Attention members of Saint Michael, 

Much has changed since last week when I sent a message about the COVID-19 outbreak. Much has changed since last night when the church council met. It seems all at once, we have awoken to the seriousness of the issue before us. Medical professionals both in our congregation and across the nation, are urging people to take preemptive action to limit the spread of this virus so that our health care system is not overwhelmed and people are able to receive the care they need. 

We should not panic or act in fear.  But we cannot be indifferent in the face of a disease that, even using conservative estimates, has a mortality rate 10 times higher than the “regular flu”.  We must instead care for one another, especially the most vulnerable. Love motivates us, not fear. 

So after much discussion with church council and church staff, here is the latest update: 

  • Saturday and Sunday worship will be held this weekend but without holy communion or choirs. The nursery and all children and youth activities are cancelled through Lent. First communion classes are being postponed as well.  
  • Wednesday won’t have soup supper or rehearsals. Only Holden Evening Prayer in the Sanctuary.  
  • Worshipers are encouraged to keep space between family units as much as possible. We will stream worship services to the Gathering Place and online.   
  • Seniors and others more at risk should consider staying home or attending the smaller, Saturday night worship. Of course anyone feeling ill should stay home. 
  • Handshaking is discouraged. Think of it as an opportunity for creativity!
  • We will be printing the hymns in the bulletin so no one needs to handle hymnals.
  • Offerings will be placed in plates positioned as you come and go from the sanctuary.
  • We will continue increased cleaning and stress personal hygiene for everyone.

That sounds like a lot, I know.  But our goal is to care for one another, limit the spread of this disease, and maintain our sense of community as best we can. Community is vital; but it can be practiced in a number of ways. Here are some additional actions we can take:  

  • Pray for heath care workers and those affected by the disease. They need our support. 
  • Increase our collection of items for food pantries and shelters.
  • Collect additional funds into our “Good Samaritan Fund” to aid those in financial distress because of the outbreak.  You can do this online through the giving page on our website. 
  • Call and check on one another more regularly because no one likes being alone.

On a dark, windy night when his disciples were rowing against the wind and fearful of what they saw, “Jesus said to his disciples, “I AM.  Do not be afraid.

Faith, not fear, is the power we live by. I AM is the name of God.  God is with us. Even in the middle of anxiousness and uncertainty.  We trust in the very source of our life together. Please don’t hesitate to call me with questions or concerns.  Let’s be here for one another.

May the peace that passes all understanding guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Pastor Tim