Coronavirus Information and Response
March 13, 2020
 
UCCSV Community,
 
Dean Nathan LaRud of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon wrote, "The season of Lent has historically served as a season of greater intentionality, a time to re-examine long-held practices and consider giving something up. This Lent, although it’s not the fast we might have chosen, churches are being asked to “fast” from many of the practices we have long taken for granted."
 
Last night the UCCSV Church Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss our church's plan of action in response to the coronavirus epidemic and the closure of schools and banning of large gatherings in Maryland. We have decided, out of an abundance of caution and with love in our heart for the most vulnerable in our community, to suspend in person worship, meetings, and programs through the end of March with the hope of possibly meeting again in our church building for worship on April 5th. We will continue to monitor the situation and reassess as needed.
 
In the meantime, though our in-person worship might be cancelled, our relationships, love, and spiritual community are not cancelled. We will continue to worship, but we will move our worship online. We will meet together at our regular worship time of 10am on Sunday using Zoom, an app that works on your computer, phone or tablet and allows you to use video or just audio to join in a group meeting. If you do not want, or cannot, access a computer, Zoom also just allows you to call in through a phone number.
 
I will also be doing a shorter version of that same worship as a facebook live post through our public facebook page on Sunday evenings at 5pm. Zoom worship will allow us to be more interactive, facebook will be more of the public face of our worship. Since people can't visit us in person, this will be a way for them to still check us out during this time and for us to continue to minister to the wider community.
 
In addition, we will be providing several opportunities for online connection. We will have Lenten Soup-ers by sending you the link to the TED talks and then meeting through Zoom for a discussion at 7:30pm on Wednesday evenings. I will also hold virtual office hours on Zoom from 12:30-1:00pm each weekday for anyone who wants prayer or needs to connect with a human face. The Deacons will be looking for ways to pair people up or create small groups of people who can check in on each other virtually or on the phone or even by mail throughout this time of separation. We will be sending you more resources and ideas, including ones for families and children, and we'll be checking in with suggestions of prayers and spiritual disciplines to help you get through this difficult time.
 
If you are homebound and in need of assistance getting meals or groceries during this time please contact me at HollyRJackson@gmail.com. I will be in the office periodically but will not be holding regular office hours in the church building. Nita will also be in the office periodically but may not be in the building all day every day during her regular hours. 
 
If you become ill please let me know as soon as possible so I can do anything I can to help. I know it feels like we are all moving away from one another but in truth you are not alone and we will all get through this together.
 
There is so much that we don't know yet, about how long this will last, about how bad it will get, and about when life will start to get back to normal. We are truly walking in the wilderness together. We are sitting in the darkness of the tomb wondering when the light will return or how we will roll away this all too heavy stone. But rest assured that whenever we return to church, it will be a joyous celebration. And if somehow that is after Easter Sunday, then whenever we next gather will be an Easter worship we will long remember. Just imagine the shouts of joy we will share! We are a strong and resilient people. We are people of the resurrection. We are God's beloved. No matter what the next few weeks brings, please remember that.
 
You continue to be in my prayers and I ask that you keep me and our church leadership and our whole community in your prayers. Be of good courage. Lift your eyes to the hills. God is with us.
 
Peace,
Pastor Holly

 

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