Earlier this week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic (https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/11/who-declares-pandemic-coronavirus-disease-covid-19/) and Gov. Dunleavey declared a state of public health emergency in Alaska concerning the outbreak (https://gov.alaska.gov/newsroom/2020/03/11/governor-issues-public-health-disaster-emergency-declaration-for-covid-19/). This is a necessary measure to ensure Alaska has the same access to resources other states have as the number of cases increases and the border of Alaska is breached. As I write this announcement it is expected that President Trump will be declaring a National Emergency for coronavirus pandemic as our nation’s healthcare personnel and systems determine the strongest and safest strategies to protect all people, everywhere.
I provide this background so you may understand the Bishop’s and her cabinet’s reasoning for the announcement made earlier this morning to suspend services and gatherings in local churches of greater than 10 people for the next two weeks. The letter in its entirety can be found here: http://greaternw.org/greater-nw-area-blog/. As your pastor, I support the Bishop and our Alaskan leadership in this step to help reduce the chances for spread of the virus amongst our Alaska population. The idea is to prolong the exposure period to a time less suitable for virus spread and to lessen the strain on health systems and health professionals. There is nothing wrong with a conservative approach to protect lives.
What will we do:
- All ministries and classes held at UMC of Chugiak will be cancelled beginning tomorrow following the closing of R4R.
- Sunday Service this week and next week will be available for streaming online. We’ll keep you updated via our Facebook page on how that will work. (https://www.facebook.com/UMCofChugiak/)
- If you are in need of personal care or prayer please reach out to our office at Office@umcchugiak.org or me at PastorDavid@umcchugiak.org.
- Please follow us on Facebook and be sure to check your emails as those are the best means of up to date communication we can provide.
- If you have not updated your email address, please send that information to Office@umcchugiak.org to be updated in our Touchpoint system.
- Pay attention to the recommendations of Public Health Officials when it comes to the protective measures concerning this COVID-19 virus:
- MOST IMPORTANTLY – WASH HANDS, WASH HANDS, and WASH HANDS
Finally, I know this is a time that may cause you anxiety and evoke feelings of panic and uncertainty. If you feel overwhelmed and need to talk with someone, do not hesitate to call me @ 907-205-4428, the church office @ 907-205-4430, or someone close to you that can provide comfort. I will be praying for you and I will be organizing some specific times where we can pray together from our homes, our cars, or our places of work. Just because we are not occupying the same physical space does not mean we are not connected. We are one body, made strong and full of Spirit by the One God who cares for us, loves us, and covers us with grace and mercy. May you know the peace that comes with knowing Christ.
May God bless us and watch over us each day.