refrain from touching, to practice social distancing, and to consider returning home if anyone is feeling sick.


A major effort will be made at each service (and to the other congregations) to communicate with everyone who comes, that: the campus will be on a pause schedule beginning Monday, March 16th and for the following two weeks or longer.


That means all on-campus programs, meetings, committees and special events will not meet for two weeks or until further notice.  The only exception is the Centerville Free Dining Room where the volunteers are already trained and actively following healthy safety standards to protect themselves and the diners.  Box lunches will be provided to be eaten off campus.



Sunday, March 22nd, and Sunday, March 29th 

There will be no public services of worship on these Sundays.  The campus will be on pause.  The previously scheduled Combined Service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 29th, will be postponed until further notice.  


However, your staff will be making a major effort to provide brief on-line streaming services of worship via our website on those two Sundays.  We will provide more information to you once these plans are completed.               


We know this crisis is challenging our emotional well-being as well as our health.  Our balance and stability are thrown off.  This emergency is also challenging our time and sense of security.  There is a temptation to give in to fear and panic.  By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ let us pray for one another and refuse to allow anxiety to take over.


We also recognize that our economic well-being is being threatened including that of our businesses and family livelihoods.  Church giving may be down for a while.  For those of us who have the will and ability, I hope we can give more during this time when others may not be able to give at all.


How Can We Help You?

We are here to come alongside you with Christ’s compassion and grace so that we may all experience his transforming love and healing as we go through this together.  If you would like someone to pray with you over the phone and offer encouragement, or if you need additional resources over these next few weeks, please reach out so we can support you.


Ways to Help Each Other

Pray that good things will come out of this unusual season.  God is still at work.  Pray for those impacted by the virus, as well as their families and loved ones.


Engage Online with our church family.   Our deacons are part of God’s angel armies who are ready to serve you and to pray for you.


Be a Blessing by giving online or by mail.  We have made a commitment to our staff and missionaries to continue paying them without interruption during this time to do ministry in our community and in the world.


Extend Care to at least one other person this week who is experiencing isolation or fear -- that they may experience the presence of the Lord.


Centerville Presbyterian Church, you are an awesome congregation.  You have a long history of rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to care for each other and our community.  This is such a time as this.


Finally, receive this blessing from the book of Romans, chapter 15:13:


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


Grace and Peace,


Pastor Dennis L. Tarr

Transitional Senior Pastor

14 March 2020