F.S.J. STATEMENT ON COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

Date:     March 11, 2020

Re:         First St. John and COVID-19-  (coronavirus)

To:         Our members and friends

From:     Pastor Jerald Rayl

 

Greetings everyone in the healing name of Jesus,

We are all attentive to the news and information about the COVID-19. There is a lot being said, some factual and some not. I want to let you know that Mark Ackerman, the congregational president, and I have been monitoring and discussing what is being reported. We wanted to let you know what is being considered as our response to the situation.

First, we will abide by all the directives made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and what is directed and required by our local, state and national health and government officials. So far, there is nothing that is directing for the canceling of church worship services, meetings or events. And we are not planning to do so at this moment, so we will continue to hold services at the scheduled times on Sunday, and Wednesday. This can change at any time, and we will let you know as quickly as possible.

However, we are making some changes in how we do things. We will no longer promote shaking hands as a greeting in church, especially during the Sharing of the Peace. Instead we are asking everyone to greet each other by putting your hand over your heart, doing the “elbow bump” or making the “peace sign” with your two fingers. I prefer these to doing the “fist bump” because it still is hand contact, and using a fist seems to me to look too much like striking out or hitting the other person.

The Altar Guild will be using food service plastic gloves to prepare the bread and wine for communion. I will continue as I always have, to use hand sanitizer before I distribute the communion wafers. You are encouraged if you have it to bring your own small container of hand sanitizer to church to use as you wish. Our cleaning crew is regularly disinfecting the door handles and opening bars on all the doors of the church. And we will continue to stock the pews with boxes of tissues which you can use if you should cough or sneeze. Our Day School has already communicated its policy and procedures to our children’s families.

At this time, attending worship services is an individual and personal choice. If you do choose to not attend, please remember your stewardship contributions by mailing your envelope to the church office, or using the link on the church website to go to Vanco to make an online contribution. We will also be attempting to post an audio recording of the worship services on the website which you can listen to, and we are working on also having a video available soon.

If there are changes to these procedures, we will keep you informed. If you have any question, please contact the church office, or myself via email, text message or voice. Thank you for your continued faithful support of our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Pastor Jerald Rayl

Pastor1@firststjohn.com

567-395-0143

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