Update: Worshipping from home, March 15. Read more here.

A quick word from Pastor Seth and a call to prayer. Stay tuned to this post for updates about how we are taking precautions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Pastoral Note from Tuesday, March 10, 2020

COVID-19 / Novel Coronavirus Precautions

Good afternoon friends of St. James Presbyterian Church,

Like most of us are certainly aware, our world is facing the threat of a widespread respiratory illness called coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. As cases of the virus have begun to spread in Washington State, we have the responsibility to stay alert to potential impacts to our community.

Today, Tuesday, Whatcom Community College and Meridian School District took precautions to limit further spread of the virus by suspending classes for the next couple of days. Other institutions and public gathering places are also considering limiting their activities to ensure all people stay safe and healthy and to help slow the spread of the virus.

At this point, we plan to hold worship at St. James on Sunday, March 15. I am of the deep conviction that the people of God must continue to gather together, praising God and fellowshipping as Christ’s body, even in the face of difficult circumstances. This is what the church does: we stand together. However, gathering in a large group can be uncomfortable and potentially threatening to vulnerable populations with compromised immune systems.

Because of this, we will continue to take precautions, making handwashing a priority, sanitizing surfaces, and limiting physical contact, even as we fellowship. If you feel ill or if you are concerned about your susceptibility to contracting the virus, please take the time to rest and remain home. We will worship with you in spirit, knowing that wherever we are, we are gathered as Christ’s body, united together.

To make worship more accessible for folks who cannot attend, we are adding to our efforts to make our Sunday service content available online, recording the sermon, distributing digital bulletins, and utilizing social media and website tools to make these assets readily available. You can find links below to some of the places where you can access content from Sunday services. We’ll make those recordings and digital content available as soon as possible following each service.

If there are mandated closures or a worsening threat of the virus spreading, we will send out updates to our congregation as rapidly as possible. We will utilize our website, email lists, Facebook page, and the steadfast support of our St. James Deacons to contact members of any changes to our worshipping schedule.

Finally, if you require assistance and cannot leave home due to illness or risk of exposure, please reach out. We would love to be of help. You can call your church deacon or connect with me directly, and we will do what we can to offer support and care.

In all of this, I once again want to remind us that in Christ, we do not need to live in a spirit of fear or anxiety. We are the beloved of God and God’s faithfulness extends even into times of crisis. We are a people who live wisely, making accommodations when necessary, but never giving up the hope that even in dark, uncertain times, God is at work unfolding the Resurrection and Redemption of God’s reign through it all. This is our hope and what we cling to, together.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Seth

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