Dear Fair Streeter,
In light of the recent events and announcements regarding COVID-19 now having a second case in Ulster County and the rising concerns, I wanted to send out a more formal update to share with you what we have been working on here at Fair Street over the past several days and how we are responding to the concerns raised. While there are some that might think these are extreme measures and precautions, we are taking these actions to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who enters the building. As we watch COVID-19 spread, we need to be wise and aware. These are the ways in which we are responding here are Fair Street and ask that you abide by them as well.
Here’s what we are doing at Fair Street regarding the heightened level of concern with COVID-19:
Greeting: you might have noticed that as you entered the sanctuary, the greeter did not shake your hand to welcome you. Rather she handed you the bulletin and spoke a greeting and welcome. The Deacons are available to open the doors for you as you enter and upon leaving. This is to help eliminate the spreading of germs.
The Passing of the Peace: For the time being, we are modifying how we greet one another, especially during the passing of the peace. We encourage you to wave, smile, or a give peace sign as you express ‘the peace of Christ be with you’. We can still connect without making contact.
Handwashing: There is hand sanitizer in the narthex, soap and paper towels for handwashing at each sink throughout the building. Please be mindful to wash your hands as often as you are able, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face. Please cough into a tissue (and throw the tissue out in the trash cans in the back of the sanctuary), or your elbow and refrain from touching your face.
The Offering: The Deacons will be passing the offering plate in front of you but will not be passing the plate up/down the rows at this time. This allows for you to give, and refrain from touching yet another surface. We also have it set up on our secure website that you can set up your offering gift online.
Nursery and Children and Worship/Sunday School: We are being faithful in wiping down the surfaces and washing hands before, during and after classes and time together in the rooms. The Nursery attendants are also aware and will be wiping down surfaces and toys, the teachers and leaders are aware and mindful of the appropriate precautions.
Communion and Food Prep Procedures: Those serving food during coffee hour will be wearing gloves as they set food items out and prepare the coffee. Please know that as we get closer to April Communion, the Elders will discuss how to safely offer this sacrament.
During the week: Paul and Anna, our custodians have been faithful in DAILY wiping down and disinfecting the highly contacted surfaces (doorknobs, railings, counters, faucets, etc.). We have also taken time on Saturdays to wipe down the hymnals and Bibles. However, this week, the hymns are printed in your bulletin. We do ask that you please recycle the paper used or leave in the basket at the back of the sanctuary for us to recycle.
Assess your health and the health of your household: If you or a family member have flu-like symptoms or a cough, we ask you to stay home and take care of you and yours instead of attending worship. Our parish family tends to be elderly, which is one of the most vulnerable populations. If you are sick, please let Pastor Kendra know by contacting the church office at 845-338-7722 or email@example.com so we can check on you. (If you have traveled out of the country in the past month, we do ask that you please stay home, it is about protecting and keeping everyone safe and not spreading germs.)
Future gatherings, meetings and worship: At this point, we will continue to hold worship, but again, ask if you are feeling sick, please stay home. Should the directive from the state or county level be to stay home and we need to cancel worship, the Consistory will be reaching out to all of you via phone and I will share her sermon via email and website. If you are concerned about attending a meeting at church, please contact the chairperson to verify that you are still meeting or that you will not be in attendance.
In the meantime, remember to take care of yourself. It is easy to be absorbed and overwhelmed by the news and constant updates. Remember, it is ok to turn off the news, take a deep breath, read a book, talk with a friend, play a game, laugh, go for a walk and get some fresh air and check on your neighbors. Most importantly, remember that God is with you in your midst, and pray for the many communities, families, individuals who have been deeply impacted and affected by COVID-19, pray for the healthcare teams and government leadership as they navigate and lead during this time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can reach me on my cell phone.
Grace and peace,
This message will also be printed in the bulletin, posted on the website. Updates will be sent out via email and posted on the website.