An Important Message from Pastor Jeff and the Session about Southminster’s Ministry and the COVID-19 Pandemic
March 13, 2020
Dear Southminster Friends,
The Session met in a virtual meeting this morning to decide upon a faithful and prudent response to the growing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. With one abstention, the Session made the difficult decision to suspend all in-person activities for our ministry beginning this weekend and continuing through March 31st. This extraordinary decision was made out of concern to be responsible to our own membership and to our wider community during this vulnerable time.
Some factors in the decision include: one can carry COVID-19 with no symptoms for up to 14 days; it can live on surfaces for 2-3 days; it is very contagious and can require hospitalization; and it has heightened impact on people age 60+ and who have other health conditions. Medical professionals tell us that the best way to help mitigate the spread is to engage in “social distancing,” by avoiding large gatherings of people. We do not want anyone to feel they have to choose between their spiritual and physical health.
During this three week suspension of our worship life, we will be offering a live stream of an abbreviated worship experience each of the three Sundays at 11:00 am through the Southminster Facebook page that anyone who has internet capability can access. You do not have to be a Facebook user to do so. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/southminsterpres. All other planned activities—meetings, Lenten lunches, Church School, Youth Groups will also be suspended until March 31st.
We know that this decision places a hardship on our whole community. The staff and leadership team will be conferring about how we can creatively stay in touch with one another in the absence of face to face community. The church office will continue to be open during the week and the staff will continue to work a normal schedule unless circumstances dictate otherwise. I am sure many of you will be surprised by this decision and may be processing other emotions. Pastor Jeff and Pastor Karen are also available to respond to any questions or needs or just to talk and process. Session members will also be glad to speak with you about this unprecedented decision. Please feel free to come to the church office as necessary.
One effect of suspending our in-person Sunday worship is that we will not collect our regular morning offerings. I would encourage you to mail in your contributions, in order to support our ongoing ministries, community, and dedicated staff. We will continue to be in communication as circumstances change and develop. This present situation is unlike anything we have experienced, so I am grateful for your flexibility and understanding as we seek the good of our community in uncharted waters.
As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, we are reminded of many moments where God’s grace and love shine through amid hardship and in wilderness places. In the end, we are a resurrection people! As a community who knows the compassion of Jesus, let us embody more fully and creatively what it means to be the Body of Christ in the world. Reach out to one another. Write a card or call. Continue in prayer for our world, those who are sick, medical care givers, and our leaders. And breathe in the deep grace of God.
Grace and Peace,