Greetings from the Coronavirus Task Force! Since we last came to you in August with an update, the Coronavirus Task Force has continued to meet biweekly with each other, holding fast to our commitment to attend to the ongoing needs of our church in light of the pandemic. Our work has informed much of how we gathered with each other during these fall months. We have been engaging together in multiple online spaces, over phone calls and handwritten info notes, and occasionally at our church house — outside, distanced, and masked. You, our beloved church family, have always been first ones on our mind and hearts as we live into God’s call to be “a community in the heart of the city called by Jesus to practice bold love of God and neighbor and boundless compassion for all people.”
But as you’ve likely read and seen in the news, the spread of covid in our world has taken a sharp upward swing, and our community is no different. Forsyth County is now 4th out of 100 counties in numbers of positive covid cases. In just the past two weeks, the positive covid cases in Forsyth County have grown from 5.6% to 11%. Even within our church family, a growing number of you have had close proximity to the illness or been sick with covid yourself. Last month, we grieved over the first covid-related death of one in our church family. The landscape created by this virus is indeed grim.
Because of the growing urgency of this moment, our Task Force has concluded this week that in order to uphold our commitments of love to one another, we must suspend any church-related in-person gatherings until further notice. Most immediately, this impacts Sunday’s drive-through communion, outdoor gatherings this month for children and youth, and our Christmas Eve worship on the front lawn.
If hearing these words leaves you feeling sad and disappointed, you are not alone. As we came to this decision, we, too, felt a wave of grief. We know that you are weary of the pandemic, and perhaps even more in this holy season of Advent than before, longing to draw near to each other right now.
It is because of our commitment to each other, because of the love we hold fiercely for the most vulnerable in our midst, because of our trust in the God who never leaves us, that we make this decision. And yet, we are not without hope! With vaccines on the horizon and a broadening response to the pandemic, we know the landscape can shift quickly. Our Task Force will continue to meet every two weeks and assess this decision, and we promise to stay in close contact with you along the way. We are working closely with our staff to imagine how this season can still be meaningful to each of us, even if we cannot be together.
Should you have questions or concerns, we invite you to email the Coronavirus Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org; we welcome your feedback! On all our behalf, we give such thanks for you, dear church, for the ways you are loving God and loving one another.
May our waiting be expectant, may our hope be steadfast, and may we continue to bind to God and one another for such a time as this. Blessings to you this day!
Grace + peace,
The Coronavirus Task Force
Gary Stiffler, chair, Deacons
Roper Halverson, vice chair, Deacons
Scott Hudgins, chair, Finance
Joanne Henley, chair, Personnel
Joy Gambill, chair, Missions
Linda Lewis, co-chair, Senior Adult Ministry Team
Emily Hull McGee, pastor