An Update for COVID-19
March 13th, 2020 | April Karli
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
In the midst of an unprecedented situation in our lifetimes, we as church leaders are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 crisis. We are engaging with leaders and educational opportunities offered by networks we are affiliated with including Ecclesia and Fresh Expressions.
Right now, we plan to have liturgy on Sunday. It is possible this may change! If so, we will alert you as soon as we are able.
We have taken many steps to reduce the possibility of the spread of the virus (outlined below). If you feel unwell, have a fever, or have had a fever in the past 24 hours, please stay home. If you would just prefer to stay home, we support your decision to do that as well.
One of the most beautiful expressions of love from within our community at Austin Mustard Seed is that some of you have volunteered to help the congregation at Rosedale with errands to protect the elderly and immunocompromised among them from going out in public. If you would like to be added to that list, let April know.
Let us know how we can support you through this. If you need help with errands, prayer, or other support, please reach out. Even as we must isolate ourselves more, our hope is to remain connected through the means available.
We are available to talk if you have questions or concerns about anything throughout this time. Our hope is to support and care for one another.
This is the email sent Wednesday, March 11:
As concerns about COVID-19 grow we want to begin by being rooted in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom throughout the duration. Our desire is to reduce the anxiety that heightens during a crisis like this while being able to love and serve our neighbors. We want to be prepared, but not panic stepping forward with faith and in the peace of Christ.
Part of the unique role of the church is to be the embodied presence of Christ during times of crisis, to offer peace, hope, and practical care for those around us. Please know that we are available if you need to reach out for practical assistance, prayer, or other support.
As the situation continues to develop, we are paying attention to the news, city leaders, and recommendations for best practices for churches to protect everyone, especially the most vulnerable within our communities. We will communicate as soon as we’re able about changes to liturgy or other gatherings.
Taking this into consideration, we are making changes in order to help minimize the chance of spreading COVID-19 as well as other viruses. We ask for your help and cooperation as this is an evolving situation.
- Greeting & Passing of the Peace: Rather than hugging or shaking hands, consider waving, making the peace sign, or bowing like you’re in a Jane Austen novel.
- Coffee: We are suspending coffee service for now. We know that many of you love to grab a cup of delicious coffee on Sundays, but believe that it’s best we reduce the number of shared touched items in our space. Unfortunately, you’ll have to bring your own coffee or beverage of choice until further notice.
- Eucharist: We have already made changes to serving Eucharist over the past two weeks in response to the virus. Eucharist servers sanitize hands before serving the bread and wine. In addition, we are using individual cups for wine rather than common cup. Parents, we ask that you serve your children the wine from the serving trays. We will no longer be touching anyone one the head or face to administer a blessing at the table.
- Offering: Offering baskets will no longer be passed around but placed in the Orange Chapel for you to place your offering in. We will let you know on Sunday where we’ve decided to place them.
- Common Areas & Kidurgy: Volunteers will be wiping down door handles, toys, and other shared items in our common areas and Kidurgy spaces with sanitizing wipes each week.
- Hand Sanitizer: We have been unable to find a large quantity of hand sanitizer to have in the Orange Chapel and Kidurgy spaces. Until we are able to track some down, we ask that you please bring your own and use it as needed. We do have plenty of soap, so please wash your hands to your favorite tune.
- If you are feeling unwell: Please stay home if you are feeling unwell or are concerned about exposure. We want you to take care.
In the meantime, remember to take care of yourself and your mental and emotional health. Spend time doing things that bring you life. Take a break from the news. Pray. Go outside. Read a book.
We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate via email and social media. Stay tuned for updates.