After much prayerful deliberation, I have decided to suspend in-person worship at Covenant until further notice. Beginning this Sunday, March 15, we will invite you to worship with us at home - either via Facebook Live or using the resource at this link. I will attempt to make contact today with those members who do not have email access. Please join me in reaching out to those who can’t receive email.
Here’s how we’ll worship together: I’ll start a Facebook Live video on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CovPres/) at 10:00 on Sunday morning. If you haven’t already, “like” and “follow” our page to be notified when the video begins. The format of the service will be based on our regular Sunday worship order, with some modifications. Immediately following the live worship, we will post an audio recording on our website (www.wdmcovenant.org/sermon-audio.html) for those for whom that technology is easier to use. Or you can join us at the same time, technology-free, by using the attached resource. You might want to call another church member and share this worship order together over the phone, Sunday at 10:00.
My primary reason for suspending in-person worship is the critical need to preserve capacity in the medical system for those who become ill. COVID-19 has spread very rapidly once community-transmitted cases are identified. Governor Reynolds stated yesterday, “We anticipate it will happen. And now is the time to prepare.” Because advanced COVID cases require intensive-care hospitalization, slowing the spread of the disease will save lives even if it doesn’t reduce the overall number of infections.
When I think about Covenant in particular, I also have to think about our demographics. Although the IDPH and CDC don’t yet recommend suspending public gatherings, they do specifically recommend, “Older adults and those with chronic health conditions” should take a higher level of precaution, including avoiding crowds. Even while the schools are on Spring Break, we gather at least several dozen people for worship on Sunday mornings. Many of us are older adults or have underlying health risks.
Ironically, the best-case scenario for “flattening the curve” may lead to a longer period of precautions. Society-wide, this may mean that low-wage workers lose income for a longer time. We can give and advocate on behalf of those who will be economically impacted while also supporting the actions necessary to save lives. Tip those who keep working through the pandemic; give to CROSS, DMARC, and other service providers; and advocate for extra access to government programs that put money in the hands that need it most.
I hope to “see” you tomorrow morning on Facebook Live for worship. Please call those members you know who don’t have email (or may not check it regularly). Please be in touch with me, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (515-380-8102). And pray without ceasing for the people who are most vulnerable to illness and disruption.
In Christ’s peace,
Covenant's Sunday sermons and educational offerings are posted here. Blessings!