CHURCH BUILDING CLOSED: March 22 thru April 29 information on services and Food Banks
CONVID - 19
COVID-19 update for Hope and Woodburn UM Churches
March 13, 2020
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This is an update of plans regarding this week’s activities and how this will effect elements of worship on Sunday morning.
The main thing that we need to do at all times is to do what we can to make sure that when we meet together is to provide an environment that mitigates potential risks to all who gather together in worship and fellowship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is important for us to be aware and take steps to make sure that certain guidelines are followed as suggested by the Allen County Board of Health. We also should be in prayer for each other and those who are having to make difficult decisions in local, state, federal, and world governments.
This is a very fluid situation and further updates will be provided when things change regarding the COVID-19 virus. I encourage you to keep informed through official health organizations like the CDC and the Allen County Board of Health and take appropriate precautions as they may apply to your individual situation. (The latest update from the Allen County Board of Health is attached to this letter)
Follow the following guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control):
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Changes we will be making for worship are:
· Greeters will open doors to minimize touching them
· Greeters and ushers will continue offering you a warm welcome on weekends. We will encourage giving what are called “air high fives” (no physical contact) or elbow bumps. Even if you are not concerned about the transmission of the virus, please be respectful of the concerns others might have.
· We will not be passing the offering plate. One plate will be at the back of the sanctuary to place your offering as you leave.
· We will have communion as usual, but will be using single serving juice/bread elements
Let us remember in these times of uncertainty that God is still on the throne! We do not have to be afraid. We must use wisdom and discernment in our actions, and we do this by knowing the facts. We must communicate words of hope to those who find themselves distressed. These are actually great days to share our faith in Jesus and offer people the hope that only He can provide! “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
Pandemic Preparedness Tips for the Faith Community With the widespread discussion of COVID-19 and a possible pandemic on the horizon, taking time to consider how to plan within your organization to limit the spread of disease is an important topic. During times of crisis, the faith community is where many people turn to for support. How do you continue to offer support and ministry without putting your personnel, leaders and participants at risk? The following are some tips to consider in planning with your congregation: Identify high-risk areas for the possibility of disease transmission. Respiratory infections are generally spread through direct or indirect contact with droplets from coughing or sneezing. The following are some common practices within churches that make transmitting infections easier:
Shaking hands – with greeters and after a service passing the peace
Communion services – especially if a common cup and loaf are used
Children’s nursery and toddler room toys
Sunday school rooms, coffee hour and other socials times
Establish an Emergency Planning Team to develop an emergency plan for the congregation. Delegate responsibility as one person cannot do it all and is not always available. Communicate the plan with the congregation ahead of time.
While planning, identify current activities and risk-level for further disease spread. Some ideas to minimize the risk during common activities include:
Have alcohol-based sanitizer available for use by greeters, the minister and members of the congregation.
Use an alternative for passing the peace, such as bowing with hands together or gently nodding towards each other.
Use individual cups and bread cubes for communion services.
Stock Sunday school rooms with a box of tissues, hand sanitizer and a wastepaper basket. Clean all high-touch areas and sanitize all toys each week.
Encourage single-use plates, cups and utensils when possible.
Urge parishioners who are ill to refrain from attending services.
Encourage members who are ill with cough/sneeze to avoid certain activities during the service where they come into direct contact with other members or common items. Healthy congregations in healthy communities are always the goal of public health and its partners. The faith community is a vital part of the infection-control process. Making minor adjustments to your weekly practices before, during and after worship can have a significant impact on the potential spread of infectious disease throughout your church and the community.