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CREC Coronavirus Response - March 13, 2020

Dear CREC Family,

In view of the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump has declared a national emergency, and Governor Larry Hogan has placed Maryland in a state of emergency following the first case of community transmission in our state. Governor Hogan also has prohibited large gatherings of more than 250 people, along with a number of other restrictions, which you can find here: https://governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/

Since these orders do not apply to CREC’s gathering, we will still be meeting for worship on Sunday, March 15. However, in light of this serious health crisis, we will be makes a number of changes and recommendations.
First, we encourage you not to panic, but to pray, prepare, and be prudent.

• Here is a wonderful prayer from the Book of Common Worship: “Holy and mighty Lord, who didst turn back the angel of the plague from the dwellings of Thy people; We beseech Thee to hear our cry for those who are suffering and dying under the visitation of disease. Mercifully bless the means which are used to stay the spread of sickness, strengthen those who labor to heal and comfort the afflicted, support those who are in pain and distress, speedily restore those who have been brought low, and unto all who are beyond healing, grant Thy heavenly consolation and Thy saving grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

• Preparations include basic necessities such as food and water, as well as winter sickness supplies like disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, antibacterial hand soap, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cough and cold medicines, and tissues, as well as a good supply of any prescription medications.

• Prudence involves washing your hands, washing your hands, and washing your hands. In addition, if you are feeling ill, if you are an “at risk” individual (At risk individuals are those 60 and over, or those with existing health conditions such as heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, or a weakened immune system), or if you have recently traveled to a high risk area inside or outside the United States, please do not attend worship. If you are at all concerned about attending worship, please feel free to stay home during this time.

• Further guidance may be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Second, we will be doing the following at our worship service:
• Disinfecting doorknobs, light switches, hand rails, etc. before worship.
• Increasing the spacing between the seats in the sanctuary.
• Posting signs reminding everyone to wash their hands.
• Verbally responding to the passing of the peace, but remaining in place and not initiating handshakes or hugs or other physical contact.
• The Lord’s Supper will include pre-cut bread and disposable cups for wine, and you will be invited to come to the table by rows to receive the elements, rather than passing the trays.
• Placing our tithes and offerings in the plate by the double doors rather than passing the plate. (This may be done at any point before, during, or immediately following the service.)
• Suspending coffee and snacks following the service.

In addition, CREC is opening access to our live streaming camera so that members may join in from their homes. Access is limited to 10 devices, so we ask that families watch together, and that you not share the access information publicly. For access, you may click this link: https://video.nest.com/live/7o39TWBerx, and enter the password “watchCREC1841”. We have also attached Sunday’s bulletin for your use at home.

Many of these actions will seem very counterintuitive, as love ordinarily means contact, closeness, and fellowship. However, in an emergency like this, love looks like distance and discretion. If circumstances change, and services at CREC are temporarily suspended, this too will be a way of loving our neighbor.

In the spirit of loving our neighbor, you are all encouraged to frequently maintain contact with one another by phone and online. If any of our members needs care or help, please reach out to the deacons, elders, or other members. Also, be mindful of your local neighbors, especially the elderly, and show them the love of Christ during this time by checking in with them and offering your help.

We may not give in to fear, because our God is sovereign over all things, including emergencies and epidemics. We belong, body and soul, to Jesus Christ, and neither death nor life can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Our calling as followers of Jesus is to refuse to panic, to love our neighbors and consider their needs as more important than our own, to honor and submit to those in authority, and to show forth Christ’s love in all things, knowing that we serve a merciful and loving God who has promised to heal all our diseases, in this life or the next.

May God bless you and keep you,
Pastor Bowen

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2020 by CJ Bowen