Corona Virus or COVID-19: Response
“Have peace.” This is what Jesus says over and over again in the New Testament when something profound is revealed. This seems to me to be more than simply, “Have faith.”
Faith is trust or “belief in things not seen.” Faith is part of this, but the more difficult discipline is to have peace when everyone else is panicking.
This is also not a time to be foolish or unkind.
The foolish response would be to hoard goods or simply go around ignoring the basic hygiene advice that will really be our best defense against this novel virus.
It looks like soap and alcohol based disinfectants are our super weapons. And, avoid touching your face and unnecessary contact with large groups of people.
At this point, we do not know of cases directly in our community. The reaction around the country (and globe) may seem overblown, but the efforts are really to allow a gradual slow transmission rate that does not overload the medical system.
So, as you have read elsewhere, stay home if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, or fever. Please, do not send your kids to school or church sick either. If you have respiratory symptoms and fever, contact a medical professional.
We will continue to have services unless directed otherwise by either the bishop or health officials. But we are putting several precautions into effect and asking you to make wise choices.
One, avoid handshakes and physical contact with others for the next couple of weeks even during the peace. A bow or appropriate verbal greeting and smile would be wiser.
Two, while we still will offer communion in both kinds for now, please do not intinct. Do not dip your wafer into the wine. Either refrain from wine or drink from the chalice, as that is the safer way to receive in both kinds. It is perfectly acceptable to only have communion in one kind for now.
Three, we will be adding time to the cleaning schedule to disinfect surfaces such as pews, rails, and door handles according to prescribed procedures. This will take extra time and resources, so please continue to give even if you choose to stay home.
For the next two weeks, the choir will not be meeting due to concerns about singing in close quarters. Coffee hour will be altered as well. Watch your email for word of other changes in schedule.
All of this is basic wisdom in worship. We are working to make video available for services and classes, but this too is costly. Stay tuned.
I know that wisdom can seem like another over-response, especially if you are young, healthy, or have small children and work to do. But this is real love of neighbor, real kindness.
To act for another is the essence of love. We are taking these precautions not because of fear, but because we love the people in our community and around us. We do not want them to get sick. And you never know who in your child’s class has elderly grandparents with underlying issues or a family member who is already compromised.
Wash your hands! Lent is already a season of cleansing the heart and soul in repentance. This virus offers us a test of our Lenten training of the heart to love under pressure of fear and real danger. “Fear not, for I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Please join us in prayer for our leaders and our nation at this time, as we have been called by our presiding bishop, who asked us to join him in prayer and fasting on Wednesdays. See https://episcopalchurch.org/invitation-to-fast
Thank you for being faithful in your giving during this time. It allows us to offer video and other resources, support for the needy, and for charities responding to those who already live on the borders of peace.
Have peace, and join us we come to know, love, and serve the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.