Message to the Congregation from Pastor Kisakye regarding COVID-19 safety procedures. 3/21/2020

Friends, all of us face a common danger, COVID-19!

The congregational building is closed but the real Church is still in operation.  You’re the Church in mission and ministry with one another and the world.  How then, do we find hope in these vulnerable circumstances?

Hope comes from who we are, what we can do and in whom we have believed, Jesus the risen Christ. Let us continue to look after one another because we are better protected with compassion, care and shared giving which to the Church is a solidarity response fund!  It is the story of the Good Samaritan. Let us continue to take the health and well-being of our congregation and community seriously. Please continue to pray for brothers and sisters who are affected by this virus – neighbors who are ill, the medical professionals treating them, the scientists working on vaccines and cures, neighbors with mental health concerns, and the leaders making tough decisions to curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep us safe, as well as neighbors who are feeling lonely and isolated at this time.

Church, we are a team monitoring COVID-19 updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical professionals, and Wayne County health department. In addition to ongoing efforts to maintain a safe and healthy environment, we have temporarily implemented the following safety measures:

Personal and Community Safety Responsibilities:

If you or a family member is sick, may have been directly exposed to the virus or have been to a high-alert area, please follow the CDC guidelines and refrain from being in public places, attending any and all public programs and events during the 14-day incubation period and instead stay at home.

Continue to educate yourself about the Coronavirus from credible and reliable sources, such as from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the Wayne County Health Department. Know the symptoms and have a plan for what you would do if you or a family member were to become sick.

Check on your friends and neighbors via social media. If you know someone who may not have internet access, give them a call and share the information in this Newsletter. If the virus spreads through our community as predicted, we can continue to reach out and care for one another through phone calls, emails and social media. 

As Covid-19 spreads, many doctors and nurses will be working long hours. Consider ways you can bless our medical professionals with acts of kindness and notes of appreciation sent to Newark Hospital, Clifton Springs, Geneva hospitals including Nursing homes in the area.

Not only are we responsible for one another but because we depend on one another, let us continue to follow the guidelines from the CDC and the Wayne County Health Department to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Appointments: We are continuing to offer in-person pastoral conversations, albeit via phone. Call to schedule, and please do not come into the office. We have the option of connecting through telephone lines via (315)-331-6575 or rkkisakye@gmail.com

Worship:

Until further notice and in keeping with online legal streaming guidelines that we don’t have in place yet, we will collaborate with other United Methodist congregations like Asbury First who have legal online worship services. Asbury services will be available to the public on Sunday at 11:00am. Spread the word and invest time to tune in!

Please note that we will not have public worship services at Newark First until we hear differently from the CDC in concert with the State of New York and our Annual Conference.

We are encouraging all brothers and sisters to dare to worship online for now, engage in spiritual disciplines namely: meditation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, online fellowship, journaling, stewardship, silence, solitude, study, gratitude, self-examination, confession, etc.

Pledges:

We are grateful for your faithful giving and would like you to know that the counters have been diligent in receiving, counting and caring for offerings, tithes and pledges that have been mailed to the church office.  If you haven’t already, we encourage you to mail your cheque to Newark First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 189, Newark New York 14513. Should you be interest in online giving options or should you have any questions please contact Mrs. Diane Sheckler at (315)945-8327 or Dsheckle@rochester.rr.com

Congregational Care:  Kudos to our Congregational Care team who have diligently worked to ensure that we continue to care for all our congregation while taking precautions to protect everyone’s health and prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

Prayer Requests: Please continue to submit your prayer requests via the prayer chain by calling Mrs. Ellie Bump at (315)729-2839 or via email Ebump51@gmail.com

Hospital Visits: We want you to know that area hospitals are restricting visitors and we are no longer able to make in person visits but the good news is prayer transcends boundaries and we are faithfully holding everyone in prayer.  Please note that for currently admitted patients, Pastor Patience will make phone calls to members to offer care and support and will contact hospital chaplains to make visits.  If you know anyone hospitalized please let us know via the rectory telephone number (315) 331-6575 or via rkkisakye@gmail.com

Medical Procedures: I am available to make pre-surgery phone calls the evening before scheduled medical procedures.

End of life: If anyone of us is approaching the end of life, I am available to arrange a visit with the family if hospice, the Nursing Home or hospital will allow it, or if any of us is at home and open to a visit, a visit will be arranged within safety guidelines. 

Nursing Home visits: All visits to nursing homes are suspended until further notice. The congregational care team is working with me to write notes and make phone calls to brothers and sisters who are home bound or in nursing homes. Please let the church office know if anyone needs to be contacted so that no one is left out. 

April Baptism: The baptism that was scheduled for April has been cancelled until further notice.

Funerals: We are currently unable to conduct indoor funerals with 10 or more people gathered together. However, we are not without options!  In consultation with funeral homes, we may hold an outdoor graveside, committal service with a memorial service or celebration of life at a future date. We are also asking families to delay funerals and schedule celebrations of life for a future date when it is safe to gather in large groups; and if not proceed with small, family-only service with fewer than 10 people and perhaps an optional livestream available for family and friends unable to attend!

Weddings: We are currently unable to conduct weddings where 10 or more people are gathered.  However, couples may proceed with family-only wedding not to exceed 10 people, with option for a livestream available for those unable to attend; or better-still postpone the wedding and reschedule for a future date when it is safe to gather in large groups. 

Sunday School: Sunday school for children, youth and men will not be open until we hear from the CDC in collaboration with Wayne County. This program together with scouts and Mom’s support groups will be re- evaluated in April. Online resources for Sunday school are available via Cokesbury book store. Check with the church office and the United Methodist Church board of discipleship website.

Missions:  We’ve made the difficult decision to immediately suspend all incoming Rummage, donations of food, clothing and household goods to the church for the time being, as a preventative measure to mitigate exposure to COVID-19.

Contact Mrs. Elsie Dedrick at (315)573-6841 with any questions. All other upcoming missions will be reassessed as more information becomes available from the CDC and Wayne County Department of Health.  On the contrary, please note that we are working closely with our mission partners at Emmanuel UMC to determine their needs and ways in which Newark FUMC can help during this time. Opportunities to serve others during this time will be shared as our community’s response develops. Please keep your ears to the ground and check our web page and Facebook for daily updates on our community response, including opportunities to donate or serve!

Congregational facility: The Church office will remain open between 9am-12:00 on Monday and Tuesday; 9:00am-1:00pm Wednesday through Friday.  Please note that outside office hours, the church building will open only for essential support and limited emergencies. In addition to regular cleaning, we are asking our custodians to pay extra attention to highly touched surfaces that need to be sanitized frequently.

In closing please continue to intentionally pray for brothers and sisters who are affected by this virus – neighbors who are ill, the medical professionals treating them, the scientists working on vaccines and cures, neighbors with mental health concerns, and the leaders making difficult decisions to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep us safe, as well as neighbors who are feeling lonely at this time – please reach out to anyone you think might be feeling isolated during this season.

Be encouraged. Jesus Is Lord over COVID-19.

Patience Kisakye, Pastor

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: