COVID-19 UPDATE, MAY 1, 2020
from Senior Pastor Nanette Pitt and Moderator Larry Becker
Please join us in remembering in prayer the millions of people directly impacted by COVID-19, as we acknowledge how difficult this time has been and continues to be for so many of us. Oddly, at the same time many of us can celebrate that, even as we wrestle with fear and social isolation, this time has also brought blessings with more time at home, a chance to regroup, and reduced carbon emissions. We thought it was time for us to write again and share with you what we know today, what we expect in the near term, and what we are anticipating for the longer term.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW…
Last Monday, Governor DeWine announced the Responsible RestartOhio plan in which most businesses will reopen in the next two weeks, provided they meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. These include requiring face coverings for all employees and recommending them for clients and customers at all times; maintaining good hygiene and social distancing; and limiting store capacity in order to meet social distancing guidelines.
Because the danger of COVID-19 still exists, Ohio’s Stay at Home order remains in effect to encourage Ohioans to continue making reasonable decisions about leaving home. Gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited. Additionally, as you know, public schools are online-only for the remainder of this school year, as are most universities.
Therefore, our church building remains closed at this time. Apart from the essential functions outlined below, we will not host any in person gatherings, groups, or meetings. We ask that you observe the Stay at Home order and refrain from visiting the church, dropping off items for donation, etc.
The May 17 congregational meeting has been postponed. We will reschedule it when restrictions on large in-person gatherings are lifted and, even then, we plan to take a very cautious and well-considered approach.
The members of your Governing Board have agreed to continue serving in their respective roles until a congregational meeting can take place. We hope that all the other board members will do similarly until our next congregational meeting when a new slate is presented by the Nominating Board.
The Governing Board will meet remotely via Zoom on Thursday, May 28, to adopt our new budget (for our new fiscal year running June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021). All church members are welcome to join this meeting. Please contact Larry if you would like to attend.
WHAT WE EXPECT IN THE NEAR TERM…
Worship will continue to be offered online only on Sundays at both 9:30 and 11am and may be viewed at www.akronfcc.org/live and Facebook. We continue to appreciate your presence and support as we refine our system and invest in equipment to improve your remote experience. Our pastors also offer a Midweek Time of Refection on Wednesdays at 12pm online.
Our food justice ministry continues to meet the needs of families experiencing food insecurity during these troubling times. All of these programs pay special attention to correct social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing protocols.
- The Feeding Hope Food Pantry, run by a small cadre of lower-risk volunteers, distributed food for almost 16,900 meals this past March to 1,408 people in 480 families.
- The Feed My Sheep Garden, in collaboration with Let’s Grow Akron, is gearing up for our second annual Spring Plant Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. Online ordering is now available at https://lets-grow-akron.square.site. To schedule a pick up time, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/9040B4AAFA82BA5FD0-spring. Delivery is also available within a 5 mile radius. A small group of volunteers is needed for the plant sale. Please contact Sam Phillips if you are able to assist.
- The Love Truck continues to provide a community meal on the last Saturday of the month.
We continue to offer opportunities for online faith and fellowship gatherings. Each week’s News & Notes (included in our Sunday worship materials) and our monthly Chronicle detail these offerings.
WHAT WE PLAN FOR THE LONGER TERM…
Together with the Governing Board, we will pay close attention to the recommendations from state and local government and add a judicious amount of caution as we seek to protect and thereby love our neighbors as ourselves in deciding when to roll back the current restrictions. We are committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of our members and friends and therefore plan to continue to offer online options, especially for worship.
We need your support to continue these vital ministries. Please consider making a gift to support the church operations at www.akronfcc.org/donate. A recurring gift supports the church’s mission even more fundamentally, bolstering ministries that can then be planned and secured.
Members and friends have been impacted greatly by the pandemic. Some have been furloughed, some have lost their jobs, and others do not know if there will be a job to return to. If you need to lower your giving, please consider still giving whatever you can. Gifts in any amount are valuable.
If you are financially secure, please consider increasing your gift and donating to the church’s Confidential Aid Fund, which is used to assist members and friends with bills and other necessary expenses when they are in financial distress. Conversely, if you find yourself in financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic, please contact Rev. Nanette Pitt as the Confidential Aid Fund may be able to assist.
We invite your continued prayers for our neighbors around the world and for the world itself. We urge you to continue to stay home except for essential trips, to wear a mask when you are out of the house, to continue to follow social distancing guidelines, and, of course, to wash your hands often.
Rev. Nanette Pitt, Senior Minister, and Larry Becker, Moderator