Dear Siblings in Christ,
This is going to be a LOOOOOOOOONG post, so I’ve outlined the points below and you can keep scrolling for all the details. I’ve also highlighted the requests I have for responses, in hopes of drawing your attention to them.
We will NOT be gathering for worship in person for now, starting this Sunday, March 15. More details below
We are going to have an after worship “worship and sermon talk back” via ZOOM. More details below.
Online Giving and Donations More details below
Breakfast will be moving to takeout style. More details below.
Small groups and committees have the option of meeting online or in person for now. More details below
The outbreak of racism against Asian Americans is antithetical to our faith and to our humanity, please do all that you can to counteract it. More details below
The Intersectional Justice book discussion on “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny” is postponed for now, we will let you now about the rescheduling when we know. More details below
Connecting with the pastor and staff. More details below
Connecting with each other. More details below
You will be getting an email with a worship liturgy, scriptures, hymn links, and a sermon link. You’ll get it either Saturday or very early Sunday morning. If you reside with others who can worship with you, great! If not, it will work for one person as well.
What we send this week will likely be imperfect – but the talk back will give us a chance to get feedback and perfect it along the way.
We are going to have an after worship “worship and sermon talk back” via ZOOM.
At 11AM on Sunday, we are going to start a “2nd hour” for worship and sermon talk back. This is going to be done via Zoom. (https://zoom.us) Zoom is a platform for video conferencing, which is also usable for people who simply call in.
If you have a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can download zoom now and test it. I’ll be on starting at 10:30 on Sunday, so that those who are nervous about the connection can get more comfortable with it.
Zoom will likely be the way we do small group and committee meetings for a while, so it is worth investing in figuring out.
In the worship email, the information on how to access Zoom will also be shared. Again, you can simply call into the meeting and be connected by voice, OR you can use the link to access it online. The more of us show our faces, the more fun it will be.
Requests: If you expect to need help accessing Zoom, please respond to the office email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
If you think you can walk someone through accessing Zoom, please respond to the office email email@example.com and let us know.
During this time of change and uncertainty, we know that there are disruptions in many people’s incomes as well as the rest of their lives. If you are unable to give because of your own financial situation, we understand. If you are able to give, but haven’t yet set up online giving, this would be an ideal time to do so. Our secure giving site is: online giving.
We will, of course, still deposit checks, and you are welcome to mail them in.
The church’s expenses used in kin-dom building exist even as we change our mode of operation. Your tithes and gifts remain imperative to the work we do. After passing the budget last week, I know we are committed to maintaining it! Thank you for the many ways you give!
One of the challenges we face right now is to maintain the safety of our community while holding in tension the needs of the vulnerable in our midst. Given that tension, we are going to stop offering a full-serve breakfast in the Fellowship Hall, to minimize contamination concerns. However, we will prepare brown bags with breakfast food in them so that we can feed people who need access to food. Sylvester is working out a plan to get food prepared and distributed, and will need a small team to support him. Please respond to the office email firstname.lastname@example.org or to Sylvester if you want to help.
At this point, large group gatherings seem unwise. It is less clear whether or not there is a risk to small group gatherings if all involved feel healthy. So, for now, small group and committee chairs have the option of continuing to gather in person. If there is a desire to move online instead, Zoom will be made available (see zoom). It is reasonable to assume that even small groups may need to stop meeting in person in the near future.
The decision to change what we are doing this weekend and in the near future was not taken lightly. It was based on information from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and in consultation with church leaders. Our primary concern is slowing down the spread of COVID-19 so that our health care system is not overwhelmed. If we are able to do that, we will significantly decrease mortality rates.
In addition, I have been asked by a professional to remind you all:
- Social distancing really, really matters. Please keep a bubble of 6 feet between you and others when you are public.
- In case you haven’t heard, please wash your hands frequently, with soap, for 20 seconds or more.
- No hugging or kissing people outside your immediate family. (If you were in church this past Sunday you saw that even Mary Ann did her best on this one, thanks Mary Ann!)
- If you have symptoms and need to see a doctor, please call the office first.<
- This is a good time to consider rescheduling any routine medical appointments, to minimize potential exposure. That is, this isn’t a good time to go for a dental cleaning — but obviously someone with a tooth ache should go get that taken care of.
Many sources tell me that racism against Asian Americans is rising in our country, which is an atrocity. This virus does not know the boundaries of race that we use to sort people, and there is no racial or ethnic group in the USA more (or less) likely to be infected than any other. If you choose to go out to eat or get take out, you may want to intentionally consider Chinese food, to counteract the ridiculous actions of those who are not well informed. Similarly, if you are able to support other Asian owned businesses, and/or appropriately reach out to Asian Americans with kindness and support, please do so.
This gathering was scheduled for 10AM on Saturday, it happen work via Zoom or in person in coming weeks. If you have a preference, please let Kevin Nelson, or tell the office email@example.com
Feel free to contact Sara directly via phone, or email. She texts as well as receives phone calls. Please reach out freely.
For now, the office is open and you should be able to reach the staff in normal ways, if that changes we will let you know.
Social distancing is one of the most important ways we can keep each other safe right now. (see social distancing) Yet, one of the hardest parts of social distancing is… well, being apart from others and feeling isolated.
Keeping people connected to each other is one of the PRIMARY roles of the church, so we are working on a plan to keep church members and attenders connected to each other, and in conversation. Information about this will be available early next week. If this particularly excites or interests you, please talk to Pastor Sara, who would be delighted to have conversation partners on this topic, or email the office, firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.