Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 

This week we have been swamped by information and misinformation about the spread of the Covid-19 corona virus. I have been working with the District Office and District Leadership Team to develop recommendations for District congregations and others on how to respond to this health issue. Among the things that we are aware of is the fact that this virus is highly contagious and that our older members are among the most vulnerable to this virus.

 

The phrase of the week has become “Social Distancing.” We are seeing events and school sessions canceled around the country and around our area. These cancellations are occurring in effort to help halt the spread of the disease. Since transmittability of the virus precedes diagnosis, and possibly even the onset of symptoms, it is difficult to tell whether the virus is already among us or not. There has been one confirmed diagnosis of the virus in Harrisonburg as of yesterday.

 

The recommendations from our District (link) recognize the differences between congregations, and the fact that individual congregations respond differently to challenges. However, the recommendation comes from the District is that if schools are closed because of the virus, congregations cancel or postpone all gatherings as well. Even as this letter was being prepared, the governor of Virginia has closed all Virginia K-12 schools from March 13- March 27. At this time, we will still be on our regular worship schedule this Sunday, but we will be watching the local situation closely. Any changes or updates will be posted by email and at WHSV.

 

We are fortunate to have substantial online capacity available to our congregation. We have the ability to hold meetings via teleconference, and even to share worship experiences online. Currently, recordings of most Sunday sermons are available on our website, as are Sunday bulletins, Weekly Study Guides, and Online Giving. In addition to the website, we have a phone app that can be downloaded at tithely.app.link/pleasant-valley-church-of-the-brethren.  The PVCOB App also includes a notification system that will allow us to contact you directly and immediately in case of any schedule changes or emergency notifications. Also, our App includes a Prayer Wall that can help us to share prayer needs and give prayer support to one another. In the occasion that we have to cancel a Sunday worship service, an online option will be made available.

 

We would also encourage all of our members to please pay attention to their own health. If you have a weakened immune system, it would probably be advisable for you to avoid community gatherings for the next couple of weeks, including worship. If you are experiencing possible symptoms of a respiratory infection, please consider the health of those around you who may have less ability to fight off an infection. In all cases, please consider good social hygiene, wash your hands, and refrain from hand shaking, etc., until this passes.

 

Finally, we would encourage physical distancing rather than “Social Distancing.” We need to remain in conversation, and in prayer for each other. Please call your neighbors to see how they are doing (especially those older or more isolated). If there are needs, please do not hesitate to share them with your Deacon, or the Pastors. Pay attention to sharing God’s care with those around you. We might not want to hug or embrace, but we are still together in God’s mission of love.

 

Carol Wilson, Board Chair

Daniel House, Pastor