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I want to update you as to some changes we are making as we continue to monitor and respond to the spread COVID-19.
As the World Health Organization wrote in a recent communique, this is a time to let “hope be the antidote to fear,” “solidarity be the antidote to blame,” and “our shared humanity by the antidote to our shared threat.” By learning new ways to walk together, and placing our whole lives in God’s hands, we will find a way.
Following Bishop Bonnie Perry’s advice, and, after thorough consultation with my clergy, staff, and lay leaders, we have decided to make alterations and changes in our worship and program life. We do so not to fan the flames of fear, but to implement preventative measures to meet the challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 without completely curtailing our common life and worship:
These changes have been made with precautions we have already put in place. We are washing the tops of the pews after every service, and placing hand sanitizer throughout the church. We are also making sure that all fixtures or items (such as stuffed animals) that could harbor the virus are removed from circulation.
As events unfold, we may need to make other changes as necessary. We believe that we are being prudent, but it is hard to predict the reach and extent of this pandemic. So we ask for your empathy and patience as we try to serve you faithfully, just as we respect your decisions regarding what you feel you are called to do.
Please be sure to exercise your best judgment regarding your own health and safety. Rest assured of our continued love and affection for you no matter what you decide regarding your own participation and attendance.
Please let any of the clergy know if you have questions, concerns, or want to help.
As we take these steps to help keep ourselves safe, let us find new depth in our prayer life. To that end, let me offer the following prayer:
Loving God, we pray for those who are sick and their loved ones, and for those who have died because of this virus.
We pray for those who are oppressed by fear and for those who are losing the income that sustains them.
We pray for all those who offer care and support to those who are sick.
We pray for those in the medical, scientific, research and pharmaceutical communities devoting their time and talent to counteract this pandemic.
We pray for all our elected officials and all those who hold the common trust that their wisdom and compassion will increase.
Finally, we place our unshakeable need in you, our unshakable God.
Be our consolation during these anxiety producing times. Amen.
I am grateful for my clergy, colleagues, and staff who have helped me make these important changes so that we remain connected together in Christ. May our Lord protect us and heal those who are sick as we walk together in faith.