Caring for Our Communities in Response to COVID-19
Dear San Gabriel Presbytery family,
This has been a stressful and confusing time as we all try to come to terms
with the rapidly-changing guidelines regarding Coronavirus. The current
thinking is for all of us to sacrifice our busy lifestyles for the continued
health of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable. To that
end, and since we cannot know who is carrying the virus and thus risking
spreading it, it is important to consider how to restrict direct interaction
with others as much as possible, at least for the next month or so.
This weekend the Presbytery Executive Commission is considering whether
to cancel the March 28th Presbytery meeting; if so, we will announce in the
Monday Morning Update.
Please consider the following for your churches:
- Whatever you do, please consider the elderly (65 and older) and
those with compromised health (heart and lung problems, diabetes,
those taking medication that suppresses immunity or have
compromised immunity). This means not only limiting physical
exposure, but making phone calls and other ways to make sure they
do not feel forgotten.
- The State of California has limited gatherings of over 250, and the
City of Los Angeles is warning against gatherings in confined spaces
of over 50. Remember to keep at least 6 feet away from each other
when possible, and wash your hands whenever you can.
- For many of our churches, in-person worship is being curtailed, as
well as most meetings. Several sessions are deciding to suspend inperson
worship for Lent; others are looking for other ways to pray
together by phone or email; others are still offering in-person
worship but adding livestreaming and strongly encouraging people
to stay home and joining via livestream. Click HERE for information
on livestreaming (midway through the article).
- Many churches are suspending communion (or having only servers
handle the elements and using individual cups), and offering plates
should not be passed from person to person.
- Please look for ways to help others who are being more severely
impacted. Make sure your church’s staff are not penalized for taking
sick leave. Consider ways your church can support families with
children whose schools have shut down, or elders who are isolated or
worried about their retirement communities. Pray for and seek ways
to help the most vulnerable neighbors, such as the homeless.
- Consider offering online giving for those who want to continue
regular tithing. Your bank may offer an option for online giving or
you might choose to use Paypal. Also, the Presbyterian Foundation
can help you set up online giving.
MORE INFORMATION is available through the attached resources and
links. LA County has a section with resources in many languages, including
Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, etc. Go to
http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/, scroll down
to “Information For” and click “Other Specific Audiences,” which includes
“Faith Based Organizations.”
JOIN US FOR A GROUP CONFERENCE CALL on Tuesday, March 17 at
10:00 am to share questions, concerns, ideas, and best practices with sister
Blessings and constant prayers of thanksgiving and concern for your