As news about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 continues to spread, it is important that we, a people of faith, stay connected, prayerful and grounded in our shared love of God and neighbor. Pastor Carrie is committed to walking with you in this time of questions and uncertainty. Most importantly, God is with us and will continue to be in the days, weeks and months ahead. The words of the prophet Isaiah come to mind:
But now thus says the Lord, the one who created … [and] formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mind. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
For the safety and wellbeing of all, a CUMC COVID-19 Planning and Response Team has been assembled to help us prevent the spread of the infection of this virus and others. This team is actively involved in planning and adopting mitigation practices and closure policies to help keep the church healthy. We will be closely monitoring the situation and plan to follow recommended guidelines set forth by The Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/) and the Minnesota Department of Health (https://www.health.state.mn.us/). We promise to be in regular communication with you about these decisions. The COVID-19 Planning and Response Team urges everyone to engage in frequent and thorough hand washing and has decided to implement the following practices moving forward:
- Consistent Bishop Bruce Ough's March 16th recommendation, "live" Sunday morning worship will be suspended until at least May 10.
- All programming, meetings and opportunities for spiritual growth will convene electronically using Zoom.
- Wednesday night choir rehearsals and Tuesday bell choir rehearsals are on pause for the time being.
- Special events and classes are deferred until further notice.
- External groups who utilize the church facility will not be permitted to meet in the building until "live" worship and in-person programming resumes.
- Extra cleaning measures will be taken throughout the facility using EPA-approved cleaners for COVID-19.
- Pastoral visitation will continue via phone and email only.
- All funerals will be delayed.
- Communication methods will continue via email, social media, website and snail mail.
- We will be purchasing hand sanitizer dispensers and stands to have available outside Sanctuary doors upon our return to "live" worship. As supplies are available, additional hand sanitizer will be readily accessible throughout the church at that time.
As always, we will be livestreaming our Sunday worship services and we hope you will join us online! To watch the service live, go to our home page and click on “watch live.” To watch the service at a different time throughout the week, go to the home page and scroll down to the current sermon series graphic. Click on “watch.” If you visit the website on Sunday afternoon and do not yet see the service from that morning listed, please check back later. The service will be posted shortly.
Lastly, we anticipate that there will be individuals and families experiencing financial challenges or struggles during the pandemic. If you are one of those people/households needing assistance, please let Pastor Carrie know. We want to help you however we can.
Should you/your household feel compelled to help those who are struggling, please consider making a financial donation or mailing a Target, Aldi, Walmart or Cub Foods gift cards to the church. You can also help by volunteering to run errands for someone or even drive them to a medical appointment. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
We are living in a scary and seemingly unprecedented time, but we also know that God is faithful, and God will provide. As Isaiah 43:19 says, “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Together, we can be a calming presence in our community because we are a people of hope! We believe in the resurrection, that life triumphs over death and that hope wins out over fear.
Please don't hesitate to let Pastor Carrie know if you have any questions or concerns. She is here to support you, your families, your ministries and your spiritual growth however possible. In the meantime, know that you are held in prayer.
Simple Actions to Prevent the Spread of Infection:
- Stay at home when sick, as isolation is one of the best means to minimize viral spread
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (you might consider praying the Lord’s Prayer while you wash), and help young children do the same. If no soap and water, use 60% (or greater) alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve. Immediately throw away used tissues and wash or sanitize your hands
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid close contact (use a 6 ft rule), sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as: toys, doorknobs, light switches, tables, countertops and electronics (e.g. computer keypad and mouse, touch screens)
- Practice good health habits: get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage stress, drink recommended amounts of water and eat nutritious food, as these all help increase immunity to fight disease
- CDC does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from infection, BUT people who become ill should wear a mask and be isolated from others to prevent airborne particles from spreading and infecting others.