Dear Church Family,

I wanted to write to you to address the issue of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and how it impacts us at Emmanuel. First and foremost as your pastor let me encourage you not to fear, but to trust in the Lord. He is sovereign over all things, even things as small as viruses. As the Psalmist tells us the God who watches over us and keeps us does not “slumber or sleep.” (Psalm 121) While this virus is a serious concern, this is not the time for us to panic. Rather it is the time for us to take appropriate precautions to limit and prevent the spread of disease, so as to protect those are at greatest risk. We are called to love God and love our neighbor. As the church our primary expression for love of God is in gathered worship, but loving our neighbor at least means doing our best to limit the spread of this disease. The following are the precautions we are taking at Emmanuel in this regard, based on the current local situation:

  1. We are changing our communion practice for now. Since this virus is most likely to be spread through hand contact we will limit the passing of trays. This means everyone will come to the front to take communion. (Ushers will instruct you on this during the service.) In addition the bread will be cut into pieces. Please try to touch only the piece of bread you will eat or the cup you will drink. Parents please help smaller children in this. All communion servers and ushers will wash or sanitize their hands, as will those who prepare communion.
  2. We will also change our collection of the offering. Instead of passing the plates around, ushers will be standing with plates to receive your offerings at the end of each communion line. Of course you can always give online through our website as well.
  3. The blue tablets for the contact cards and prayer requests will not be distributed. You may fill out contact cards at the book table in the back. You can also submit a prayer request or other communication here.
  4. We will be disinfecting the chairs, door handles, and other surfaces in the gym as best we can. Summit has informed us that they are also increasing their efforts to disinfect high contact surfaces on campus.
  5. We will continue to serve coffee and donuts for now, but we encourage everyone to use a fresh napkin to grab your donut or to touch the handle of the coffee carafe. Parents please do NOT allow your children to just grab donuts, but rather hand them to them.
  6. We will suspend our monthly church feasts for the time being, but we will have coffee and donuts as long as we can all use napkins carefully.
  7. We will continue to have the Passing of the Peace, but we encourage you to do so without physical contact. So, no hand shaking or hugging. You may use an elbow bump, or simply greet one another verbally with smiles.
  8. We will continue to sanitize everything in our nursery and exercise best practices in that room to limit the spread of infectious disease as we always do.
  9. We encourage everyone to stop in the bathrooms and wash your hands for 20 seconds. (There are two at the end of the hall to your left, and one just to the left at the entrance to gym.)
  10. We have “Clorox wipes” for sanitizing surfaces, but we have not been able to secure a large supply of hand sanitizer. Please bring your own hand sanitizer or just wash your hands.
  11. If you are sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms: particularly fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, Please stay home.
  12. In addition if you are in an “at risk” category and do not feel safe, please feel free to stay home as well. We are looking into the possibility of live streaming our services in the near future.
  13. As a reminder our Deacons & Deaconesses are available to help with physical or financial needs. They can be reached here.
  14. If local circumstances warrant further measures, we will keep you informed of any changes.

Finally, as the people of God let us engage in regular prayer beseeching our Lord to intervene to stop this disease and to heal the sick.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Greg

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