It’s been another busy week, with the COVID-19 situation changing by the day. Once again, we find ourselves taking steps this week that seemed unthinkable only 7 days ago.
The Agnus Dei Church Council met last night in special meeting. We decided that, in order to best love and server our congregation, Gig Harbor, the state of Washington and the wider world, we will be closing our building until April 24.
That means in-person worship is being suspended, all in-person meetings of church groups are being suspended, and all outside groups and users are being asked to suspend their in-person meetings or meet elsewhere. Our Little Lambs Preschool is already suspended as they are following what the Peninsula School District is doing.
This was a tough decision, and not one made lightly, but we feel it is important. Social distancing is not just about any one of us and our decisions about how confident or healthy we feel and what risks we are willing to take. It is about the wider implications of how our actions affect others. By closing our building and ending all in-person contact, we are attempting to help our leaders and health care workers “flatten the curve,” slowing the rate of infection so that hospitals are not overwhelmed. Think of this not as “social distancing,” but “compassionate distancing.”
However, just because we are not gathering in person does not mean we are not gathering. We will continue to worship at the usual times on Wednesday and Sunday with a video stream. Committees and groups will be able to meet using the church’s Zoom account. We will also be offering access to this account for the AA group to use in lieu of being able to meet in our building. Sr. Ann is working on setting up programs and networks to keep us all engaged with one another and our worshiping community. As time goes on, more opportunities will become available.
Just because our building is closed doesn’t mean that our church is closed. During this time, the church office will continue to function. However, since the staff will be mostly working from home, the office itself may be empty. We’ve gained the ability to forward phone calls to home, so we can still answer the phones when no one is in the building. Our custodian, CarrieJo, will be taking this opportunity to disinfect and deep clean the building. Preschool teachers will be paid through the end of the school year out of the Little Lambs reserve. There is lots of ministry to be done, and all of our staff continue to facilitate that ministry.
As restrictions and recommendations continue to change, we will do our best to keep you updated. You can read the Council’s official response at the link in the sidebar: "ADLC Priorities and Response to COVID-19." You can find it and other informational updates, including information about how and when groups are meeting and the congregational leadership’s response to further news releases there as well. Informational updates will be posted at agnusdeilutheran.org/covid-19, and information on social and service groups and our streamed worship services can be found at agnusdeilutheran.org/connecting. There are two large buttons at the top of the main page to help you find them.
Finally, I would just like to remind you that, as the work of the church continues, so do our expenses. We are all well aware that as the economy drops and people’s employment and income are affected, our budget will be affected, too. If you are able to help contribute to the vital work that Agnus Dei will be doing in making sure we are caring for one another and our neighbors in the community, please consider giving electronically at agnusdelutheran.org/donate. There, you will also find information on how to give via an app for your smartphone or tablet. If you are interested in volunteering in community efforts to help those in need during this time, contact Pr. Seth.
Thank you all very much for your patience as information and actions change so rapidly. May the peace of Christ be with you as we move into this new and strange time. Please stay tuned for updates about how and when to access our worship livestream.