March 13, 2020
Our heads are spinning and our hearts are anxious as we get regular updates on the spread of the coronavirus. New closures are being announced almost hourly. It’s hard to keep up: airline travel, sporting events, colleges sending students home to work online.
We’re doing our best to try to keep up at Zumbro. but as I mentioned just a few days ago, this is a moving target. We will respond as prudently as possible, but most everything that we share will need to be regularly updated. If it gets confusing, know that we will date whatever COVID-19 communication we send out, and the one dated most recently is the one to follow.
Here’s where we are now:
1)We plan to hold worship this Sunday, March 15, but this will be the last time we worship together in person for the foreseeable future. This Sunday, to keep our numbers to a safer level, we are encouraging people to consider staying home. For the following Sundays, a small group of worship leaders will produce a worship event that you can stream online at zumbrolutheran.org.
2) We will plan on having Lenten worship on the next three Wednesdays, but only via streaming. Again, a small group of worship leaders will help produce that worship.
3) We are discontinuing Lenten meals, and almost all sharing of food and beverages at church gatherings. The one exception would be a funeral lunch.
4) We will reassess our worship practice in early April, before the start of Holy Week.
5) We will not meet for any children, youth, and family programs in person. Families, look for ways to connect and meet online that will be sent directly to you.
6) We will not be having ZED talks.
7) We are asking program groups scheduled to meet at church (Bible studies, yoga, book studies, women’s circles) to refrain from meeting. If a group does meet for whatever reason, please keep the number to 10 or under. Along the same line, be cautious about meeting in homes, at least for the time being. There are many things about COVID-19 that we don’t yet understand.
8) The office will be open on a limited basis, but staff are being encouraged to work from home. You can contact them via email (addresses on the website).
9) A few activities will continue as long as they are able: Rainbow School, Luther College, building construction.
10) If you are feeling in need of pastoral care and communion, please call the church office and a pastor will make every effort to see you.
11) Be aware that custodians and volunteers are doing double duty to sanitize the building and wipe down surfaces. Help them out by washing your hands with soap and water and using hand sanitizers.
12) We will continue to hold funerals at Zumbro as they arise. As we do, we will make every effort to disinfect the building before and after they occur.
13) We will practice social distancing as much as possible. Health advocates encourage us to refrain from shaking hands and touching, and to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
14) Just a reminder: this is a moving target. We expect to update this information at least weekly, if not before.
All of these efforts are an important part of being the church, especially in this time and place. They demonstrate a concern, not only to care for ourselves, but to care and love our neighbors. Thanks in advance for your flexibility and understanding.
Together we are building bridges of understanding and peace, reaching out with compassion, and sharing the hope of Jesus.
In the strong name of Jesus,
Pastor Vern Christopherson March 13, 2020