Below is a copy of the new ministry plan we’ve developed to provide and support our ministries for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
But first, here’s a short video that I made this morning, the first since the start of the new Stay Home-Stay Safe declaration announced earlier this week:
Now, as for our ministry plan, we tried to make it comprehensive but we also tried to keep it simple, which is why it’s done mostly in bullet points.
But, still, it contains a lot of information. We’ve broken it out in sections — all the different ministry and program areas of our church — so I hope that will make it easier to read and digest.
COVID-19 Ministry Plan
Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church
March 27, 2020
On Wednesday, County Commission Chair, Brownie Newman, announced the details of a new “Stay Home-Stay Safe” declaration for Buncombe County.
Taking that directive into account, below is a bullet point outline of the plan we have developed to provide, support and sustain our ministries for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Three general points to make about what follows:
- The new county guidelines initially apply for two weeks; however, it is likely that these measures will remain in place for several weeks beyond that time.
- We should be prepared (and staff is preparing for this) not to be able gather in the sanctuary for worship during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday. This is obviously deeply disappointing. But if these measures remain in place, I believe you will agree that this the right thing to do, socially and medically.
- We will reevaluate this plan weekly and make updates as necessary.
Buildings, Grounds and Staff
- The Chapel building and the church office will be closed to visitors until we are assured by qualified experts that it is safe to reopen them.
- The Chapel and Fellowship Hall will be locked 24/7, with a brief exception made for worship staff to be in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings to record our weekly worship service.
- Church staff will generally work from home during this period.
- Members of our AMT will use the church office for essential financial functions, as needed, maintaining appropriate social distancing protocols.
- Chairman Newman has given churches explicit permission to record and stream their worship services from their sanctuaries, provided that no more than 10 people are involved in doing so, and that everyone practice safe social distance measures.
- The staff will continue to plan (via Zoom), and Steve and Joel will continue to provide, a weekly online worship experience via our YouTube channel.
- Grace will continue to provide by video (directly to families with children) short weekly children’s messages related to the scripture used for the adult service.
- Steve will also provide periodic online devotional and reflection pieces during the week.
- We will be employing a “Caring Tree” to check on the health and well-being of every member of our congregation, every two weeks. Any acute pastoral concerns will be shared with Steve and Grace, as appropriate.
- Retirement communities, hospitals and health care centers are now under stringent protective orders, effectively preventing all visits by outsiders.
- All pastoral care, even for acute pastoral emergencies, must now be provided by phone, Facetime, or other electronic means, or in consultation with resident chaplaincy staff at the relevant care facility.
Communications and Fellowship
- Email sent to staff will be answered as promptly as possible.
- Donna will check voice mail left on the church machine several times daily.
- Mail sent to the church (including checks) will be collected and sorted once a week, on Sunday mornings.
- We will continue to rely primarily on MailChimp to communicate with the congregation at large.
- For members who do not use email, Donna will print out urgent or critical communications at home, and mail those out as needed.
- We will post this plan, and updates to it, to the church’s Facebook page and website.
- We will also post links to our online worship services and devotional offerings to the church’s Facebook page and website.
- We are exploring the possibility of hosting a weekly online coffee hour following worship on Sundays.
- We encourage Caring Teams to use Zoom — a free, online teleconferencing utility — to connect with one another. Although there can be a slight learning curve in the beginning, Zoom is relatively easy to use and provides a surprisingly satisfying opportunity to see one another “in person”.
Here is the link, if you would like to download Zoom and give it a try.
Here is an excellent short tutorial on how to use Zoom, in case you’re feeling like you need some help getting started.
- Grace and Steve are exploring the possibility of providing the Adult Sunday School Class online via Zoom.
- We may also explore some online gatherings for youth, or families with children.
- In response to overwhelming need, we have made special cash donations of $1000 to Room In The Inn and $500 to SVCM.
- SVCM has also just announced a COVID-19 relief fund. We will provide more details about this as we learn more.
- Warren Wilson College has officially closed for the semester, and the majority of students have gone home, or left campus.
- The Church/College Relations team will continue to assess the needs of the students who remained on campus to determine if particular needs emerge that we can address.
- Your continued financial support will enable us to continue to provide and maintain the ministries outlined in this plan
- If you give to the church regularly on Sunday mornings, or if you mail in your commitment check, we encourage you to mail all ongoing contributions to the church at the following address:
Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church
Attn: Receiving Treasurer
101 Chapel Lane
Swannanoa NC 28778
- You may also make online contributions to the church by clicking the Give Online button on the top right corner of our website.