SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS
North Cincinnati Friends & Family,
As I communicated on Sunday morning, as those God has called to shepherd the flock of God at North Cincinnati, our elders take our responsibility to lead and care for God’s people seriously (1 Peter 5:1-5). With the increasing concern over the corona virus, we met this evening to discuss what action steps we believe should be taken to be diligent in caring for our congregation.
As those called to be examples to the flock, our desire is to make decisions that are made out of faith rather than fear, and yet are also wise, thoughtful, and loving to our members. Following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we have discussed our current ministry activities, and have identified steps we are taking to prevent and mitigate any impact of COVID-19 on our congregation. To be clear, we are currently aware of no known cases of corona virus impacting those in our church. However, given the steps other organizations in our community are taking, and the rate at which things have been developing, we think it is wise to take the following steps as precautionary measures.
• Following the recommendations of the CDC, we encourage everyone to monitor their health, and to refrain from church activities if you have symptoms of illness. While these precautions are always appropriate, please exercise additional caution given the time in which we find ourselves. Please remember that your personal care and hygiene not only impacts you but also others in your church community. Your attentiveness in this area is a way of loving your neighbors, particularly the elderly among us.
• Secondly, all church activities are being cancelled temporarily except Sunday morning worship at 10:45 AM, and the support ministries that accompany the worship service (Nursery aged-child care, and Wee Worship). This action is temporary and indefinite. We will continue to monitor and follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health and will update the congregation weekly via our normal communication channels of the church website, church email, and Facebook page.
• Given that we are in the midst of a season of change as a congregation, we are also exploring ways to continue hosting our Sunday morning Q&A Forums virtually and will update you as soon as possible once we identify how to proceed. While we would certainly prefer to be together in person, but we are thankful for the ministry opportunities that modern technology affords us.
• Our facility is receiving extra cleaning attention and we are limiting risk by eliminating the use of the building by outside groups, in addition to our own ministries throughout the week.
• We are temporarily modifying our practice of collecting the weekly offering in our worship service. Rather than passing offering plates on Sunday morning we will have a collection box in the back of the sanctuary for those who would like to give on Sunday mornings as an act of their worship. A second option is to give online through our church website which a number of our members do already.
• We are also temporarily modifying our communion practices. We will be preparing and serving both elements in such a way that the only hands that have touched the elements will be the person receiving them.
On behalf of our elders, I would also like to provide you with a word of pastoral encouragement. As we see in the example of Nehemiah, we are to be diligent, responsible and faithful, and yet not fearful or filled with anxiety. We rest in the knowledge that our Savior is Risen and Reigns, and yet that same Savior calls us to exercise wisdom as we serve Him. Jesus reminds us that our fear accomplishes nothing: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27).
Rather than fear, let us pray for all those impacted, for the health of our community, and for the many health care professionals who labor in our city and around the world. May our hearts rest in His grace, and our hands extend His grace as we seek to care for one another.
Again, please remember that these actions are only temporary. We will continue to monitor and follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health and will update the congregation weekly via our normal communication channels of the church website, church email, and Facebook page.
With you and for you,