COVID-19 — TLC Update
It is my prayer that you will have the peace of Christ deep in your hearts in these days of uncertainty.
Last week, we sent out an update regarding our response as a church community to the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, so much has developed on the issue, even just in a matter of days. We continue to seeks ways to walk in wisdom and prudence without being alarmist or raising undue anxiety.
Information as of yesterday from the website of the Colorado Dept of Public Health, there were 49 cases in Colorado (including indeterminate cases treated as positive). 10 of those were in Denver county. We want to take the situation seriously and walk carefully, while not spreading panic. We continue to consult updates and guidance from the CDC as well as the state and local health authorities. Our diocese has also communicated very good and helpful direction for our churches which will take into consideration the situation in the general local area.
Below are some updates and response guidelines to help us as a church community. I will continue to provide weekly updates specific to the coronavirus situation and with regard to our response as a church family.
We will still meet for worship this coming Sunday (March 15). The Vestry will meet next week to assess the situation, evaluate risk and agree on the best action plan for the weeks ahead.
As we meet this Sunday, below are some guidelines to help us reduce risk and respond sensitively to the situation and with each other’s safety in mind.
- Christian Education for all ages this Sunday is now canceled. We will only meet for the regular services this coming Sunday (8:15 and 10:45).
- There continues to be hand sanitizer in visible and accessible places in the sanctuary. You are encouraged to use them or bring your own.
- At the Passing of the Peace, we will avoid body contact (hugs and handshakes). Eye contact and a wave of the hand while passing the peace (for a shortened time) is good for this time.
- The offering plates will not be passed hand to hand up and down the rows. We will plan on having offering baskets at points in the sanctuary where you can drop your offering, the specifics of which will be announced on Sunday.
- Communion! As has become the practice, all Communion ministers (Bread and Cup) will sanitize their hands shortly before serving. When you come to receive bread (wafer), please hold your hand open – posture of receiving as opposed to posture of taking. This will reduce the possibility of hand contact during that time. Rather than a single chalice, we will have individual, disposable cups on Sunday. This will allow everyone to receive the wine with the tiny, individual cups and dispose of them.
- We encourage our members who are sick or have shown symptoms of sickness to stay home until they have seen their doctors and feel better.
- We encourage our own who are elderly and/or have a compromised immune health condition to remain home and take good care of themselves. We will be in prayers for you.
Please use wisdom and prudence and we navigate the days ahead. If you are able to attend the service on Sunday, and it is reasonable for you to do so, please join us for that time of worship – at least, while we still can do so. We will be weighing web streaming options.
I want to close with the reminder that the fear of the moment should not overcome the faith of all time. We are adjusting to the times, yet our faith and hope remain attuned to the Lord. We are called to walk in wisdom, yet never forgetting the God who calls us, and who remains present in the affairs of this world. I invite our prayers for each other, our nation and the world at this time of immense panic and uncertainty.
I pray that even times of physical isolation would not result in a deeper sense of aloneness. Whatever happens in the weeks ahead, may we know the deep presence of the One who never leaves us alone, and be reassured of the love and commitment we have with each other as a church community. These times may serve as our reminder to pray for our shut-ins and others who have had to deal with isolation over extended periods in everyday life.
Let us commit to praying for each other, looking out for one another and our neighbors in love and support as may be needed in the weeks ahead, take good care of ourselves, and stay strong in the faith to which we have been called by our Redeemer.
[We] will lift up [our] eyes to the hills, from where does [our] help come. [Our] help comes from the Lord who made heaven and the earth. (Psalm 121:1)