MARCH 12, 2020
Dear Friends and Community,
Grace, truth and peace be with you all. I am guessing that this isn’t the first letter you are receiving about safety regarding the pandemic of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Much is being written and various actions are being taken to minimize exposure.
For us at St. Mark’s, because we gather in Word and Sacrament, questions arise about the transmission of the virus. “Is it possible or not to contract COVID-19/Coronavirus through food?” “Should we cancel worship?” Currently there is no indication that the virus can be transmitted through food. However, it does pass via hard surfaces and in the air, and can live for 2-3 days. So we are taking extra measures to ensure the health and safety of our faith community. We are committed to:
- Daily wiping all flat surfaces, doorknobs, and railings with disinfectant.
- Instigating safe Communion practices, including handwashing by all Communion servers and the use of “purificators” (essentially, Communion napkins) to hold the bread.
- Suspending any additional groups’ use of our church building.
- Continuing pastoral visits/practices at this time, depending on facility regulations.
This week we also installed a new hot water heater in the church sacristy to better wash hands and Communion serving vessels. And, as things evolve over the coming weeks, we will continue to be proactive. You can check for updates on this website page (StMarksAurora.net/SAFETY), Facebook pages, and in our weekly email.
In addition to these proactive measures, we are asking the following of you:
- Wash your hands when you enter the church. Since hand sanitizers are in short supply, we have washing stations in the narthex, hallway, and all bathrooms.
- Instead of shaking hands during the passing of the peace, please symbolically exchange the peace with an elbow bump, peace sign, or simply a head nod.
- If you are sick, please stay home.
While we shudder at the idea of “social distancing,” we are asking that all congregation members take extra precaution in the upcoming weeks. By keeping social distance and “holding back” from unnecessary contact, we are showing our love and concern for those who are most vulnerable.
Let’s be honest: Many of us have concerns over how this will affect our lives, and rightly so! This week, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton addressed COVID-19 with these helpful words: “Do not take unnecessary risks. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable. [As] Luther reminded his people and us, trust God's faithfulness.”
We promise that we are grateful and love each of you and will be happy to hug, shake hands, and perhaps even dance once this has passed! If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us. We are here to serve.
Becky Mueller (Council Chair)