This week I have (as I imagine you have) had numerous letters from business leaders and financial institutions regarding how they are dealing with the Covid-19, or Coronavirus. These letters refer to strengthening their usual precautions, and delve into passing along sound advice on personal prevention strategies. I appreciate knowing the restaurants I dine in, and the stores I shop in are taking seriously their efforts to slow and stop the spread of this virus.
I have been monitoring the advice from the state and federal governments, as well as awaiting word from our own bishop. Bishop Bard sent his communication to me on Thursday. I will continue to monitor guidance from these reliable sources.
We have made the decision to further adjust how we will have our coffee time and the treats we serve. All of the changes have been made with the concern for how we can stem the transmission of any germs. We will also be doing our best to keep our frequently touched surfaces disinfected regularly. To keep our surfaces clean, we will need a group of volunteers to assist with these measures. If you are interested, please contact Charlotte in the office.
I have been informed of other United Methodist Churches who have made the decision to only offer worship services over the internet. Still others are asking church attendees to practice social-distancing, by spreading out in the worship space. We will be practicing the social-distancing strategy this coming Sunday in both worship services. We will adjust as many of our practices to stay as safe as we can. Further, we are also ramping up our ability to share the messages online.
As I write this, it is our plan to gather for worship on Sunday. If that changes, we will reach out via our robo-call system, place a notice on the Facebook page of our church, as well as the church website. If you are not receiving robo-calls from the church, please reach out to the office to be added to our call list. If we are informed by government officials the concern of the spread of the virus warrants us not gathering for worship, we will comply.
While I look forward to seeing each of you in worship on Sunday, I don’t want to endanger anyone’s health. If you are under the weather, I am pleading with you to stay home, and avoid the chance of spreading whatever you have to someone else. If you feel skittish about going out, know I respect your feelings, and know I bless you to use your best wisdom on this matter. If you have a compromised immune system, please stay home.
In January, when I learned of how this virus was spreading so quickly in Wuhan, China, I invited us all to pray for the arresting of the spread, and the return to health for those affected. I renew that invitation with you again. Let’s pray, let’s wash our hands frequently, keep our hands away from our faces, and be the wise, compassionate, gentle, generous, loving people we are called to be.
Grace and Peace,