Wednesday, March 10, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Over the last few weeks our city’s public health officials asked schools, churches, and organizations that serve and gather the public to begin taking extra precautions in the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. We have been following the protocols many other churches are putting into place, especially the recommended guidelines from the United Church of Christ and the Center for Disease Control.
At Christian Fellowship, we will continue to be calm, prayerful and prepared. As a sign of our hospitality and our care for all people, especially children, seniors, and friends with compromised immune systems, we are taking the following steps effective immediately:
1. Hand Sanitizer is now available at the entrance to the sanctuary and fellowship hall, and throughout our buildings. Please help yourself as often as you would like. We have stepped up the cleaning and disinfecting of our church by wiping down pews, hymnals, offering and communion trays, door knobs/handles and we invite you to join us in being a little extra tidy to help support our overall work. The most important thing we can do is to remember to wash our hands for at least 20 seconds, that’s about the length of time it takes to pray the “Lord’s Prayer.”
2. The Passing of the Peace will continue to be a verbal greeting rather than a physical one. As a sign of our forgiveness and an assurance that we are God’s people, we will turn to one another offering cheerful words. You may find it helpful to clasp your own hands together in a prayerful position, or place your hands over your heart and over a slight nod to one another, or be more inventive perhaps with a foot tap. Please refrain from our usual handshakes, hugs, fist-bumps and high-fives. At the close of the service, the pastor and deacon/liturgist will continue to greet you in the back of the sanctuary, though we will also refrain from extending hugs and handshakes.
3. Communion will continue to be celebrated with the pastor and deacons using gloves immediately before serving the meal. We are strongly considering the use of individualized pre-packaged communion, however in the meantime we ask that you please be mindful to only touch the bread you intend to eat and the cup you intend to drink when you are served.
4. Wednesday’s Community Meal & Sunday’s Morning Fellowship Hour will continue and hand sanitizer will made available before our community fellowship meals, and those who gather for our shared meals will be encouraged to wash their hands.
5. First Friday Food Bank will continue to serve members of our community in need on the First Friday of the month, and implement protocols and procedures suggested by the San Diego Food Bank as they become available to safeguard both our volunteers and guests.
6. Pastoral Care remains a high priority for the pastor and the Diaconate and Evangelism Board, and a system has been developed and implemented for Deacons to touch bases with every member of our congregation, especially those who have noticeably absent from worship and fellowship for several consecutive weeks and regular attendees of the Jazz Vespers.
Most importantly, do what you need to do and take care of yourself. We remain open to suggestions, and appreciate your grace in understanding our need to prayerfully take these precautions.
Rev. Dr. J. Lee Hill, Jr., Senior Pastor
Randy K. Jones, Esq., Moderator