March 12, 2020
When the ministers and staff of First Congregational Church met yesterday for our weekly meeting, we were greeted with the news that two adult Winchester residents tested positive for COVID-19 and were isolating at home. This news coupled with 92 state cases and the State of Emergency declared by Governor Baker was sobering. As promise of a vaccine and rapid response treatments are in development, we must look to self-care and community measures to optimize our health and to protect those at risk.
After careful discernment and conversation with our church moderator, Sarah Gallop, and with the recommendation of our Conference Ministers at the Southern New England Conference, we have made the decision to live stream Sunday worship through the month of March instead of gathering together in person. We invite you to join us Sundays, March 15, 22, and 29 at 10 am. The link is: FCCW Streaming Channel
If this link doesn’t work on Sunday morning (we’ve had some trouble previously) then a back-up streaming of the service will happen on Facebook. We are also suspending, for the same time frame, all in-person group gatherings at the church and encouraging virtual meetings for those committees, ministries and activities that can be held online.
We make this decision with the safety of our immediate and wider community at heart. Timing is a critical factor in instituting community measures to slow down the virus. Both at a community conference held Sunday at the Science Museum and in the article cited at the end of this letter, hospital epidemiologists explain that our efforts to slow transmission of the virus matters. Huge spikes in cases have serious consequences on the capacity of our health care system, caregivers and medical resources to respond to the virus outbreak while concurrently treating other major medical problems. We are trying to do our part.
Safety, the spiritual well being of our members, and a deep love of our community guide these decisions. We are confident in our ability to be the living body of Christ during this time of uncertainty. We encourage everyone to find ways to stay connected to one another even as we must separate ourselves physically for a time. We, your Ministry Team, are committed to serving you during this holy season as we journey to Easter morning.
Kathleen Zagata, Health and Wellness Minister, on behalf of the Ministry Team and Staff