• First Congregational Church and Coronavirus

    Dear Church,

    Your Ministry Team and Staff have been in conversation about our church’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak; what we need to be doing now and what we might need to be prepared for in the future. We see three levels that we’d like to address with you at this juncture.

    FIRST, we wanted to share the common sense precautions that we are taking, and encouraging you to take, in order to address not only the potential of coronavirus spread, but also the spread of the flu and other germs in this season. We currently have hand sanitizer stations around the church and are working to ensure an uninterrupted supply. Our Facilities Staff is working on a regular basis to disinfect surfaces and door knobs that see a lot of use. Our teachers and nursery care provider on Sunday mornings are being provided with cleaning wipes and encouraged to do a little extra cleaning before and after Sunday morning gatherings.

    Regarding worship, we want to remind everyone that the service can be streamed on-line every Sunday here: FCCW Streaming Channel and if you are not feeling well we encourage you to take care of yourself and join us from the comfort of your own home. If there comes a time when public gatherings are discouraged, then this will be the way we’ll continue to worship together on Sunday mornings. In the meantime, when we do gather for worship we remind you to greet one another and pass the peace of Christ with a big smile, or a bow, or a some other sign of greeting that doesn’t involve direct contact.

    Ed Banzy, our building manager, is in conversation with the Nursery School and Chinese School – the two organizations that use our church the most – about precautions they are taking to ensure the containment of germs. Speaking of the Chinese School, the SECOND level of this issue is the xenophobia that this outbreak threatens to spread. Last Sunday there were some young children in Stepping Stones who were concerned about being in classrooms that had held the Chinese School for fear of people from China spreading the virus. This fear that is apparently moving from the public realm into the minds and hearts of our youngest children is as real and dangerous as the virus itself and we need to be diligent about educating ourselves and our children to prevent any mistreatment or ostracizing of the people around us. Historically, scapegoating minority groups in the face of public health crisis has happened in our country and around the world. Articles like this one can be helpful for greater consciousness around these issues: The coronavirus exposes the history of racism….

    Finally, the THIRD level of this that we’d like to highlight is the need to resist the temptation to circle the wagons and take care of only our own, especially if this grows into a greater crisis. Let us as a church continue to ask how we can tend to the most vulnerable populations around us who tend to bear the greater burden of any public health crisis. How are our house-bound neighbors? How are the elderly in group homes doing? How are the soup kitchens fairing? Are our Chinese neighbors feeling ostracized or mistreated in this? As our Lenten worship series will be highlighting, Jesus’ 7 Last Words from the Cross speak concern for others even in his hour of great crisis and personal suffering. So let us also hold in prayer all those around the world who are sick and dying and full of fear, especially those in the hot spot areas where the virus is most prevalent. Thank you!

    Yours in Christ,
    Rev. Will Burhans and the Ministry Team and Staff of FCCW

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