Week Two – Continuing the Church’s ministry of education, care and common sense
Letter #2: This letter was written for the congregation on Saturday, March 21
Dear Members and Friends,
It is now clear that the coronavirus emergency will continue for some weeks. What is not yet clear are all the changes we will each have to make in the course of daily life to adjust to it. In these posts, we want to give you regular updates on adjustments, changes and strategies happening at the church.
In additional to the changes included in last week’s letter, we have made some more.
Here are some more changes around the church building:
- The church building is now closed until May 11, at least, for all meetings of outside user groups. This is in keeping with the CDC’s eight-week recommendation.
- The Annual Quilt Show, the Annual Horse Show, the Run for Coffee and other large events are cancelled until the fall.
- All church group meetings are cancelled or moving to online meetings until May 11, at least.
- The Deacons Just One Can collection bin has been placed outside one of the church doors so they can continue their collection of food for the local foodbank.
- A Letter Drop collection bin has been placed at the bell-tower door so church members may drop off letters, messages, or pledge envelopes. You may also call up to the church office by telephone 410-730-3545 when someone is there and they will come meet you at the door.
- The church staff will be staggering their work-hours in the office to minimize in-person contact. They will be working at home at other times and are still available by phone or email.
- For now, the counselors at the InSpirit Counseling center will continue to meet clients in the church building. There are usually only one or two persons at a time. The counselors will meet you at the door when it’s time for your appointment.
- An enhanced cleaning regimen is in place around the building, in addition to routine cleaning.
- In general, an important strategy is to keep the building as clean as possible by minimizing opportunities for the virus to come inside.
We have made some more changes in worship:
- In-person worship services at the church have been cancelled until the end of April, at least.
- Since this time period will include Holy Week and Easter, we are working to plan online worship experiences for Easter and Holy Week to take the place of in-person gatherings for these important days.
- A small worship-leadership team will gather in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings to livestream an online worship service for each Sunday. Our first foray in this new world was March 15.
We have made some other changes in church life:
- We are working hard on the church website to enhance and expand its usefulness – not only as a place for announcements and news, but as a place to find tools for carrying on with church life.
- We are now cancelling Sunday School classes until May 11, the day after Mother’s Day, and will re-evaluate after that.
- Church committees are encouraged to meet online, using the Church’s ZOOM account instead of meeting in person.
- Wednesday morning Bible Study will meet by Zoom.
- Ruth Circle will meet by Zoom.
- Senior High Youth will meet by Zoom.
- Pastor Sue will conduct an online Zoom meeting on Thursday afternoons for children.
- The pastors and Director of Christian Education will be announcing online “office hours” to meet and chat with them online.
- Some church groups have decided to suspend or cancel their meetings for now.
- Earth Forum has been cancelled until the fall.
When you are considering coming to the church building:
- Please stay home if you are feeling sick.
- Please stay home from church for two weeks if you have been travelling or were exposed.
- Please stay home if you are part of our most vulnerable population.
- Please call the church if you are home and need something!
Some members of our congregation have decided to self-isolate for a few weeks, either because of work requirements to do so, their age, illness, or due to risk conditions in their personal health. If you are staying at home, please let us know so we can keep in touch with you! If you find that you need something and would like someone to bring you a jug of milk, or pick up a prescription for you, or something like that, just let us know! Send an email to Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office.
We continue to pay attention to the overall situation and will make other changes as needed.
Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available from the:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Howard County Health Department Website
- Updates on COVID-19 , by the Howard County Public Schools
Here are a few links from the Presbyterian Church:
- “A Pastoral Statement on Coronavirus/COVID-19” , by the Presbyterian Church (USA)
- “Prayer for wisdom and peace as the coronavirus spreads” , by the Presbyterian Outlook
Other helpful links:
- “Talking to Kids about Coronavirus” , by the Child Mind Institute
- “Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource” , by the National Association of School Psychologists
- Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety , by Harvard Health Blog
As the Body of Christ, we have a special responsibility to treat our congregants and communities with compassion, kindness, and respect.
When we are prepared, we are in a better position to help others.
Yours in Christ,
Morton, Sue, Virginia