Who could have imagined that our country and world would be in the state we find ourselves these days with the rapidly spreading COVID-19 coronavirus? It seems that almost every few minutes there is a new report of yet another closing, people being diagnosed with the disease and dying, and entire communities shutting down. It’s hard to know how long this will last, how bad things will get, or how to fully prepare.
Here at PAUMC, we are taking the matter seriously and being as proactive as possible following guidelines from the World Health Organization, The Center for Disease Control, and NYC Health. As we are taking in new information, the staff and I are constantly thinking through what this might mean for our community and what next steps we should take.
As of this moment, we are still planning to hold worship on Sunday morning and will be instituting the following:
- Sanitizing the entire Sanctuary with bleach and antibacterial products, including hymnals and Bibles
- Closing the Sanctuary to the public Monday through Saturday
- Sanitizing the elevator 3 times a day
- Shifting the way we receive the offering
- Canceling the Seniors Exercise Class on Wednesdays
- Postponing the memorial service for Paula Hugee on Saturday
- Canceling Coffee Hour
- And as we did last week, using elbow bumps or the peace sign instead of shaking hands during the Passing of the Peace
These measures are taken out of love and solidarity for our beloved community so that we can all be as safe as possible.
People have been asking what else we should do. Here are a few suggestions: Try to stay as calm as possible. Make sure that health and safety are priorities for yourself and your family. Care for the most vulnerable, especially children and the elderly. Practice being thoughtful and kind. And always be as good a neighbor as you possibly can.
Psalm 46 is one of my favorites and has become my morning meditation, which I offer to you with my love and prayers:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge…
Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Regardless of what these next few weeks might bring, let us be assured that God is with us, and may we respond with faith and not fear; with love and not hate; with hope and not despair.
Grace and peace,