Coronavirus Update for Horizon: We're still open
As we continue to hear more regarding the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important to our staff and board that we prayerfully consider a response to growing concerns. We encourage you to resist fear and take a prayerful posture that arrives at confidence in God and in His loving care of us.
I found this quote to be helpful as we think through our response. It is from Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, infectious diseases specialist with the University of Toronto: “Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education…Let's meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek the truth, facts, and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.”
At the same time, we want to now give you the following updates:
1. After reading the CDC guidelines, as well as the state and county recommendations, and having taken counsel with other local churches and pastors, we will continue to hold worship services at Horizon this weekend as planned at 9 and 10:45 a.m. We believe the church is an agent of grace, healing, and hope for each of us, for our neighborhood and for our world. At this moment, we believe we are in even more need of grace and the spiritual sustenance that can flow to us through worship, word, and sacrament.
We have already deep cleaned the Church. This Sunday we will be using both the sanctuary and cafe areas, and we will be adjusting seating, so as to create the social distancing necessary to keep people safe and to stay within current state and county guidelines.
If you are in the “at-risk” part of our population, we ask that rather than attending, you stream the 10:45 service at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUYKk9uJf1_6hba87vXGH6w
If you are sick or symptomatic, we ask you also to stream the 10:45 service rather than attending.
If it is your conviction to not attend, we honor that choice and also would love for you to stream the 10:45 a.m. so that all of us can be in one spirit at this time.
2. Horizon Kids: Because children are not in the “at-risk” population, we will have kid’s programming in the 2nd service. Staff and volunteers always disinfect the environment each Sunday and toys after one-time use. There has been additional cleaning throughout this week, and we will again be disinfecting surfaces between services. We will have hand sanitizer available throughout the church. Our childcare workers will be asked to take special care with handwashing and will be reminded to not volunteer if sick. We are asking parents to not bring sick children to church.
3. Here are other things we are doing to address concerns over the coronavirus:
Sanctuary and bathrooms: Routinely touched surfaces will be sanitized before each worship service, including doors, handles, tables, check-in stations, and sinks. You can find hand-washing protocols at the World Health Organization website and posted in our bathrooms.
Communion: The bread and cup will be prepared and served by those who have sanitized their hands thoroughly. Communion cups and plates will be cleaned between services. Bread will be handed to you by one of our servers. Please feel free to dip the bread in the cup as usual or to take bread only. If your conviction is to refrain from receiving, we also honor that.
Offering: We will not pass the offering bags but will have stations where your offering can be given
Refreshments: Coffee, tea will be available, but we are suspending snack food items through the month of March.
Grace and Peace: Politely refrain from handshakes and hugs, and instead pass the peace verbally with a friendly smile.
4. If you are not able to attend services and would like a pastoral visit, where we bring the elements of communion to your home, please let us know by phone or email. If there is any way we can be of help to you as a staff, if we can pray with you by phone, or if there is a need we can meet, please let us know right away.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Grace & Peace,
The Board and Staff of Horizon