NUMC Response to COVID-19

Drinking Tea
UPDATED: March 13, 2:30pm:
‘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.’  -Matthew 25:40 
Churches and other groups that hold public gatherings have been talking, praying and seeking guidance on how best to love our God and our neighbors during this epidemic. 

This afternoon the staff and lay leadership of Northfield United Methodist Church considered the actions and requests from the school district, Department of Health and Gov. Tim Walz. All of our discussion was based on how to keep vulnerable people safe and secure during this epidemic.

The leadership have agreed to communicate the following statement via Facebook, the website, signage and email:
In response to MN Department of Health guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, public events such as the Super Wednesday meals, Playtime with Toddlers, and worship services at the Northfield United Methodist Church are cancelled until further notice. Hold in prayer our first responders, healthcare workers, and those who are ill - we are all in this together.
This is not a building closure, but a cessation of our open public gatherings.
This coming week we will explore options for remote worship, discipleship and connection. This decision and actions will be reviewed on March 20.
In times like this it's important to seek JOY: 
  • Jesus: don't forget to pray. 
  • Others: remember to donate dry goods and toilet paper to the CAC
  • You: Continue washing your hands, practice "social distancing," and take good care of yourself.
[Statement as of March 12]
As we face the COVID-19 epidemic our community has been engaged in conversation on how to care for everyone's health and safety.
First, know that your pastors and parish nurse are in active contact with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Northfield Public Schools, and attending to developing guidelines around large group gatherings which we will intend to follow. As of today there is no recommended cessation of large group gatherings. But your church is making some changes to worship:
  • Pew pads will not be passed. Please speak with a pastor directly if you would like a visit or to refer a visitor.
  • Passing the peace will consist of a brief wave
  • The time of offering will not include passing the plate. Offering plates will instead be placed at the doors so you can make an offering upon entering or exiting the sanctuary.
  • Communion, not scheduled to take place again until April 5, will be pre-poured into small cups by gloved hands. The Pastors, with gloved hands, will distribute the bread into your cupped hands.
Other changes we are making to the life of the church include:
  • Some events are being rescheduled by their organizers due to an abundance of caution, not because of any official recommendation. These include a volunteer visitor training and an Alzheimer's workshop.
  • All teams involved in decision-making are asked to vote that meeting online, over email, or by conference call will be acceptable options. This ensures crucial decisions can still be made even if in-person meetings are not possible.
Topics that have come up, which we are keeping an eye on:
  • Will scheduled church programming, such as Playtime and Super Wednesday, still occur? Yes, given what we know today. MDH does not yet advise canceling community gatherings. We will send an email, post on Facebook, post on our website and announce in church any cancellations. 
In this time, please remember this key advice from the Department of Health:
  • Stay home when you have a cough and are feeling sick.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • When you cough, cover your mouth using the inside of your elbow
God loves you, and so do your siblings in Christ here at NUMC.