(sent via email to the congregation Friday, March 13, 2020)
St. Paul and Covid-19
Like you, I have been watching closely, listening carefully, washing my hands frequently and trying to exercise good judgment as we experience the impact of covid-19.
In leadership there is always a tightrope to walk when dealing with a crisis between over-reacting and not responding enough. In relation to both the spread of the virus and the emotional distress it is stirring within our communities, country and world – it becomes even more important to make clear distinctions between what we have control of and what is beyond our reach. In the midst of both a growing panic by some and a dismissive attitude by others – as the church we have an opportunity to be both a source of calm and attentiveness.
I’ll be the first to admit that what is now being called a pandemic by the World Health Organization that this is new territory for most of us. We are witnessing cancelations of events and large gatherings on what feels like an unprecedented scale – and the impact grows larger by what feels like the hour, not just the day or week. Last Sunday seems like a very long time ago when it comes to covid-19.
That being said I have been giving this a lot of thought – and it seems we are probably
closer to “when” not “if” cancellations become a part our church activities also. I’m not sure we are there quite yet as if the time I am composing this communication, but as we have seen things can change quickly.
As of Friday morning, we still plan to hold both worship services Sunday morning 3/15 at 8:30 & 10:45 and learning hour at 9:30.
Exercise caution and good judgment.
-If you are not feeling well please stay home and tell somebody.
-Let’s eliminate hand shaking and hugging completely – we did this with the peace last week in creative ways, let’s get in the habit of doing it all the time (this is hard for me I will admit so I will need some encouragement).
-Wash your hands when you get to church thoroughly, before entering the sanctuary.
-It will become good practice to spread out in the sanctuary more than normal too. I understand most people believe we have assigned seats, but we have plenty to go around to leave some gaps between us.
-After experiencing last Sunday, having a few conversations and seeking some feedback – we’ll have a few other ‘procedures’ that I’m still working on to curtail contact – but we will have communion and healing prayers as planned.
-With growing calls for social distancing, Tammie and I are working on creating a system of span of control so as a church we can keep track of each other and provide care where it is needed better than ever before.
Things keep changing rapidly.
As this growing crisis evolves over the next days, weeks and potentially longer – the absolute BEST THING YOU CAN DO – is keep try to keep your composure.
Fear spreads fear. Panic spreads panic. Worry spreads worry. But calm also spreads calm. Try to be the calmest and most collected person in the room wherever you are and whoever you are with and we will not only get through whatever it is we are going to face together – we are also going to do some incredible ministry with people – which of course is why we are church in the first place. 🙂
I’ll leave you with the words of St. Paul to the church in Rome, which seem to me to speak boldly in these days:
“Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out.” (Romans 15:1-3 The Message)
Hope to see you Sunday.