03.12.20 | Coronavirus | by Christopher Edmonston
March 12, 2020
Dear Friends and Members of White Memorial Presbyterian Church:
As we wrote last week, we are committed to responding to the impact of the COVID-19 / new Coronavirus. We promised to react in responsible ways to reliable information and to adhere to the requests and/or orders of North Carolina and Wake County health officials. The following letter details our first steps in a new level of response. Please know that we are planning to take further steps as they emerge and the need for such steps arises. We want you to know that your church leadership is in constant communication, monitoring confirmed cases in our area and how the Governor’s Office, Wake Co. Schools, and other faith communities are choosing to respond. In general, we are canceling or postponing events that directly involve the most vulnerable population, 60 and older. Additionally, we are canceling or postponing events where participants may come in contact with that same population. We are working on amending or suspending all “large” activities of the church. Non-essential functions of the church campus will be postponed or canceled.
Please help us in the following ways:
- If you are feeling unwell, please refrain from coming to church. Please contact your health care providers. Please take care of yourselves.
- Pray for those affected. Pray for those who will lose work, need the Food Bank, and who are caring for loved ones. Pray for our health care workers. Pray for those who are afraid.
- Visit the church website very often. We will be updating regularly.
For the time being, White Memorial is implementing the following policies and cancellations:
- Worship will take place as scheduled THIS WEEK, March 15. All doorknobs, crash bars, common area surfaces, Weekday School Classrooms, and areas where it is common for individuals to come in contact with a surface are being cleaned multiple times per day. On Sunday, staff and volunteers will wipe down common areas and the tops of the pew railings in the sanctuary between services. Should we decide to suspend worship services in the following weeks, we will work diligently to make materials for worship available via our web site and streaming service. We encourage you to use the streaming service this week should you be uncomfortable or unable to attend.
- Spring Faith Forum on March 14 and Weekday School Spring Fling on March 20 are postponed. Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming events as the weeks go by.
- The Sounds on Oberlin Concert scheduled for March 15 at 3:00 p.m. is still under consideration. Watch our website for the latest.
- If you are in the identified as vulnerable age groups and/or have diabetes, cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, or another ailment, please DO NOT come to church on Sunday or participate in Sunday School.
- All large groups, usually of 20-people or larger, whose participants are 60 years old or older will discontinue meeting until Easter.
- Sunday School for children, youth, and those who are not included in the most vulnerable groups will take place THIS WEEK. As a guide, we are following Wake County Public Schools as to the canceling or continuation of our children’s, youth, and family programs.
- Youth WILL take place THIS Sunday night. We are making decisions about future gatherings for youth on a week-by-week basis.
- Mission Trips, Youth Trips (The Spring Retreat), and other outings are suspended until Easter. If your particular group is taking a trip after Easter, please be in contact with your group leader and inquire about the plan for that particular trip.
- Outside groups such as AA and NAMI WILL meet this week. We are making decisions about meetings for outside groups on a week-by-week basis.
- We are working with StepUp and Boy Scout Troop 395 to determine the best course of action for the near and intermediate-term for these ministry partners.
- Please check the church website and read future emails about meals at WMPC, breakfasts and Wednesdays Together. Decisions about meals going forward will be made very soon.
- Pastoral Care will largely take place electronically and over the phone. Many of the facilities and hospitals where your loved ones may be admitted are inaccessible to us at this time or may soon be inaccessible. Please keep us informed and help us know how we may serve you as you are kept at a distance from your loved ones, also.
Thank you for your prayers as WMPC leadership discerns and monitors the ongoing situation. We encourage vigilance in the presence of the unknown but remain steadfast in the faith that God honors our efforts to worship and continue God’s work in spite of this temporary reality. May God bless you in these anxious times, -Christopher Edmonston, Pastor