Update: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18TH
March 22 & 29 Will Be Held Online
With new restrictions on gatherings being recommended by public health authorities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the session and I have decided to suspend all meetings, worship services, and gatherings at DPC through Wednesday, April 1. This date is a best guess, and the session and I will evaluate whether or not it is time to resume services on April 1. Please pay attention for more forthcoming information.
Health officials have told us that we have a chance to slow COVID-19 infection rates by taking decisive social distancing steps right now, before a crisis is upon us and upon our healthcare system.
On Friday, I will be in touch with ways that we will work to stay connected at DPC, spaces where we can gather remotely over text, phone, or video conference. Each week will have opportunities for worship online, to pray for one another, and continue the work of the church remotely.
The session and I believe this is a Christian act of care for the greater community, though it grieves me not to gather with you all on Sunday. I love you all and will miss seeing you. But together, we have a chance to care for the weakest among us and we are called to do so. During these challenging times, let’s all work to stay healthy and connected!
Yours in Christ,
Update: FRIDAY, MARCH 13TH
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, the first time since the H1N1 “swine flu” virus in 2009. Additionally, Governor Evers has declared a public health emergency for Wisconsin related to the coronavirus. The State Department of Health Services is recommending that all events with more than 250 people be cancelled. In the last week, we have seen music festivals, sporting events and similar large gatherings cancelled. Travel to many countries around the world have been suspended, and the stock market has plunged significantly since the outbreak began. These are challenging times! In response, I would like to draw our attention to two imperatives: staying healthy and staying connected.
Know the Facts to Stay Healthy!
The Center for Disease Control website has excellent information about staying healthy and preventing the spread of coronavirus. I am including a link to their site below. If you have questions about this disease, this is a reputable and trustworthy source of information:
Who is at risk? Older adults; People with heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, people with compromised immune systems.
What are the symptoms? (This list is not comprehensive. When in doubt, call your doctor)
- Shortness of breath;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Persistent Pain or pressure in the chest;
- New Confusion or inability to arouse;
- Bluish lips or face.
What should I do if I am at risk?
At DPC, our number one concern is the well-being of our congregants. At this time, we are not canceling services, but Pastor Nikki and the Session are encouraging everyone to be prudent in deciding what they should and should not participate in. If you are sick, you are asked to remain at home during this time. If you are concerned that you or someone in your household may be very susceptible to the coronavirus, you are also encourage to consider staying home at this time.
What is DPC doing?
If you join us for worship or other church events, please be assured that we are taking precautions to prevent the spread of disease. Some of the precautions EVERYONE is asked to participate in include the following:
- Hand sanitizer can be found stationed at several points throughout the sanctuary. Should you sneeze, cough, etc. during the service, you are encouraged to use it!
- Washing hands is more effective than the use of hand sanitizer. So you are encouraged to keep washing your hands while you are at church. Please wash hands after touching your face, coughing, sneezing, before and after eating, etc. The most effective way to wash your hands is to use warm water and soap and rinse for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth;
- For this time, we are encouraging people to avoid contact during the passing of the peace. Alternative options to sharing the peace of Christ include: giving a peace sign with your hand, a warm smile, an elbow bump, an air high-five… Be creative!
- You’re also encouraged to leave space between yourself and the people around you, in case you or they are unwittingly carrying an infectious disease.
- For the time being, communion will be celebrated using pre-sealed cups, which contain juice and wafers. This will allow everyone to open their own hygienic communion elements.
- Offering plates will be available at the back of the sanctuary. You are encouraged to place your offerings into them at the beginning or ending of the service.
- We are continuing to monitor the spread of the virus and will keep you informed of further actions to prevent the spread of disease (e.g. cancellation of services and events).
How Can I Stay Connected at DPC?
At DPC, we want to stay connected with all of our members during this time!
- We will worship this Sunday at our regularly scheduled time. The session will revisit this, as more information becomes available.
- Audio recordings of the service are available, as always. Please contact Pastor Nikki if you would like to get an audio version of the service sent to you. An online version of the service may be available soon.
- Deacons are available to share communion with those who opt to stay home. Please reach out to Pastor Nikki if you would like to receive communion in your home.
- Now is a great time to care for one another. If you would like to offer to assist at-risk members by running errands for them, please contact Pastor Nikki.
- Be generous! Our church attendance may shrink in the coming weeks, so let’s continue the generosity of DPC through this crisis so the mission and ministry will persevere.
Rest assured that your pastor and session are paying attention to science and praying for wisdom during this time. You are encouraged to do the same and make decisions that are wise for you. Together, we will take courage, consider the most vulnerable among us and continue to serve God and neighbors. Though our worship may look different for a while, we will continue to praise God through this!