We are all well aware of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The leadership team at Trinity has been paying close attention to what is going on, and we have been in contact with medical experts and the county health workers. We have developed a congregational response plan with three stages.
In the first stage, which we are currently in, we will continue all of our ministry programs. In addition, we will take the following steps:
- We will increase the frequency and intensity of the cleaning and sanitizing the public spaces of the church.
- We will suspend the shaking of hands during the sharing of the peace.
- Pastors will no longer shake hands at sanctuary doors as people exit.
- We will encourage individuals who are not feeling well to stay home.
- We will place hand sanitizer units around the building and encourage all of us to wash hands frequently.
- We will require that all people who are handling food wear protective gloves.
In the second stage, if a case of the COVID-19 virus is confirmed within our community, our response will increase:
- We will suspend the serving of food (Yes, including donuts. Sorry.)
- Instead of passing offering plates, we will put them in stationary locations.
- We will provide online worship for those who choose to stay home.
- If the Owatonna Public Schools close, we will close our children and youth ministry programs, and Trinity Nursery School will be suspended.
And in the third stage, if there is a confirmed case here at church or in our preschool (or sooner, if deemed necessary) we will:
- Suspend all worship and the preschool.
- Provide online worship only.
- Cancel any meetings taking place in Trinity’s facilities.
Throughout this process, we will stay in close contact with the Steele County Health Department and the Owatonna Public Schools.
We have prepared a Response Plan Document that has more details. You are welcome to download it here if you would like to see it.
(Note: This document was originally created by Pastor Pam Gompf and Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church in Mulkito, Washington and edited by us to fit our context.)
Uncertainty creates anxiety. And while we want to be careful to not overreact to what is going on, we also want to be responsible in how we handle this very fluid situation.
In the short term, I have two requests for you:
- Please pray. Pray for those affected by this virus. Pray for the young and the vulnerable. Pray for medical professionals who tend and care for them. Pray for those who are affected by this health crisis economically. And please pray for health and well-being for all of God’s people.
- Don’t be afraid. This is an anxious time for our whole nation. At times like this, we lean in to the promises of God. God tells us, “Do not be afraid!” We always rely on the foundation of God’s love and grace. God promises to walk through this with us. Rely on that promise.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
God’s peace and blessings!
PS – Now go wash your hands.