Olivet addressing the Corona Virus Situation
March 16, 2020
Dear Disciples of Jesus,
Grace, love, and peace be with you all. As you are aware, our communities are adjusting to curb and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 virus. While its full potential impact is unknown, it is wise and prudent to take some initial steps to care for each other and neighbors. Beginning as soon as possible we will be doing the following as a community:
MINISTRIES OF WORSHIP:
Please see updates on our website, our phone voicemail, Constant Contact.
- We will no longer be shaking hands during the sharing of the peace in worship or holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
- Ushers and greeters will sanitize their hands before their tasks.
- Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes will continue to be conspicuously placed around the sanctuary and Christian Life Center.
- Ushers will offer you hand sanitizer as you come forward for Communion.
- The offering plates will no longer be passed from hand to hand but will be placed at the front of the sanctuary and Christian Life Center where you may put your offering as you come forward for Communion. You may also give electronically through our web site or call the church office to have that set up for you.
- Friendship pads will not be distributed for the foreseeable future.
- Communion wine or grape juice will be served in disposable cups for all worship services. We ask you to reach for the wine and receive the bread as it is dropped into your hand without direct contact.
- If you are feeling ill, please join us for worship through our website at 11:00 rather than coming physically to church.
- Please call the church office to let us know that you are ill so that we can pray for you.
- Finally, if your leaders decide to suspend our 9:00 and 11:00 worship for a period, we will provide other means for you to worship. Our tech people are working on this
The above changes were implemented at the Sunday, March 15th services.
A record number of members viewed the LIVE broadcast from our website and/or watched the 11 am Vine service anytime yesterday.
MINISTRIES OF VISITATION:
Let us all be mindful of those who are especially vulnerable to illness and care for them in ways which will enhance their health. Hospitals and care facilities are limiting the visits of patients and residents. It is important to respect those limitations. For all of us involved in visitation ministries, please take extra precautions as you care for those we love. We know there are limitations currently, but if you know of other updates as time progresses, please let the office staff know. A loving phone call and a prayer over the phone can be a powerful blessing.
OTHER GATHERINGS OF THE CONGREGATION:
We have many gatherings of our community in different groups during the week. Those gatherings that have people particularly vulnerable to illness are asked to suspend their activities for a while. ALL faith formation programs were suspended for Sunday, 15th, through March with plans to analyze again in the next weeks. You can see details for all other activities by viewing the Olive Branch for March 15, 22, 29 – available under Resources on our website’s home page. www.olivetsylvania.org.
DAILY BREAD COMMUNITY MEAL will continue but as a drive thru-take out dinner for the duration of the health crisis. Food Pantry will continue its usual plan – Mon,Wed, Fri, 9-2 thru the office, with safeguards in effect. 1 pm Wednesday Food Distribution of produce, etc. will continue with modifications.
Our entire staff will be working to increase the cleaning of and sanitizing of frequently used surfaces throughout our building. If you should happen to find Center for Disease Control approved sanitizing wipes or liquid while shopping, please purchase some and bring them as you come to the building and leave them at the office or help in the effort yourself, notifying folks in the office of your presence.
We can make a big difference in our community during this time. We ask our Mission Emphasis Teams and all of us to be mindful of and responsive to emerging needs.
Needs that are already evident:
- Support for college students, international students who cannot go home, or poor students who have no home. These groups will have very limited support services during the shut-down. Many of them are stuck and have few resources.
- With schools closed, there may be a dramatic increase in need for our food sharing ministries as kids and families in need will not have school lunch support.
- Please remember that we also have our Olivet Christian Nursery School, its teachers and all its families under our loving care.
- If we are asked by a governmental or community agency about the use of our space for crisis management we will take all things into consideration in making a wise decision about the request.
Olivet staff will also be mindful of their health. While we all are passionate about our ministries, we will be self-monitoring. It may be necessary to shift staff priorities for a time to respond to immediate staff, community or congregational needs. That may interrupt the regular flow of things. We ask for your support and prayers and continued generosity as we journey together.
We welcome your mailed offerings, or those to be dropped off at the office. Easy online donations can be made via our website, or mobile pay via GIVEPLUS, available at the APP store on your smart phone.
Let us be diligent in prayer during these days. Here are some suggestions:
- For teachers, professors, school and university employees, and students.
- For researchers, health care workers, emergency responders and policy makers.
- For our vulnerable sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends who may be elderly, in care facilities, or nearing death.
- For those who may experience financial hardship in the coming months, that our community and our government may actively seek their relief.
- For our Olivet Community, that we may bear witness to the hope we have in Jesus and the powerful tradition we have of caring for our neighbors. In a recent letter, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reminded us of the powerful Lutheran perspective we have inherited from Martin and Katie Luther (www.elca.org).
- For calm and balance as we live out the love of Jesus, trusting that all is in God’s loving grace and that nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Please call the church office at any time. We will do our best to communicate with you via e-mail, Constant Contact, our website (olivetsylvania.org) and through our print publications. We ask you to be attentive to these. Constant Contact is available for the asking. Just call to say you want it emailed to you, usually on Fridays. (its rules mandate that you must give your permission, so we can’t randomly send it). It is also used for any special or immediate notifications.
Thank you for understanding that proactive and wise decisions are being made almost daily to follow necessary restrictions, so expect changes.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Love in Christ,
Penny Moran Pastor Nathan Tuff
Council President Lead Pastor