Preparations in light of Corona Virus/COVID-19
Email sent at 1pm on March 13, 2020. Executive Summary: a) 10am Worship continues with special preparation for communion. b) Love (not fear) leads us to sacrifice for the most vulnerable. c) Practice healthy self-care.
To all Trinity Members, Attenders, and Guests,
The Corona Virus/COVID-19 continues to impact our workplace, schools, community, and wider economy. This week some Trinity members spent the better part of their workweek on the phone with overseas colleagues solving problems related to the Corona Virus/COVID-19; others adjusted carpool routines because soccer is canceled; members in healthcare adjusted to hospitals' new patient-care policies; our March Madness brackets lie fallow; and we've all wondered more than once where all of this is heading. When will life will return to normal? What is next? Who needs our help? Undoubtedly, all of us have been impacted by the rise of concern surrounding the Corona Virus/COVID-19 outbreak.
On the one hand we recognize that the Corona Virus/COVID-19 is an outbreak and will pass, but on the other hand, we recognize preparations must be made in the event things get worse for Tulsa Metro. So, let me share three things to equip us for greater opportunities to love in the weeks ahead.
First, communion continues but with changes. For the indefinite future we will serve communion with individual bread containers rather than by a common plate. Our communion-set-up team will abide by food-handlers guidelines and use gloves when preparing the bread and wine. We will strive to serve in a way that minimizes shared surfaces. (If you would like to be served individually, please let the elders know and they will be glad to serve you at your seat. The session and diaconate will take necessary measures each week to provide a worship environment marked by love toward each other and our neighbors.)
Second, love (not fear) leads us to sacrifice for the most vulnerable. Trinity, let us rediscover our callings to serve our neighbors in simple, practical ways. I wholeheartedly agree with Andy Crouch who wrote here, "We need to redirect social energy from anxiety and panic to love and preparation. This crisis presents an extraordinary opportunity to fortify small communities of love and care for our neighbors. That will only happen if we lead in a way that reduces fear, increases faith, and reorients all of us from self-protection to serving others."
Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6–7, "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." At a time when plagues were far more common, Paul tells Timothy to lead the Ephesian church toward love and boldness, not fear, The Greek work for "fear" (deilia) in extrabiblical literature refers to one who flees from battle, and has a strong pejorative sense referring to cowardice. In this season, let's not flee the complexities wrought by Corona Virus/COVID-19 but look for ways to serve others, especially our older members and neighbors.
Consider the following opportunities:
- Call older Trinity members and check on them. Make a grocery run for them. Serve their needs without putting them in harm's way. Protect them from exposure by simple acts of kindness and care.
- Reach out to our TU and RSU students to make sure they have plenty of food. Invite them to dinner or to use your washer and dryer or study at your house, etc. Many of them are stuck on campus with few resources.
- Pray as a family for others who are impacted by Corona Virus/COVID-19.
Lastly, if you and your family are healthy, come to worship! We were made to worship. Especially in uncertain times we need the bedrock certainty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- our Great Healer -- more than ever. However, practice healthy self-care.
- Reduce hand shakes and hugs at worship; offer fist bumps or elbow bumps instead.
- Regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.
- Worship from home with Trinity on Facebook Live if in the last 14 days:
- you have had contact with a confirmed Corona Virus/COVID-19 patient.
- you have traveled outside the country.
- you have been exposed to anyone who has traveled outside the country.
- you have been exposed to another area in the US with an outbreak corona Virus/COVID-19.
If you travel for Spring Break be mindful of your surroundings. Let us through love serve one another (Gal 5:13), and show how grace changes everything in extraordinary times.
Compelled by His love,
Rev. Blake Altman