Wesley UMC Response to COVID-19

Pastor's Blog

Wesley Family,

coronavirusAs you have surely heard by now of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). I wanted to be intentional to share some information and how Wesley will be responding. Most people under 60 years old and those without an underlying health condition should be fine, even if you get this virus. We are asking for your help to protect our vulnerable people from infection and to help delay the onset of the virus in our community.

With prevention in mind, the staff of Wesley and I are implementing the following changes to our worship services. These changes are effective immediately:

LIMIT PHYSICAL CONTACT: A verbal greeting or head nod will be our norm for the next month or so. Refrain from shaking hands, fist bumps, and hugs.

WESLEY GREETERS: Doors will be held open to limit the number of people handling entry doors.

NO HAND SHAKING: We will not shake or hold hands during the welcoming and closure of worship.

OFFERING: Offering will be collected by baskets, monitored by the Ushers, by the sanctuary doors during exit of worship. Online, bank draft, and kiosk giving are available. We are not passing the plates.

COMMUNION: Communion during the 8:30 a.m. worship will use individual cups. The April 5th communion during the 9:17 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services will likely follow suite.

In addition to our preventive measures, we ask that if you are experiencing an illness, other than seasonal allergies, please watch us on YouTube (Wesley UMC Greenville) or the Cable Access channel on GEUS and do not come to worship. For those with underlying medical conditions, please use discretion. To limit large crowd exposure, I encourage you to attend the 8:30 a.m. worship service. This service is not as full and those attending can spread out.

At this time, Wesley is suspending our in-person visitation to nursing and assisted living facilities and homebound members. A letter detailing this action has been sent to each person in that group. If you would like to send a card or letter to those we are not able to visit at this time, please call the church office for address information. For all other church events, ministry leaders will communicate with you if events are changed, delayed or cancelled.

Thank you for helping us keep church safe for all. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Let’s treat this season like Jesus were in need of our care.

Remember, hand washing is vital in prevention of this virus and covering your cough or sneeze is crucial. Use your elbow! I am including additional information that has aided our decision in putting these changes into effect if you would like to know more.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected].

In Christ,
Rev. Chris Yost, Lead Pastor

This is based in large part on what we know from King County Health officials who met with our United Methodist siblings Tuesday in the greater Seattle area. The unique concern of medical professionals comes from two directions 1) the rapid onset of this virus means a much larger volume of people, all at once, could be infected and require medical treatment outpacing the system’s capacity to treat those affected 2) we do not have a “herd immunity” against this type of strain. Put another way: as a population, we have an immunity to variants of the flu, such that even if a new flu strain emerges, our bodies have some experience fighting that type of infection. COVID-19 is a novel strain, novel means new (our bodies cannot use its existing immunity to help as with the flu), so our bodies must learn how to fight this new strain from scratch.

Our measures are simply to delay the spread of COVID-19 and will not prevent people from ultimately being exposed to it. However, we are trying to slow the onset over a few months instead of a few weeks. The goal is two-fold: a) to keep the number of people needing critical care and treatment within a range which can be handled by our medical system; b) to allow time for treatment protocols and medications to be developed for greater effectiveness at treating people when they do get this.

It appears those who are otherwise healthy will only have minor symptoms. Healthy folks need to be mindful of their carrying of the virus to those who are vulnerable.

Wesley is a loving place to be a part of the body of Christ. Even if you are healthy as a horse, please be considerate of those for whom showing up in church is an act of bravery. Please do not just shake their hand, give a hug or even a fist bump right now. I am confident we will soon enough be able to resume such activities which are a part of our passing of the peace of Christ. For now, the verbal greeting and head nod will have to suffice. These measures are not designed to be permanent and will be evaluated as we learn more.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public
World Health Organization

  • COVID-19 virus CAN be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.
  • Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
  • Taking a hot bath does NOT prevent the new coronavirus disease.
  • The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
  • Hand dryers are NOT effective in killing the new coronavirus.
  • UV lamps should NOT be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
  • Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will NOT kill viruses that have already entered your body.
  • Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do NOT provide protection against the new coronavirus.
  • There is NO evidence that regularly rinsing your nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
  • Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is NO evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
  • Antibiotics do NOT work against viruses, only bacteria.
  • There is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.