March 6, 2020 - Hope, Preparedness, Compassion, and Prayer
Dear Members of Second
Among the most important privileges of leading our congregation is the responsibility to address concerns in a way that is faithful, gracious, and wise. Engaging in important discussion and equipping you with timely, valuable information is part of belonging, part of growing together, part of sharing life in community.
It is in this spirit that I wanted to write you regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the way your church is engaged – through our ongoing conversations with medical professionals and the public health community – in taking steps to be equipped and prepared. As we take these steps, the health of our community is of utmost concern to the pastors, session, and staff of Second.
A few important points for you to know:
- Second Presbyterian Church will follow all directives from the state and county departments of public health. We encourage you to follow the standard recommendation of all health agencies — if sick with respiratory symptoms and/or fever and unable to join us on Sunday, let our LiveStream worship (www.secondchurch.org) bring the sermon and the strength of community to you.
- Those same agencies are reminding us of the best practices to encourage prevention — frequent handwashing with antibacterial soap, coughing or sneezing into our elbows, and avoiding contact if we are experiencing symptoms. CityWide, our cleaning contractor, will continue our practice of deep cleaning, which we began at the outset of flu season.
- Since passing the peace is a particular concern at this time, instead of shaking hands during Sunday worship, we will encourage folks to share a verbal greeting, an elbow bump, a wave. There are many ways to show the warmth of Christ’s love and to express Christ’s call to reconciliation in the church and the world. As always, we will honor one another’s decisions to participate, or not, according to their comfort level and condition.
As Christians, we are called to be good and responsible stewards – which includes being aware and being vigilant. We are also called to offer our support to those who are sick and their caregivers. We are called to love our neighbors in tangible ways. We are called to pray for the vulnerable, for medical professionals and public health officials, and for leaders who carry the heavy weight of public responsibility. At Second Presbyterian Church we are a welcoming community of faith, and we meet this growing concern with hope, preparedness, compassion, and prayer.
With peace and grace,
Christopher A. Henry
Senior Pastor, Second Presbyterian Church