Virus Update
Dear Church, March 19, 2020

Grace and peace to you. I wanted to write to you about ongoing things in the church regarding the corona virus.
In this letter:

  1.  Update on the building
  2.  Worship and study opportunities
  3.  Giving Request
  4.  Service Opportunities

The first thing to reiterate is that the building is closed until further notice . Sherry is working from home and so am I. We are updating our Parish Shepherds list so that everyone in the church has a contact within the congregation for prayers and basic emotional support. We all understand that this is a stressful time and isolation can be its own dilemma. By keeping up with one another through phone, text, Facebook, etc. we can maintain a semblance of community.
The next thing to note is that worship on Sunday will be online as last week. We will also send a snail mail version to folks not online. In addition, I will be hosting Facebook live check-ins at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays . If you haven’t already, like our Facebook page facebook.com/OrchardsUMC/   to stay up to date. These check -ins will include a brief Lenten lesson and should last 20-30 minutes. If you miss the time slot, you can view it later.
We also want to ask that you maintain your giving to the church . The Church Council met online Sunday and committed to maintaining income streams for all paid employees of the church. We know that there is much uncertainty in our economy and in each family’s financial picture. Inasmuch as you can keep giving to the church, please keep giving. The best way to give is to set up regular bill pay through your bank. You can set this up online OR by calling your local bank. You can also mail a check to the church (11000 NE Fourth Plain, Vancouver, WA 98662.) Checks will be picked up, counted and deposited on Thursdays. We have set up a way in which all of this can be done safely. Church Council has also talked about online giving. Right now we are exploring options and learning quickly.
Finally, some of you are wondering how to serve at this time . The best opportunity I have come across is through Clark County Food Bank. They are making emergency food boxes for low income seniors. They have a good system set up so that volunteers are safe, including social distancing practices and a regimented schedule for volunteers so that there aren’t too many at once. Volunteers can come from 2-4 pm but MUST SCHEDULE AHEAD OF TIME TO VOLUNTEER. Please email them at volunteer@clarkcountyfoodbank.org
I know this is a strange time. We are all trying to figure out this new normal. Hopefully it is temporary and we can all get back to normal soon. In the meantime, commit yourself to prayer for your community and your church. Make the most of your time apart. And trust in God for all things.

Peace of Christ remain with you all,

Pastor Christopher