Caronavirus Update - March 14, 2020
A PDF version of this letter can downloaded here.
March 14, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We have been closely monitoring official information and recommendations about COVID-19. While many church communities have already chosen to suspend in-person worship, Zion's Executive Council has decided to postpone taking this action—for now. The Church Council will be meeting on Wednesday, March 18 to discuss these matters and how best to respond in our context.
The majority of the worship participants at Zion on a typical Sunday are over 60, or have underlying health issues that will make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we announce the following:
Worship will take place on Sunday, March 15 as scheduled. However, coffee fellowship and Sunday School are suspended. We will not be sharing communion during worship. Other "social distancing" precautions will be in place (such as sitting in every-other row).
Per Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, we encourage adults over 60 and those with underlying health concerns to NOT attend worship. The service will be streamed online via our Facebook page. The sermon will continue to be podcast and available on the church website.
Midweek Lent Worship will take place on Wednesday, March 18, but there will be NO meal served at 5:45 p.m. Confirmation students are encouraged to attend, and will be asked to do their usual "Mentor Conversation" with a parent.
As this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate with members via the church website and our Facebook page, and using our current email lists. Any changes to our worship schedule or activities calendar will be based on official guidance from the CDC and MDH. Similar to our inclement weather policy, worship cancellations will be announced through KEYC TV and KTOE radio.
This has been a challenging week. The disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have made many of us fearful and anxious about our families, income, and the long-term implications of this national emergency.
Now is when we especially need our church family, and the promises that we hold onto through Jesus Christ. In baptism we’re given new life, forgiveness, and hope. We are held in the grace of God no matter our presence circumstances. This same baptism calls us into a ministry of care and concern for our neighbors. Carrying out this calling right now asks each of us to take appropriate and necessary precautions to protect the health of our neighbors and ourselves. Should you have any questions about the precautions we are taking as a congregation, please contact one of us or another member of the Church Council.
Finally, a word about giving. Disruptions to worship services and attendance have significant financial impacts for Zion. If you’re unable to attend worship, we hope you will mail your offering to the church office or make your donation online. You’re also encouraged to enroll in eGiving at the church website so that your regular support of the congregation can continue uninterrupted.
We close with the words of St. Paul, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Let us be kind and patient with one another in these challenging times.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Andrea Myers Dan Lowis, congregation president