The Christian church has long been a place of gathering in times of trouble and worry. As new information and confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines, we want to be proactive in our community care and prevention.
As of the morning of Thursday, March 12, the Minnesota Department of Health is not recommending the cancellation of community events and church gatherings. If this changes, we will follow the suggestions of the MDH.
While we continue to gather for worship, we will make changes and suggestions to our community life together:
- In past weeks, we have moved to communion only by small disposable (compostable!) cups.
- We are continuing to provide our usual hand sanitizing station, and added an additional pump bottle near the kids’ worship supplies.
- We will be strongly encouraging social distancing during worship. This includes no-contact sharing of the peace (bump elbows, give a two finger “peace” sign, or fold hands in front in a prayer gesture).
- Social distancing in worship may also mean sitting further from each other than usual.
- Worship will continue to be livestreamed on our Facebook page (facebook.com/gracenempls). You do *not* need a Facebook account to watch the livestream.
- We are adding a call-in service so that those without access to a computer can listen by phone to worship! On Sundays at 10am, you may dial 646-558-8656 and enter meeting code 908-357-395 to join. (It may ask you for a participant ID, which you can skip by pressing pound.)
Our food shelf will base its opening and closing decisions on recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minneapolis Public School system, and our primary food partners Second Harvest Heartland and the Food Group (who are also implementing additional cleaning procedures).
If you’re scheduled to help with a service activity but you’re sick, you can call or text Pastor Emmy at 612-548-1439 (or contact whoever is in charge of your activity, like Lynn Mena if you’re working in the food shelf!) and she’ll work to find a replacement.
If you are concerned about your financial stability during the outbreak (especially if your employment will be affected), please contact Pastor Emmy so that we might look for resources together to help.
If you’re tired of singing Happy Birthday while you wash your hands, our ELCA colleagues out in the Delaware-Maryland Synod released this alternative:
Our life in Christ is one of compassion and mutual care, and we ask that everyone remain mindful and aware as we do our best to prevent the spread of all illness in our shared spaces. Please reach out if you have any questions or feedback. We will be monitoring the situation and communicating any changes that need to be made. Peace be with you.