Dear Friends in Christ - Peace be with You-
Above all we care about each of you. Amid almost 24/7 non-stop discussion of the Coronavirus let’s discuss South Jersey. There are a few of the questions we have received and a few comments – none of us are physicians – when in doubt ask them please. As we should not gather in groups of more than 10 we urge you to move to other ways to worship besides in person.
Where do we get our information? Please follow the CDC (Center for Disease Control) CDC.gov and New Jersey Public Health sites for updates. If you read everything and listen to everything you will stay under the blankets! We have also attached information from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for consideration.
Follow common sense – we were taught to wash our hands from the time we will little – continue to do so – a little more often – many of us did not grow up with hand sanitizer but it is a cool tool to use too! – following the instructions – 20 seconds – sing the Doxology “praise God from whom all blessings flow” - you all know that one and sing in any language – learn a new language!
Please do not hoard – have extra soap and hand sanitizer – bring to church – they will use it – if you have big bottles it can be shared in smaller portions. Consider your mission during this time – contact schools to see if they close is there a plan to help feed those who are food insufficient – expand your ministry or start a new one – our Mission Committee will make emergency grants available the application is in a link.
We are called to serve with “prayer, energy, intelligence, imagination and love”. Let us live into this with our heart, soul, mind and strength.
We care about you and are here for you. Please contact us anytime.
In service to you and to the Lord with ascending prayer,
Local Congregation Considerations-
- With all that is going on with community spread of many illnesses and viruses the rule is “think” – not simply to “do what we have always done”
- Make a plan that is flexible and speaks to relationships
- Time for a good church cleaning!
- Have hand sanitizer at the door as people enter and Greeters can invite people to use it and antibacterial soap in all rest rooms
- Greeters can nod politely as we can to each other
- Pass the Peace by smiling and other creative ways – some are learning
Sign Language – no more “high fives” and fist bumps and even one of my favorites “elbow bumps” – remember people are sneezing into that elbow now!
- It is suggested not to pass the offering plate, for now – if the usher can put it in front of a person that is best or stand at door with a plate as people enter – make sure counters have extra hand sanitizer available
- Start a plan for looking at those who do not attend – ask people to let you know if they will not be attending and be sure to follow up (we know it is easy to stay away and want to make sure people know they are missed)
- Check on elderly – now defined as 60 (but one public health official said 50)!! If you people who live alone with no family, please contact them and offer the assurance that the church is there for them especially if things worsen and we are asked to quarantine – people will feel isolated and alone – consider small groups or even 2 or 3 on conference calls
- Good time to rethink the reluctance to “online giving!” Many of our churches use it regularly and can give you testimonials – Presbyterian Foundation has a great description on their website – Venmo, Square, Zelle – new language we can discuss
- Consider using Facebook live – someone in your church has a smart phone and knows how to use it! Be creative – Zoom worship?
- ABOVE ALL COMMUNICATE with your congregation!
- Plan a celebration when we can get together as a community again to welcome people back
This list is not exhaustive but designed for you to adapt and modify you your use