Pastor's E-Letter

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COVID-19 Update - 03/13/20

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Dear Suntree Family,
On Wednesday of this past week, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic.” While there are (as of this writing) still no confirmed cases of the “coronavirus,” in Brevard County, we at Suntree UMC know that this has been an anxious time for so many of you as we follow the news updates and listen to local authorities. We have been, and will continue to, carefully monitor the coronavirus through the Brevard County Health Department and Florida Department of Health and provide further guidance for everyone as we walk through this uncertain time.
To begin, we wanted to let you know that there are still no plans to cancel services at this time. Should this become necessary, we will communicate this change.
I encourage you to go back and read our previous pastoral letter on this subject, here, but wanted to remind you of a few resources that you can look at for ongoing updates from national, state, and local authorities. These are the sources we are following as well, and we encourage you to keep yourself informed.
In the meantime, we wanted to let you know of a few precautions we are taking as leadership, staff, and worship volunteers to keep you safe. This is in addition to the previous precautions taken, including keeping “social distance,” leaving out hand sanitizer, and posting hand washing instructions.
If you are sick, or if you are worried for your own health, we do not want to shame or pressure you into coming to worship. Starting 3/15, we will post videos of our sermons online and on our Facebook page. We hope to begin live streaming soon as well.
Starting on 3/15, we will not pass the offering plate or welcome books in order to protect you further from hand-to-hand contact. We will have offering baskets in the back of our worship spaces in order to collect the offering and will take a headcount instead for worship attendance.
We encourage you to follow up with those who normally sit around you, attend your Sunday School classes, and are a part of your Life Groups, as without specific attendance, we will not be able to follow up as closely as we were previously. Offer Christ’s love by being a good neighbor and keeping track of the most vulnerable among us.
We will continue to avoid close or hand-to-hand contact in worship by not hugging or shaking hands. Please respect your neighbor’s distance- and if you’re looking for a roomier service, our 8am would love to see you!
Our Guest Services team will wear gloves and be the single point of contact with doors, bulletins, and we have revised our refreshment offerings. Please respect their work in this!
In addition to Sunday morning precautions, we have received questions about events at Suntree. We wanted you to be aware of the following updates. As things are rescheduled or canceled any further, we will let you know.
Journey Dinner will be canceled for the rest of the semester out of an abundance of caution. We will still have Bible Study at 6:30pm on Wednesdays through April 1st.
The TNT Senior Adult lunch will be canceled this Friday.
We will follow local, state, and national authorities in regard to other events and endeavor to keep you updated about them in any way that we can.
We know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by the amount of events being canceled and precautions being taken all over the world. We feel that, too! But scripture invites us in 1 Peter 5:7 to, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Our God has so loved each of us that God desires relationship and to hear all of our worries. God also desires that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Our charge here at Suntree is to continue that work of loving ourselves and others in extraordinary ways through prayer, and also taking precautions.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and we hope to see you Sunday. Please keep on the lookout for further updates and be safe!
Pastors Annette, Allee, and Augie