Caring for our church in the age of virus
It seems like our world is changing exponentially, not just week by week, but day by day and sometimes hour by hour. As of March 18th, we now have 8 corona virus cases in El Paso County, 216 across Colorado, cases in all 50 states, and over 8,000 cases in the United States. It seems strange that only 10 days ago all I thought we would be asked to do was to keep plenty of hand sanitizer, tissues, and soap on hand!
I received notice from our Rocky Mountain Conference today that we need to begin to plan for the possibility we will need to extend our live-stream weekly worship and continue our cancellation of all group meetings and activities until a minimum of mid April, meaning that our 2020 Holy Week and Easter will look extremely different than any other before it!! It feels overwhelming to me to even begin to wrap my mind around it. However, even more than worship, it makes me concerned for the health of every person in our congregation as well as the health OF our congregation whenever this period of cultural isolation comes to a close. \
So, here is what we have done and are planning at this point:
- Live-stream Worship: We had our first live-stream only Worship last Sunday. We would love for more of you to join us “live” and to utilize the chat features to share prayer joys & concerns as well as give feedback as we go along. That can help bring back the “god-family” feeling into our shared distance worship gathering.
- Bible-Study from Home: We will be utilizing ZOOM, an easy to use video-conferencing application, for our Bible-Study (Tuesday evenings at 6pm). This will enable us to see each other, with questions and answers, reflections, and insights shared in much the same way we already do, but with just a “headshot” and from our individual couches!! Let me know if you want to be a part of this ZOOM bible study.
- Any ministry teams, committees, or Council Meetings can also be held using ZOOM. If you have a group you’d like to gather, simply call/text/email me and I will setup a call for you.
- Church Directory: We have updated our online Church Photo Directory! You should have received an email from us about login information and “completing” your profile.. This should help you keep in touch with your circle of friends and even build new friendships based on who are the church folks that live close to you! Pastor Glenn is keeping tabs on this, so if you have any problems at all just email him at ManitouUCC.Media@gmail.com or call/text 719.650.0200.
- Congregational Care Team: Soon you will be receiving an invitation to participate in our Congregational Care Team who will make phone calls to check-in on everyone and uncover what needs folks may have right now. We will need 10-15 folks to help make calls and pass on whatever needs and or updates are important.
- Prayer Team: Scientific research has proven that prayer does have power, whether the person being prayed for knows it or not! If you feel a call to prayer, reply your interest to this email and we will include you as our prayer warriors who can lift up the needs of our community. Those emails will be weekly (probably on Tuesdays), more frequently if more urgent needs present themselves.
- Facebook: I have been trying to connect with more church folks on Facebook as well. If there is any interest, we can setup a closed group for Manitou Church folks where we can keep each other motivated, updated, share fun jokes/memes, provide support and friendship during these difficult days.
- Grocery Pickup: Our amazing Women’s Fellowship Group has volunteered to help anyone who needs it with things like bringing groceries/prescriptions to those who can’t leave their homes. This generous offer is in keeping with their intense and intensive love for our church community. If you email ManitouUCC.Office@gmail.com or call the church office at 719-685-5525 (leave voicemail message).
Last but not least, we all know how sensitive our financial situation is, as a church. We desperately need for folks to continue to support us financially, as our bills do not stop just because we are worshipping via livestream. I would like to express thanks to those of you who give regularly directly from your bank accounts to ours. Your consistency is critical at this time!! If you typically give on Sunday mornings, we would deeply appreciate you setting up an automatic payment either through your own bank, or through our website “Give” tab, or utilize our text-to-give capabilities text CCCMS to (206) 859-9405.
Until we can see each other face-to-face again, please accept my virtual hugs and constant prayers. Don’t hesitate to call/text/email me if you want to talk with me. I want to be here for you in every way I can!!
Hoping to see you all soon!