(Originally Posted 2020-03-15)
Our pastors and church council continue to refine our response to the spread of COVID-19. Because people can start infecting others three days before they themselves start seeing symptoms, we want to do everything possible to keep our contacts with each other here at Grace as safe as possible.
In no way does this threaten or undermine our trust in God. We rely now, as much as we ever have, on His grace and mercy to keep us safe and guard us from all harm, both physically and spiritually. But as we heard in the Gospel two weeks ago, it is not right for us to "put the Lord to the test." (Matt 4:7) Faith in God's care does not exempt us from the recommendations of health-care practitioners. In fact, in our Lutheran Christian way of looking at such things, both doctors and public-health professionals are agents of God's own ongoing care for the world, doing His work - not just their own. Therefore, taking their directives seriously is one of the ways that we express and exercise our faith, as well as good citizenship.
For these reasons, then, our pastors and church leaders are taking the following steps.
1. If you become sick with the symptoms of a cold or flu, please stay home until you are feeling completely better. The coronavirus can be spread for as many as 12 days after a person recovers.
2. Cover your mouth with your sleeve, not your hand, if you need to cough or sneeze.
3. Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
4. Leave a little more space around yourself than usual, both in the pew and at the communion rail. A buffer of one meter is considered good.
5. Instead of sharing the peace with a handshake, let's use only our words.
6. Consider using an individual glass, not the common cup, during Holy Communion.Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Please keep this whole situation in your prayers