Dear friends of MAPC, March 10, 2020
As you probably know, the U.S. is experiencing growing rates of COVID-19/coronavirus. There are very few cases confirmed in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana at this time. Nonetheless, we want to be proactive in our response so we can both minimize fear and protect the most vulnerable members of our church and community.
Currently, we encourage everyone to respond with basic precautions:
- Stay home if you are sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19 (or the flu, which is also very contagious and dangerous for vulnerable people);
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water; and
- Use hand sanitizer of 60%+ alcohol content when soap and water are not available.
- Take care when touching common items: doorknobs, railings, shared pens, etc.
In church, we have already been sharing the peace verbally and through gestures and thoughtful eye contact rather than by physical touch. Communion will continue to be served with large pieces of bread that can be easily picked up and dipped in the cup without touching other pieces of bread or coming into contact with the juice. Our staff is also urged to stay home if they are sick or have been exposed to the virus. Many tasks can be completed remotely, but some cannot. We all need to be prepared for some inconvenience and spontaneous flexibility during this time.
If you are homebound: please call or email your deacon or Pastor Stacey. We can help you access the sermon and other worship materials you might have missed and make arrangements for you to get the necessities and support you need. While we may be physically isolated, we will do everything possible to care for one another and maintain emotional and spiritual connection over the phone and internet.
In case of involuntary quarantines and/or cancelation of worship and other events: We will cooperate with requests from the government or Presbytery to stop holding public events. In case of such a situation, we are prepared to hold adapted worship services in real time online via Facebook Live and Zoom (a video conference calling service that can be accessed with picture and sound over a webcam or sound-only with a phone), and to post sermon videos on our YouTube channel. To prepare yourself in advance, please register for Zoom at their website, zoom.us, and contact Pastor Stacey if you need help using it. Zoom can also be used for gatherings of small groups, committees, and social check-ins.
Finally, we need volunteers. Can you stream video from worship onto Facebook Live? Are you willing to bring groceries or other necessities to homebound members (contact-free or using a mask and gloves)? Would you enjoy being a friendly caller to those who may be isolated? Please contact your deacon or Pastor Stacey.
So many around us are reacting with anxiety and fear right now, leading them to hoard supplies and view other people – particularly people of Asian descent – with suspicion. Even as we take reasonable precautions, let our response to this and all difficult situations be led by our values of compassion and justice. Even in a potential pandemic, we are not alone. We stand with each other and with all of our community, especially those who are most frightened and vulnerable. We will do all we can to protect and provide for the needs of one another and those around us. In generosity and in hope, God stands with us.
Grace and peace,
The MAPC Session and Pastor Stacey Midge