CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE



A WORD ON CORONAVIRUS FROM FIRST WESLEYAN CHURCH


“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” - Philippians 4:6-7  (The Message)


We’re all aware of the evolving situation with COVID-19 around the world. And, we’re aware that our response as a church is likely on your mind.


Sunday Morning Service and Other Program Updates


  • In response to state and local leadership recommendations and a desire to love our neighbor as ourselves, we’ve decided not to gather publicly for worship over the next two weeks and utilize the benefits of technology to worship together live on Facebook and Youtube. This includes postponing Sunday morning groups. Our Wednesday night groups this week were already cancelled due to Spring Break. Please reach out to your group leader for any specific questions about other groups and times.
  • We’re also providing Children’s Ministry videos and "God Time" cards here on our website for families to use for family worship and devotional time.
  • We will evaluate our Sunday morning gatherings after our two week hiatus based on new information and state and local leadership decisions.
  • We will continue to evaluate other programs and events, providing you with up to date information on postponements and/or cancellations here.


HERE’S WHAT WE’RE DOING AS A CHURCH STAFF


  1. TRUSTING GOD: Viral disease is a fact of biological existence and part of creation. Keeping perspective and not panicking apply here, just as they do for all risks we face as creatures in a finite world. No matter how dire circumstances get, the Lord remains our refuge and strength, “an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). To trust in the Lord amid trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ.


  1. PRAYING: We must pray for the sick and the scared, for public health officials, for doctors and nurses, for researchers, and for caregivers. We must pray for those that are being impacted financially. As Christians, we believe prayer has power, so we seek help from the Lord.


  1. STAYING INFORMED: The media is aflame with daily updates and it’s impossible to read, absorb and respond to every news report, Tweet, or latest rumor. 


We’re following a reliable list of information for educational, planning and management purposes.

  • CDC on COVID-19: The US Center for Disease Control’s up-to-date resources on coronavirus.
  • CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations: The CDC has also created resources specifically for faith-based organizations to respond to influenza pandemic, which are applicable in this situation. As a church, we’re implementing this guidance.
  • Managing Anxiety Around Coronavirus Coverage: The American Psychological Association created this resource to help manage anxiety around coverage of COVID-19.
  • Addressing Mental Health Issues: This resource from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network provides guidelines for addressing mental health issues that may arise, and offers advice for messaging, including among children, older adults, people with disabilities, and those in quarantine.


  1. PREPARING: Because COVID-19 likely spreads like the cold and the flu, personal hygiene is very important among staff, volunteers, and participants in our services and those attending events on our campuses (washing hands, avoiding contact with the sick, staying home if you’re sick, and so on). We are implementing the CDC recommendation for hand sanitizer stations in public places, ample supplies of tissue, and disposable gloves for cleaning crews. We’re also implementing CDC recommendations on our routine cleaning practices to include all frequently touched surfaces in workplaces, restrooms, and nurseries, including workstations, countertops, doorknobs, and toys. In addition to these practical steps, we’re also doing the following:
  • We’ve established a staff team that is meeting weekly to review all of our efforts in response to COVID-19.
  • We’re in direct communication with local public health officials and attending weekly briefings for the community.
  • We’ve suspended all national & international short-term mission teams scheduled in March and April.
  • We’re reviewing all of our communication practices with the congregation and implementing appropriate communication when appropriate – like this webpage.
  • We will evaluate our Sunday morning gatherings after our two week hiatus based on new information and state and local leadership decisions.
  • We will continue to evaluate other programs and events, providing you with up to date information on postponements and/or cancellations here.


HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP


  1. PRAY for our community and those directly affected by COVID-19. Pray for the health care workers that are treating the sick and those public health administrators making difficult decisions. Pray that God would protect our community from further spread of the virus.


  1. REFLECT CHRIST. In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience and prudence. We can demonstrate for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.


  1. PRACTICE recommended personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid contact with the sick.


  1. JOIN US on Facebook or Youtube on Sunday for live worship and take advantage of Children’s Ministry videos and resources for family worship and devotion.


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” - Matthew 6:25–27 (New International Version)