Pastoral Letter re: Covid-19

Dear Weybridge Church friends and members,

I hope this message finds you safe and well. As the concern for the Covid-19/ coronavirus pandemic has grown rapidly this week, frontmost on my mind has been the question of how as a church we can best move through this challenging time, holding close to our call to love one another, and to ground ourselves in trust in the steadfast love of God. With that in mind, the church Deacons and I have been wondering – how do we best care for one another during this time? How do we best act from a place of faith, prudence, and compassion?

If you had asked me at the beginning of the week about the possibility of suspending in-person worship and other church gatherings, I would have thought the idea seemed too extreme of a measure. After much research, prayer, conversation, and discernment this week, I now think such a suspension of in-person gathering is the safest and wisest choice for our community. And so for the time being we will be suspending all in-person worship and meetings at the church. This will likely hold for the next few weeks, although we will remain active in our re-evaluation of the situation.  

Certain key factors have led to this decision. We have learned that this is a highly contagious virus, that it can be passed to others unwittingly before symptoms are present, and that it poses a particular threat to older and immunocompromised adults. The single best preventative measure we can take as a community is not gathering in groups. Especially in a rural setting like ours, not gathering in-person is our best strategy towards limiting the spread of this virus. It’s become clear that not-gathering is the way that we best show love and care for one another during this time.

This is a difficult decision to make for many reasons, including the fact that there is such joy, comfort, and hope that is shared between us when we do meet together. The creative challenge and opportunity for us will be to make sure to stay connected virtually in those same ways and in new ways as well. To that end, here is some of what we’re working on and what you can expect: 1) expect to receive a friendly check-in call from a Deacon over the weekend; 2) I will be sending out an at-home devotional on Sunday morning; 3) I will try to set up a Zoom prayer-meeting call for us to “gather” as a community this Sunday at 11am (our normal fellowship hour time). Zoom is a wonderful video conferencing platform – you should expect to receive an invitation tomorrow via email. I’d appreciate as much participation as possible in this initial online gathering, as it will present a chance for us to reflect and decide on how we best move forward as a group.

Now, and always, I pray for peace, comfort and wellness for you all. In the words of a beloved Celtic benediction, “Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shinin9g stars to you. Deep peace of the Christ of peace to you.” 

Yours in Grace and Peace,  Daniel

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