By Scott Petersen
We’ve been closely tracking the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) both locally and globally. As you have probably heard, Michigan reported the first two cases of the coronavirus a couple days ago (one is hospitalized at U of M). Everything we have read informs us that this virus is primarily spread through close contact so we want to take precautionary measures to create a safe and healthy environment for us all to gather and worship. Before we get into the details of the plans, I want to talk about our posture and how we should respond as Christ followers.
If you have tuned on the local or national news or had a conversation with a friend about this, the spread of this virus is causing a great amount of fear and anxiety. 1 John 1:18 teaches us that there is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. We have been praying this week that God would shine and show up during this time of fear and that as followers of Jesus we can lead in showing love and trust in our Heavenly Father. This does not mean we should be careless, rather that we may work together to serve our church and community in a way that demonstrates trust in our God, who is in control.
We have a staff team that is monitoring updates from the MDHHC and the CDC and basing our preparedness plan on the latest information available. This plan will change and adjust based on the updates we receive, but as of March 12, 2020, here are the precautions we are taking to increase health measures and mitigate the spread of germs.
Volunteers this week will be cleaning the surfaces of the church building thoroughly. Want to help? Come up to church @ noon on Saturday to help clean and sanitize.
We recommend that you give your tithe and offering online or through text to give by texting your offering to 855-303-3846. Starting this week, we will not pass offering bags during the service but will have them available on the way out of the auditorium.
Disposable coffee cups will be offered in place of the ceramic cups. The Hospitality team will wipe the counter surfaces and handles regularly. No snacks will be offered during this time.
To minimize your need to touch door handles, our volunteer teams will hold exterior doors open to greet you.
Starting next month, we will not take communion by our normal practice of intinction (lining up, tearing off bread and dipping into juice) Instead, we will observe the sacrament by providing prepackaged, individually wrapped Communion elements, prior to service.
When greeting others during services, we recommend you greet each other with smiles and waves instead of handshakes.
Volunteers are committed to wiping down check-in surfaces, toys, and tables with disinfectant wipes in the Friendship Kids space between all services. Hand sanitizer is available just inside each Kids class door, as well as available throughout the building. It will be required for each child and teacher to apply sanitizer upon entering the room.
OUTSIDE GROUP BUILDING USE
All building use from outside groups are being cancelled or postponed for the next 30 days. This allows us to control the usage of spaces and their cleaning.
JOIN US ONLINE
If you find yourself feeling sick, we encourage you to join us online. Download or stream the message HERE
We are also working quickly to have the entire service streaming live on Sundays in the coming weeks. More details about this will be communicated soon.
We encourage you to take some time to understand proper prevention measures to avoid spreading the virus by reading through the CDC recommendations here.
Here are some of the basic measures listed on the CDC website:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Many of us would say we don’t touch our face very often; however, a recent “test” of this posture on a local TV station counted over 25 touches in one minute of a correspondents story.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm (and not your hand) or a tissue. If a tissue is used, dispose of it in the trash immediately.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
We will provide necessary updates to you via email and post them on Friendshipchurchinfo.com. I ask that you be prayerful for our world and community, specifically for those who are directly impacted by this virus.