We met as a staff and emailed the elders and deacons to talk about the Covid19 virus and how we can best respond as a church, in order to provide a supportive, safe, and responsive community.
Though we will have less physical contact with one another in the days ahead, we want to make sure that our support network remains stronger than ever. We hope each member of FPCNC knows that you have the love and prayers of our community. We ask that you contact the church office (203-966-0002 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you or another member of the church is hospitalized or ill. Please ask your family or caregivers to contact us if you are not able to. The church phone lines forward to our cell phones and you can email us at any time. Even if we cannot make physical contact with someone, we will be available, and we encourage you to reach out. If you have any concerns about confidentiality, please let us know, and we will be sure to honor them.
If you have not seen someone for a while, please check on them and let someone on the staff know if any issues arise. Listen to your intuition and please call on those who are vulnerable. We are in this together!
We acknowledge that if a staff member contracts the virus, then he or she has the potential to spread it to more people. In order to maintain the health and safety of our staff, we will follow the school district guidelines when it comes to our office hours. Since the New Canaan Public Schools have closed for two weeks, then we will work from home. If we cannot work from home, we will maintain a safe social distance from one another. Our staff regularly works with Slack and Zoom to communicate with one another, so we can easily continue our work without any foreseeable interruptions.
Mike Handler, the Director of Emergency Management in New Canaan, has urged church leaders to take the lead in encouraging people to not gather in groups. So, we will not be holding in-person services this Sunday, choir, or events this week. We will continue to monitor the situation from week to week, send out notices, and update our website.
Rev. Kibbie Laird, Victoria Shields, and our professional singers will be leading worship for the livestream at 10:00 am on Sunday morning. Spencer Reeves will use Zoom to stream and record services, so that anyone with a computer or a phone will be able access worship. We will send out an email, with instructions on how to sign in on your computer or phone in to listen. We will continue to work with Spencer in order to make sure that any bugs will be worked out as the weeks go on. If the federal or local government asks us to quarantine completely, then the staff will record a worship podcast that will be available to members on Sunday morning.
When we do meet, we will keep responding to the news as we think about our worship practices around greeting one another, communion, and passing the plate.
We do not know exactly what is ahead, but there are indications that the government will be relying on churches to help respond to the crisis. If you need help with technology, food, meals, or any other resource, we will try to help or connect you with people who can help. We have a staff, deacons, and pastoral care team that is dedicated to making sure that our members are cared for and loved.
I am honored to serve with a staff and a congregation who cares so deeply for one another. Thank you for being the beloved community. Already, the outpouring of love and care has been overwhelming.
Peace and love to you,
Carol Howard Merritt
From the Town of New Canaan
As new information becomes available via the Town’s Outcall System and Facebook at facebook.com/newcanaanoem/ all information will be posted to the Town’s website at www.newcanaan.info under the COVID-19, CORONAVIRUS link. Additionally, you may reach the State of Connecticut information line by calling 211. Please call (203) 594-4100 with any questions or concerns and reserve 911 for true life-threatening emergencies.