Below is a letter from Pastor Denise, addressing the Coronavirus situation and how the church is preparing to navigate the challenging times ahead. Some quick housekeeping notes:
Along with the normal bi-weekly church newsletter, we will continue to send out special emails as needed to keep you informed.
A special page has been created on the DeBows website. It will contain a chronological summary list of released information, church decisions impacting the life of our church, and links to other information. Click HERE to access this page. Please bookmark it and check it often, along with the church calendar for the latest information.
The following 3 March events have been postponed and will hopefully be rescheduled sometime in the future. (3/14) Libby Prison Minstrels concert, (3/21) GNJ Food Packing Event, (3/28) ProGrasstination Bluegrass concert.
The 3/15 Sunday 9:30 AM worship service will take place this week per normal.
This Sunday (3/15) is the deadline to place your Old Monmouth Candy Orders. Please give to Sue Hayward.
Anyone interested in submitting a Scrip Gift Card order, may want to consider doing it on Sunday, 3/15. We are not sure if orders will be able to be taken on 3/22.
Letter from Pastor Denise
Jesus calls us to be a light in dark places, so for us to be a light in this time for our community it is necessary to stay spiritually and physically healthy.
How would a decision to suspend worship services at DeBows UMC and its ministries be made?
There are two scenarios in which we would close:
We might be required by the state or local governing authorities to suspend church services and ministries due to the health concern.
The decision to suspend services at our church could be made in consultation with local health officials, our Board of Trustees, and pastor, if such an action becomes necessary.
What if we need to suspend services at our Church?
We would send an email to you with links to that week’s scripture, sermon, prayer concerns, and giving. Plus, we would keep you informed through email and our website of any changes or pertinent information. For our members who do not have email or internet access we will communicate updates and information by phone.
In the event that we suspend worship services, Bible Study would also be canceled. With regards to our food pantry and recovery groups, the trustees will meet to discuss how we can still operate and provide space for these groups while keeping everyone as safe as possible. If you are directly involved in any of these ministries, we will notify you of any changes necessary from the norm by email and listing it on our website.
With new cases being diagnosed seemingly every hour, the question of “How concerned should I be about Coronavirus?” is being asked by many around the world.
The first cases of Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, were diagnosed in China in December 2019. Since then, the illness with pneumonia-type symptoms, has spread to 37 nations to-date, including countries where United Methodists reside and attend church.
While places where people gather in close proximity, such as worship services, may be vulnerable, there are simple steps to take to limit risks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Above all, anyone feeling unwell should stay home and seek medical care.
Other tips include:
Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Maintain social distancing. Keep 3 feet or 1 meter between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses can live on surfaces, where your hands may touch. Once on your hands, the virus may enter your body.
Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately.
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call ahead for an appointment to limit your exposure to others.
Discussing health in the church dates back to John Wesley, who wrote extensively about staying physically healthy, as well as spiritually healthy. Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, in a recent blog post, reminds United Methodists that holding spiritual and social holiness together is a “mark of Methodist distinction.”
Staying calm tops of the list of how to respond to Coronavirus, writes Bishop David Bard. The Michigan bishop has asked the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators and the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration to consider how congregations can best respond to the global health crisis.
“There is no need for immediate action,” Bard writes. “But now is a good time to calmly assess the possible impact on our local churches if an outbreak occurs in Michigan.”