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Memo Regarding Ascension's Response
to the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 12, 2020

Dear Ascension Parishioners,

We have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic recommendations closely, consulted the VT Health Department, and are monitoring the ELCA New England churches Facebook page, as well as staying in touch with local churches for recommendations.

Council, along with Jess (Director of Education), just concluded an emergency meeting and made the following decisions in order to be prudent (or as council president Barry Lemley says “have an abundance of caution and be aware that we are leaders in social responsibility”) while protecting ourselves and others:
  • Until further notice all Ascension worship services, in person meetings, and Sunday school in the building have been cancelled, effective this Sunday.
 
Further action items on which we are working:
 
  • We encourage worship and Sunday school in the privacy of your homes, ideally during the regular worship hour.
  • Pr. Nancy will work with staff members to videotape each Sunday sermon and prayers to have available for viewing or listening on our website. Elizabeth will create the worship bulletins as normal, and they will emailed to all parishioners.
  • Jess will create lessons for the families to study at home and possibly work out a way to virtually communicate by Zoom.
  • Renters will make their own decisions about use of the space.
  • We will encourage all groups that use our space to wipe down door handles and other surfaces with Lysol and paper towels. (Lysol will be made available in several areas.)
  • The staff (Pr. Nancy and Elizabeth) will continue to work in the building, and E-News will go out as normal. Please feel free to communicate with staff via phone or email.
  • Worship staff (e.g., the organist) who would be paid as part of normal worship services will continue to be paid.
  • We encourage you to continue to keep up your church contributions.
  • Small groups can meet in the church building for worship or prayer, please just give Pr. Nancy notice.
  • We encourage each family to make preparations to keep themselves safe by following the CDC and the Vermont Health Department guidelines.
  • Bishop Hazelwood recommends that if a person is healthy, please consider volunteering to help agencies working with the more vulnerable.
  • Consider parishioners who may need a phone call for reassurance or prayer.
We will communicate with you via E-News and emails for updates to this fluid situation.

Peace and blessings,

Pr. Nancy 
PRAYERS

For the Sick

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve those who are sick, and give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs. May they be strengthened in their weakness and have confidence in your loving care, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For People Facing Uncertainty

God of the present moment, God who in Jesus still the storm and soothes the frantic heart: bring hope and courage to us all as we wait in uncertainty. Bring hope that you will make us the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness: you are God, and we need you.” (edited excerpt from “A New Zealand Prayer Book)
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