As news of the COVID-19 continues, you’ve likely heard and read information from a variety of sources. Pastor Anna and our church council president recently attended a meeting on March 3rd led by the King County Public Health Department. Based on their guidance, we offer the following response with consideration and appreciation for the diverse populations that share spaces in our building.
Know that, at this time, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is still low. Taking precautions is how we can keep that risk low, while continuing our practices of gathering, serving, and caring for each other that are the beating heart of this community.
The virus itself is transmitted through droplets, so our first defense should be to exercise good personal hygiene. This is a good time to remember the same steps we would take to contain the spread of the flu or common cold:
If you are over the age of 60 or have underlying health issues, such as those that would also indicate caution during flu season, you are encouraged to be in conversation with your medical professional. If you choose to refrain from attending gatherings, please inform your pastor or another trusted leader. This will help reduce concern when we don’t see you, and allow your community to offer support.
If you use communal space for any reason (meetings, rehearsals, worship set up, chatting with friends, special events, etc.) we ask you to help keep the building sanitary by utilizing our new Sanitizing Stations set up in the Boardroom, Emmaus Lounge, Narthex/Entryway, Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. By cleaning high touch surfaces, such as door knobs and table tops, both when you enter a space and when you leave it, this will go a long way to curtail the spread of illness. A sign near each station provides instructions.
Children’s toys that were in the Emmaus Lounge have been removed. Consider bringing activities from home, and taking them with you when you leave. Sanitizing surfaces like plastic buckets and table tops, especially in the children’s area, is still encouraged.
If you are a tenant with your own dedicated space, we trust you will take the precautions you deem appropriate. If you have questions or want additional support, you may contact the church office.
Our custodial staff will continue to sanitize high touch surfaces, as we always have, and will pay special attention to ensuring hand washing and sanitizing supplies are available for your use.
As of March 4th, the health department is asking for those who can feasibly avoid bringing large groups of people together, to consider postponing events and gatherings. We will be giving this ongoing and careful consideration, and changes to any events in the future will be shared on our website, through social media accounts and by email.
As of March 5th, the leadership of St. John United has decided on the following changes to our schedule:
For the full update, visit our most recent post. Another update will be provided on March 11th, unless a sooner one is warranted.
For this season of worship the baptismal font will be drained and communion will be served in individual cups. We will pass the peace using no-touch or low-touch methods.
For coffee hour, soup suppers and other events where food is served, we will no longer employ a self-service method. Persons in charge of food should designate persons who will serve food to people, using either gloves or serving utensils, and only with thoroughly washed hands.
For all events, you’re encouraged to use no-touch or low-touch methods of greeting each other. Consider elbow bumps, showing a peace sign or offering only a verbal greeting. Finding new methods can be fun!
The hot meal program continues, with the addition of hand washing stations and the continuation of proper food service practices. Volunteer help is always appreciated and especially at this time. Contact their volunteer coordinator or simply show up on a meal day ready to take directions.
Officials informed us that it is unlikely that our church would be called upon to be a respite or quarantine site, but we also know that care for our unhoused neighbors has often been inadequate. As such, we remain in close contact with SHARE leaders and attentive to how we can assist. If you feel moved to offer support now, you can give online at sharewheel.org.
Finally, this is a good time to remember that Viruses Don’t Discriminate and Neither Should We. In all things we do, let us resist misinformation, remain calm, treat all people with compassion, be prudent in our care for self and each other.
For more and developing information, you can visit kingcounty.org/covid.