March 12, 2020
Things have been moving fairly fast this week in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how as a church family we should respond. We are in discussions as to how to best care for members of our church family and beyond, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
The Wolf Administration has just put out a statement with restrictions and suggestions for neighboring Montgomery County. He has also given some guidelines for the state of Pennsylvania. They are…
- The Wolf Administration strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more.
The Wolf Administration discourages individuals from traveling to recreational activities like gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls.
The Wolf Administration encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness.
- In light of these guidelines we felt it would be prudent to communicate with you on this topic.
Statistically those over 70 are the most vulnerable to serious illness as a result of this virus. We are aware that we have vulnerable people in our ministries at Zions.
We do not wish to restrict being able to meet together as a church body in worship to God at this time. We do not currently have 250 individuals at any of our Worship services at one time. But in light of this advice from the Wolf administration we’ve decided to put some protective measures in place at Zions:
- If you have been in China, Iran, Europe or South Korea please self isolate for 14 days after you return.
- If you or your children show symptoms of fever, dry cough or sore throat and have recently been overseas or have had contact with a confirmed case, or have a suspected case you should self isolate and seek medical attention.
- At the present time, all our planned ministry activities are GOING AHEAD.
- Everyone is encouraged to follow personal hygiene guidelines, including the regular washing of hands and minimizing physical contact. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is best practice. We will also have hand sanitizers available around the building.
- We will put the lyrics to all songs, including hymns on the screen so you can avoid handling the hymnals.
- We will encourage everyone when greeting people, to refrain from making physical contact as much as possible. (ex. refrain from handshakes or other forms of embrace)
- We will be sanitizing and cleaning the sanctuary, classrooms and commonly touched surfaces each week. Please clean surfaces after you use them in your group meetings and if using other areas in the church during the week.
- We will not pass the offering baskets but will make them available in the back of the sanctuary each service to avoid many hands and germs being spread. You may also take advantage of our online giving service. We encourage you not to refrain from your normal tithing and even increase your giving as this will further enable the church to respond to people in need throughout this season.
- We will have video and audio podcasts available on our website each week so you can watch online if you don’t feel comfortable or are highly vulnerable and wish to not attend services. Please take advantage of this and share with others the good news of Jesus Christ through this resource.
We are monitoring this situation as it unfolds and if we have to change or act further on anything we will be sure to update you as soon as possible. We know that the risk is very low at this point and this advice might seem too prescriptive and some may think we are overreacting. However, it’s important we do our part to ensure our community stays safe and is cared for during this outbreak.
It is important to remember that God is in control and that His word says we shouldn’t fear. We should continue to praise Him and trust Him. Please join us in praying for the situation and that God would bring about healing and a solution, for health authorities and governments around the world, as they lead us. and for the opportunity to show Christ - like love and concern for others during these times.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
The Leadership of Zions Church