March 11, 2020
Rev. Estelle Margarones
A Special Letter from your Senior Pastor and Church Moderator
On behalf of church leadership, we want you to know First Parish has a comprehensive plan in place to mitigate any potential effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Rev. Estelle has extensive experience in preparedness as she was the Massachusetts UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and chair of the UCC Massachusetts Disaster Resource and Response Team. We are collaborating with town and state officials as well as community partners.
It is still cold and flu season and with the additional consideration of COVID-19, we are taking a proactive position by implementing a common-sense approach. With a number of additional safeguards in place for our services and facilities, we remain open and available to you.
On Sunday, we will be enacting some temporary measures with regard to worship services. At the hospitality moment, we encourage you to smile, nod, wave, and bow; rather than to exchange hugs or handshakes. Pledges and offerings may be deposited in the large freestanding boxes in narthex on your way in or out of church as we will refrain from passing collection plates. We continue to monitor developments and advisories and will take additional steps if cautioned to do so.
We feel confident that we are taking appropriate steps with regard to being the welcoming, peaceful, and anchoring presence that we are in this time of heightened awareness of contagious illness.
We have been advised to ask you to stay home if you are sick. If you have been traveling, you are invited to consider staying home. The CDC is recommending that people at higher risk avoid crowds. We respect the fact that decisions about engaging in activities are personal decisions. Do what is right for you.
Sunday Service information is available at www.FirstParishYork.net under the Sunday Worship tab. There, you can find bulletins and both print and video copies of sermons.
The following are guidelines from the Center for Disease Control:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Adults 60 and over and people with serious chronic underlying conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney disease are at higher risk. According to the White House press conference on Monday, those who are immunocompromised are also at higher risk. This population is advised to avoid crowds and to have additional supplies and medications on hand. Learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.htm
Other links you may find helpful follow:
https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4886.pdf (Tips for talking with children)
Jan Jonas (Jancjonas@aol.com)
Rev. Estelle Margarones (Estelle@FirstParishYork.net)
Together, we can bring Christ's word and work to the world.