Note: You can download a copy of this letter here.
Beloved St. Andrew community,
We want you to be aware that St. Andrew is committed to being proactive, reasonable, and instructive as we respond to a complex and rapidly evolving situation around the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting infection, COVID-19 (from Corona Virus Disease 2019). The health and safety of our community and all of our partners who share the facility is paramount. Yet we also recognize that at the heart of our faith is life that is shared. We need to be together, even as we need to protect one another, and honor the choices of others—especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and other corona viruses. We trust we all will refrain from making judgment or taking offense in this time of anxiety.
Therefore, we do not anticipate “neglecting to meet together” (Hebrews 10:25), even as other organizations may choose to do so. At this point we plan to worship together weekly. We have and may cancel, reschedule or hold remotely other meetings. Exercising an abundance of caution, we have implemented additional preventative measures to reduce contamination and transmission, including these:
We do encourage reasonable individual participation according to your best judgment. Among best practices for our concerns:
By now I trust you have been educating yourself on what we know and what we don’t know about the disease and best practices to prevent its spread. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that while the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low for the general public in the United States, current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will continue to spread and more US cases will be identified.
According to the CDC, There is still much to learn about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. Based on what is currently known, person-to-person contamination happens most frequently with close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. Transmission of COVID-19 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented, but current evidence suggests that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.
The CDC recognizes preventing and mitigating an outbreak as the most important strategy and recommends these common preventative measures.
Above all, remember and rejoice that “nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Brief Statement of Faith; Romans 8:38-39).
Grace & Peace,