COVID19 UPDATE

To the Members and Friends of East Whittier Presbyterian Church,

As I begin this, I want to say… Actually, I’m not sure what word to use. “Thanks” is a part of it. “Congratulations” too. And “Honor.” The point is this: You have been remarkably faithful. You’ve been faithfully participating in worship through our YouTube videos. You’ve been faithful in remaining connected one to another. You’ve been faithful in giving. You’ve been faithful on prayer. You have been amazing. You have been wonderful. What we are doing together is historic, and it is God working in and among you that is making it happen, and I am so privileged to be a part of it.

Now, at various levels of government, there is encouragement to end Distancing Orders and to open the churches again. And with that, we are getting calls and questions about when we might do that.

With that said, the Novel Coronavirus is still out there. It has now killed well over 110,000 Americans, and many, even of those who’ve survived, have been left with lasting impact such as stroke damage, heart damage, and scarring in the lungs. And even now, we’re still averaging, in America, more than 1,000 deaths each day.

While there is still very good reason to hope for effective treatments and an effective vaccine, the development of such treatments takes time. And we aren’t likely to see any of these treatments until at least the last part of this year and more likely into the Spring of next year.

We didn’t put our worship gatherings in the sanctuary on hiatus because any government official told us to do so. We freely chose to do so, out of love for one another and for those most vulnerable among us, because we believed that God would want us to care for one another in that way. We did so with prayer, with tears, and with much open conversation. And we believe that opening must also look to health and safety as our first concern.

Our plan right now is to try to hold a single worship service in our Sanctuary at the regular time (10:30 AM) on June 21. We would have a number of strict rules as we do this. Afterwards, we’ll be able to talk about what we did right, what we did wrong, what worked, and what didn’t. We’ll be able to learn. Then, a few weeks later, we’ll try it again. Hopefully, later in the Summer, we’ll be able re-start on a more ongoing basis.

In between, we’ll continue to make our “Worship At Home” YouTube videos available at our website (ewpc.org). And even on those Sundays when we do have worship in the Sanctuary, the video of that service will be available later in that afternoon.

For our in-Sanctuary worship service on June 21, the rules will be as follows:

  1. If you are feeling sick or symptomatic in any way, please stay home. Fever, headache, sniffles, loss of taste/smell… anything that could suggest that you’re not well. Please check your temperature in the morning prior to coming to the church, and if you have an elevated temperature, stay home. In fact, even if you’ve been around anyone who has such symptoms, please stay home. We love you, but please stay home. We will get the video up later in the day.
  2. If your health is compromised or if you feel that you have any particular risk, especially if you have any sort of preexisting medical condition such as serious heart concerns or lung concerns, again, we love you, but please stay home. We will get the video up later in the day.
  3. Masks will be mandatory. This is a CDC-recommended health practice. The reason is that some who actually have the virus and can spread it have no symptoms and therefore aren’t aware. Wearing a mask makes it less likely that someone who has the virus will spread it. I wear my mask to protect you, and you wear yours to protect me. Masks must be worn correctly, covering both nose and mouth, at all times both during the service throughout the entire building/facility.
  4. We will practice distancing in the Sanctuary. Families who live together may sit together. But even families who live apart should sit apart.
  5. There will be no Bibles or Hymnals in the pew racks. If you would like to bring your own Bible from home, please do. But do not pass it around.
  6. We wish we could shake hands and hug. We cannot. We need to avoid all physical contact. Remaining 6 feet apart is the minimum. 10 feet or even 12 feet would be better. Even if you don’t feel afraid of catching the virus, please do not approach others to greet each other with handshakes, elbows, or any other physical contact.
  7. We will not take an offering during the service. This is so that we won’t be passing plates from person to person. There will be offering plates available in the narthex so that you can leave your offering on the way out.
  8. The doors will not open until 10:15 AM. And there will be no organized fellowship time afterwards. There will be no refreshments. Purdy Hall will be closed.
  9. There will be no Sunday School or childcare. Any children should remain in the Sanctuary with their parents.

This all sounds crazy, and we all wish it didn’t have to be this way. But for now, it does. It isn’t just that we don’t want to be on the news as the latest “super-spreader” event. It’s that we love you, and we can’t bear to lose a single one. And we will continue to flex and adjust and adapt this plan as circumstances dictate or allow.

Again, I want to thank and commend you for your faithfulness. You are and have been amazing. I hope that many of you will be able to make it, as we begin with a couple of “trial runs” for Covid-19 Safe Sanctuary Worship. It will be wonderful to worship together again. We hope to return to a more regular and consistent schedule before too long. And, in the meantime as well as in between our “trial runs”, please continue to join us for worship time though the website and our YouTube channel.

In Christ,

Rev. Jeff W. Rumble

 


 

 






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Phone: 562-698-9948 • churchoffice@ewpc.org
East Whittier Presbyterian Church – ADA Accessible
14061 Second Street, Whittier, CA 90605

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