Counting Our Blessings & Loving One Another

Counting Our Blessings & Loving One Another

Dear HLPC family,

I’m so encouraged that we continue to be able to meet as God’s people for worship each Lord’s Day.  In some states, churches are finding it increasingly difficult to gather as they face greater restriction—some of which has been determined to be excessive, as a recent Supreme Court decision illustrated.  Thankfully, the Court ruled on the side of religious freedom.  We thank God for what we are able to enjoy together here at HLPC.

That said, we don’t want to let our guard down during the cold and flu season.  COVID-19 is a contagious illness, and we want to continue to be careful.  Our desire is to have safe, common sense practices each Sunday.  It’s been our goal all along to provide a safe and comfortable environment for as many who wish to come and worship.

I want to give you some reminders on the protocols we are trying to implement each Lord’s Day.  Some may think them too stringent, others too lax.  Please keep in mind what our ultimate goal is: to gather together so that we can “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).  Please ask the Lord that He would give us all gracious attitudes toward fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and that He would continue to protect our worship gatherings.  Our forgoing of personal preference in some area may be the way we are being called to love our fellow believers here at HLPC.  It’s a very sad commentary on the state of the Church that in some places sincere efforts to meet safely have been met with criticism and division.

Here are the HLPC protocols developed by our Task Force and approved by the Session:

  • Please maximize space in the sanctuary.  We need to fan out and use all four sections of the sanctuary to do this.   Please keep a 3-seat distance between family units.
  • We acknowledge that masks are a controversial issue, and we want to stress grace in the area of masks.  At this time, if a distance of 6 feet can be maintained, it is not mandated that masks be worn. We ask that you bring a mask, or one the church provides, and wear it when social distancing cannot be maintained and while we are singing, if singing louder than a speaking voice.  We have “mask only” rows in the back of our sanctuary, in addition to a “mask optional” section.  Please wear a mask if you are seated in the “mask only” rows.   Also, we are using the Fellowship hall for extra room and for families who wish to give children some extra space to move around. 
  • We ask that parents accompany their young children to the bathroom. Be mindful of CDC guidelines for handwashing as well! We have three hand sanitizing stations in our church foyer for your use.
  • When the church service is over, we will dismiss row by row out of the facility.
  • Also, if you are over 65 and/or have an underlying health condition you should feel free to worship via the livestream.
  • We ask that anyone who is displaying any type of symptoms please stay home (cough, fever, congestion, sore throat, shortness of breath). This is the most important thing we can stress at this time.

Thank you for your grace and patience.  May God continue His good work in us here at HLPC!

Your Pastor,


Paul Bankson

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).