In light of the Nov 15th announcement from the Washington State COVID Response team (see announcement details here), Immanuel will be suspending any and all plans for in person worship and gatherings, including Outside for 5 and Christmas Eve. We will continue to broadcast worship via YouTube, to send bulletins with sermon transcripts afterward for those who request it and engage in planning meaningful, distanced worship experiences for the holiday season. God remains with us, even in the midst of these “historic and unprecedented times”. Our best gift to the world in these days is to continue our faithful witness through phone calls, text messages, letters and emails to those we love and those who are in need. Being church these days looks different but has equally tangible forms as before; as you wash your hands you remember your baptism, as you don your mask allow receive the mutual blessing of the currency of wellness from God, and as we limit activities outside our home, we can embody the gift of sacred sabbath rest. We thank you for your patience and care for one another and the world. Be well, church.
In late July, you received an invitation to complete a survey, asking about ways to make worship more meaningful in Phase 2 of COVID-19. In total, we had 21 participants in the survey. While that is a small percentage of our worshipping community, we will share the results with you all, and share some steps we are going to take based on the results.
Beloveds in Christ,
From the time I first heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the holy ones, I have never stopped thanking God for
you and remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16 (Inclusive Bible)
As news, recommendations and even mandates continue to be released about how we here in King County are to participate in the strategies meant to slow the community spread of COVID-19, we at Immanuel are also continuously adapting. I have been deeply reliant on and thankful for the wisdom of Health Department Officials in our region, Interfaith Colleagues, our Synod office and ILC congregation leaders. We are in this together and everyday we are learning and embodying new ways of being Christ’s Living Presence in our lives, our neighborhood and our world. What follows is a comprehensive update of our Health Plan as it is currently being implemented.
As the situation in Washington around the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, our ways of being Christ’s living presence in our lives, neighborhood and world are also adapting and changing. Today we have been wrestling with current Health Department recommendations to limit large gatherings (50 or more people) and a mindfulness of leaders in our community who technically fall into the category of people with underlying health conditions.
It is in this spirit, that we will implement the following changes to be in place through March 30th, when we will once again reassess the situation.
Beloved Family in Christ,
On Tuesday, March 3rd, I gathered with other faith leaders at Queen Anne Methodist Church/The Well to meet with Health Department officials and receive guidance about best practices and instructions for our role in minimizing the community spread of COVID-19. Additionally, Shawna, as Executive Director for Immanuel Community Services, has been in several meetings this week about this matter. I am grateful for the conversations we are having and the leadership in our state to address this outbreak with vigilance, and care for all our communities, including the most vulnerable among us. I am particularly grateful for the visible presence of Holy Currencies in the midst of all this. The Currencies of Relationship show up in the ways we are mindful of ourselves and the needs of others. The Currencies of Truth are present in the factual, science-based information we are receiving the holy conversations ILC & ICS leaders are having as we seek to balance containment, compassion and community. As we continue to be faithful, and I remain in continuous conversation with other leaders, I fully anticipate the flow of the Currencies of Wellness, Money, Time & Place and Gracious Leadership to make themselves known too. As this situation continues to unfold, we will update our practices accordingly.