To the families of Bethany of Fox Valley UMC,
Upon sending you the notice about the COVID-19/coronavirus last Tuesday, I’ve received a good number of questions whether to greet each other with handshakes, whether we should cancel worship and encourage people to simply stay home and pray? What about offerings? What about midweek activities like Dollar Dinner and Lenten Bible Study? Those questions are very valid and real regarding that the coronavirus causes suffering in real lives and people. Now, I think it might be helpful to provide you an update.
As you are aware, all schools in Oswego and Aurora school districts have closed temporary and implemented online classes. All of their activities have been canceled. The senior centers remain open but have canceled all activities and gatherings. However, they do not accept any visitors. We experience that the COVID-19 situation is not improving at all.
So, what should we do as a loving and caring congregation?
- I can tell you what we need to do first. We should plant a hope-virus in our lives and communities rather than living in fear. Please remember that our God has already gave us a solid hope upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ overcoming even death. “God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) No matter what, we should not be fearful or anxious with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as our guide
- As for our times of worship, we will continue to open the public worship unless there is any special direction from the Health Department or Northern Illinois Conference. At the same time, you can also join the online worship service through Facebook live-streaming starting on March 15 at https://www.facebook.com/bethanyfoxvalley/ I fully understand nothing can truly substitute for the act of physically gathering together, but it will be another sacred place in us to worship God through our technology.
- Regarding the offering, the giving baskets will be located in the back of the church rather than passing the plate pew to pew. As you enter the sanctuary, you may give your offering. Also, we offer an online giving option at http://www.bfvumc.org/online-giving
- In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus or flu of any kind, we are no longer offering the food provided in the narthex, but coffee and hot tea will be given throughout the morning. In addition, we will suspend all food in all gatherings.
- It is very critical for you to stay at your home if you or your family member is sick with symptoms of a cough, disease, or a fever. As stated before, you may join the online worship service.
- Lastly, it is still difficult to get hand sanitizer through the local stores. If you have any extra hand sanitizer, please be willing to share with the church and leave in the Narthex. That would be greatly appreciated.
With all my heart, mind and strength, I thank God for all of your peace and hope in Jesus Christ as we go through this crisis. I have confidence that throughout this fearful season, we, one body of Jesus Christ, will be more healthy, safe and a healing community. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.
In Peace of Christ,
Rev. Sam Park