By Rev. Rick King — What a difference a week makes—along with an irresistible force like the coronavirus.
Things have been changing so fast, I want to update you on steps we’re taking at Falcon Heights Church to protect against community spread of the virus, keep us connected to God and each other, and care for those in our congregation who are in the more vulnerable groups.
We’re discovering that we actually can get used to using online video calling and live video streaming technology, and it doesn’t feel unnatural! One Facebook Live worship service down, who knows how many to go? We had been talking about livestreaming our Sunday service and doing some meetings via Zoom sometime in the future, but we’re up and running with these much faster thanks to COVID-19. I’ve led two Bible studies on Zoom, the Executive Board met on Zoom Tuesday night, and I’ve done two pastoral care visits on Skype. In addition, our church has a free conference call account available in addition to Zoom, where we can host a large group on a single phone call. Watch our Sunday morning live stream
Tuesday night, the Executive Board voted to close our building to all church and community groups until at least April 6, in compliance with orders for social distancing to prevent community spread of the virus. This is subject to change, so watch the TAB newsletter and social media for further information.
Office Manager Shannon Kaiser and I are working remotely in the meantime. The best way to contact both of us is email: Shannon – email@example.com; Rick – firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be stopping by my office periodically throughout the week to check mail delivery and voicemails, but not keeping regular office hours at the church.
Online office hours
Want the comfort of a face-to-face conversation with your pastor? Need counseling, but want more than just a voice at the other end of the phone line? I will be holding office hours on the Zoom videoconferencing platform at my normal walk-in times of 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, so sign up for a half-hour Zoom visit HERE and you’ll be sent the link and an access code to join the call at the time. OR if you prefer, you may simply sign up for a half-hour phone call.
Other steps we’ve taken
Shannon is maintaining a list of what some of you have already offered to do for others (run errands, watch kids while you get out, help you get set up with Instacart delivery from Cub Foods, etc.), and keeping track of needs you express. Charleen Prill, Linda Owen and I, along with Lynne Bradbury and the Membership Ministry Team, are teaming up to call everyone in our database to check on how you’re doing, what you need, prayer requests, etc. And Shannon is adding to the TAB a list of suggested activities, sort of a “survival guide” during our period of confinement. Read this week’s TAB
Not your usual Holy Week and Easter
We’ll continue doing Facebook Live webcasts of our worship Service at 10:30 (links at the top of the TAB, under “This Sunday”). To make this sustainable beyond a few Sundays, we need a couple of quick learners or people experienced with Facebook Live to get orientation from Noah Keitel, who is the primary caregiver for their kids AND a website developer. We’re also looking for donations for purchase of some basic equipment for producing this each week. Noah was good enough to use his own in the early stages, but we need our own at the church.
Communion on Palm Sunday, April 5, will be virtual as well. We’ll ask you to use whatever you have on hand for the Bread and Cup, and take communion in your home or wherever you are, together. Specific Holy Week and Easter plans are still in development, but this year we are not having in-person worship for these holidays.
Stay tuned for more information about worship and other adaptations to our present circumstances. And thanks for being a loving, flexible, connected faith community!