Dear Friends and Family of Immanuel,
We wanted to update you on Immanuel’s calm and prudent response to COVID-19. I and the other pastors on staff and the Session have been monitoring the situation with regard to the virus (and containing its spread), including noting the recommendations of the CDC, the Virginia Health Department, and Arlington and Fairfax counties; observing widespread church service cancellations across the region (and the country); and heeding the recommendations we received this morning from our National Capital Presbytery leadership council. Given that we are a congregation that is home to many folks who are 60 years plus and others who are in the target group for susceptibility, we will be taking the following actions:
1. All in-person worship services will be cancelled for at least the next two weeks. We will be taking our worship service online-with opportunities to access it on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. via our various digital platforms (website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube).
We will be sending information that will include a worship bulletin (in PDF format) and instructions for joining the service. Please remember, we are not cancelling “church,” – just the in-person worship service. The church is the people and there are many ways to gather and stay connected as “church” even if the precautions we must take in this time of pandemic keep us at a social distance.
2. We are suspending or postponing all gatherings on campus, including the Auction (originally scheduled for March 21st), choirs, small groups, and Bible studies.
3. We will be encouraging church leadership and small groups to meet via the Zoom platform, online. For instructions, please contact Russ Carlton.
4. If you have any questions, please contact one of the pastors via call or text.
5. Please reach out to one another by phone, online, and through prayer. If you need contact information for a pastor, member or friend and can’t access a directory, please contact Russ Carlton.
6. We are considering ways we can respond to those in our society and congregation who will be most impacted by the COVID-19 and its aftermath.
7. We will inform you through email, the website, and Facebook as to how we will proceed beyond the two-week window.
We do not lead or respond out of fear or anxiety, but out of love and care for our church and the wider community. We will use this as an opportunity to grow, to engage in some new worship experiences, and to foster deeper connections that go beyond our time together on Sunday mornings. Our greatest and most pressing concern is to protect those who are at higher risk, both within and beyond our congregation. We want to be part of the solution.
Please, do not be anxious. As Christians, we have a unique and distinct duty to care for those most at risk during times of disease. We have faithfully carried out this work for two thousand years.
We will face the challenges ahead together with grace and strength.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” –John 14:27
Pastors Aaron, Katie, Susan, and Billy