March 13, 2020
Dear Peace Church Community,
We are learning as we go, in this time of rapidly changing public health with COVID-19. Anxiety and uncertainty are a natural part of the situation for many people. We hope to practice caring, proactive response that looks out for the health and well-being of all people.
Worship: Following guidance from the Governor’s Office that came out yesterday (3/12/20, available here) and Oregon Health Authority, we will suspend in-person worship until we receive new guidelines regarding safe gatherings.
However, we can still be community together! In fact, this is a vital time to actively remember that we are the body of Christ together– the vigorous, vulnerable, resilient, breathing body of Christ. Loving one another through social distancing (as Liz Swenson puts it) offers opportunity for creative Lenten reflection and practice.
Starting Sunday, March 15th, we will experiment with interactive online worship using Zoom video conferencing. If you are not on our email list and would like a link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The board and I will keep the congregation updated about upcoming events on a case-by-case basis.
Congregational Care: I am here for you. In this changing time, we are still figuring out what it means to care for one another. I will host at least one mid-week Zoom check-in to stay connected as a community. If you experience social or economic distress from the fallout of the COVID outbreak, please contact me or a deacon for support. Check in on one another. If you test positive for the novel coronavirus, or become exposed to it, please let us know right away.
Community Care: If you are healthy, look out for neighbors and friends who might be vulnerable to illness or other ill effects (unemployment, family hardship, houselessness, and so on). Pray for and check in with health care workers in this stressful time.
It is so important to continue our spiritual practices, stay calm, use common sense measures (wash hands, don’t touch face), and practice social responsibility. Now more than ever, if you have opportunity to advocate for affordable, equitable health care, let’s commit to doing so together. Let’s also commit to decreasing the spread of misinformation, xenophobia, and prejudices. Stay tuned for more info on how Peace Church might organize around these and other opportunities for personal and systemic action.
More and more information is coming out about the importance of social distancing for slowing the spread of the virus. [Social distancing means avoiding crowded public places, maintaining distance between people, etc, to avoid catching or spreading a disease]. Slowing the spread is our best hope to ensure those who need serious medical care will receive it and to avoid completely overtaxing our medical resources and health workers.
Although this is a difficult, uncertain time, we will remain adaptable, together. Let us come together strongly, spiritually, even as we take a break from gathering physically. May the God of wholeness, justice, and creative loving comfort and empower you.
With you in the body of Christ,