Wednesday, March 11, 2020
A Note from Pastor April
In response to confirmed reports that the Coronavirus COVID-19 has arrived in Ohio, and with guidance from the Office of Bishop Palmer of the West Ohio Annual Conference, our Church Council met Tuesday night to make some urgent and crucial decisions about our next steps as a congregation. Jesus calls us to actively care for and protect the least of these among us — our primary focus is the safety of the congregation with a particular emphasis upon those especially vulnerable to this illness. These decisions were not made from a place of fear but in an effort to lead with faithfulness during a critical moment in our year of courage.
As a congregation, some of our core values include authentic relationships and building community. We understand that the decisions outlined in this email will cause a disruption to our normal ways of being together in community. We will, however, continue to seek responsible ways in which we can be in constant community and care for one another during this time. Please know that we are committed to continuing to love and encourage and pray for one another throughout the coming days.
Effective IMMEDIATELY and through March 30:
- We will move to 2 services, at 9am (traditional) & 11am (contemporary), both of which will meet in the Sanctuary. This decision was based entirely on which space is easiest to quickly disinfect. The time between services will allow us to do a thorough cleaning.
- Your hospitality team will receive training regarding opening doors for you as you arrive, along with other safety precautions.
- We will not print bulletins during this period. We will provide a Connect Card that individuals can pick up on their way in and drop off on their way out.
- For the safety of everyone, all Sunday school classes for adults, youth, and children will suspend meetings during this time. This includes the nursery; childcare will not be provided. As usual, children are always welcome in worship.
- ALL small groups and classes will be suspended. This includes choir, quilting ministry, and all children’s gatherings including Wednesday night FaithKIDS — EVERYTHING. Recovery groups will continue to have the option to meet. No nursery care will be provided.
- Sunday night Youth Group will meet following the Hilliard City Schools schedule, as will our weekday Preschool. This means both are suspended for the next few weeks.
- Wednesday night dinner will move to a CARRYOUT only ministry. This is to provide a meal for those in our community who rely on this critical ministry.
technology will be our friend
In moments like this, technology will be our friend!
live streaming sunday worship
We will provide live streaming of both services through Facebook Live. Simply go to our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hilliardumc/) at 9am or 11am on Sunday morning and you will be able to share online prayer requests in real time and participate in the offering online. These services will remain on the Facebook page for you to view after those times. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view the service.
virtual godly play
We are also excited to offer an option for families and children to log in on Sundays during the 10am hour for a virtual Godly Play session with our Children’s Ministry team. Simply click on the link here from your phone or computer, and you and your family can wonder together from home. https://zoom.us/j/824103366.
Make Your Own Wise Decisions. check on each other and share information.
During this time we encourage you to make your own wise decisions about attending worship in person.
If you are sick, have been traveling out of the country, or are part of a vulnerable population whose immune systems are compromised, please stay home.
We strongly encourage you to continue checking in and maintaining community with one another during this time. If you know people who are unlikely to receive this information via email, please reach out and call them.
refer to the experts
To keep up to date about the best ways to stay safe, we encourage you to refer to the experts:
- World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/).
Please know that If local emergency levels change, we will comply with their guidelines. No matter what happens, however, we will continue making online services an option.
As faithful followers of Jesus, we know that we may be called upon in the days ahead to serve and care for our community. Getting critical food and supplies to vulnerable populations will be our priority. If you are interested in assisting in such efforts, please let us know!
Most of all, we serve a God that promises that we need not be afraid. We are responding to this crisis with trust and faith that God has already given us what we need and will continue to see us through in the days ahead.
Know that your pastors and staff are here for you to answer any questions, to pray with you, to be supportive, and to lead us through toward a place of hope.
God loves you no matter what!