June 17, 2021
Dear Saints of Trinity,
We had a scare this week. It was serious and related to COVID-19. This is what I wrote to you last Tuesday. It was based on a situation we had at the church that offered a wake-up call for all of us.
“I need to report to you that we’ve all been potentially exposed to COVID. Last Wednesday, one of the outside groups that meet in the fellowship hall was led by someone who was unknowingly carrying, and therefore spreading the disease. She did not wear a mask, had no symptoms that day, became sick the following day, and was ultimately diagnosed with the deadly virus. She was one who believed that her faith would keep her safe. It didn’t. What that means is that she exposed that group to COVID, and in so doing, exposed this church to the virus. We are trying to figure out what steps we now need to take to make sure everyone is safe, and that this doesn’t happen again. This was a wake-up call for us. It’s why we will continue to wear masks on Sundays, continue to try and socially distance, and continue to try and keep each other safe. The virus is still active, and it is opportunistic. Let’s take care of one another as we continue through this time.”
Friends, I received a number of reactions and responses to this “Alert” and want to let you know we’re taking them all very seriously. Here’s what I mean.
We will be reminding all church groups and outside groups that they are required to strictly follow the guidelines set forth by our denomination, County medical officials, State officials, and the CDC. Each of those organizations must clearly agree that if there are unvaccinated individuals in any group, the entire group needs to remain masked, needs to be social distancing, and needs to make sure that sanitation protocols are followed. We know that here at Trinity, there are those among us who could not be vaccinated because of health challenges. We need to protect them. For all others, particularly some of our outside groups, part of the challenge is that following protocols requires honesty from all members of every group; trust that requires honesty about whether or not each member has been fully vaccinated. And a reminder, to be fully vaccinated means two shots and a two-week waiting period following the second shot. If there are individuals in any group who either don’t believe that COVID is real, and therefore remain unvaccinated, or individuals who refuse to wear masks, given what has now happened, we will ask that those groups find another location to meet. We won’t place this church at risk again. As harsh as that may sound, as those who seek to follow John Wesley and even Jesus, “Do no harm” is one of our most precious and prominent statements for us. One more thing.
We all know that, particularly for our most vulnerable, being vaccinated does not guarantee that they won’t contract COVID. They can, and if exposed, can get very sick. We now see that in the care facility here in Clallam Country that currently has fourteen cases. Those cases were brought into that facility by someone who was unvaccinated and who wasn’t careful about wearing a mask. I can’t help but look at the result of that as carelessness. COVID is not behind us. The pandemic is not over. It’s getting better and is growing smaller as more people are vaccinated, but in no way does that mean that we can let down our guard. So we won’t.
Part of my role as pastor is to make sure we continue to be a safe place; a safe place to worship, to pray, to meet, and to offer love and safety to one another. Part of that love currently comes in the form of a mask. I want to assure you that we will continue to follow the direction of those who know more about this than we do. That includes the CDC and our own medical personnel. Let’s continue to pray for one another as we continue to move toward safely reopening.
Some Concerns that we have:
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; for essential workers; and for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.
- For peace in our country.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.
October 22, 2020
Dear Saints of Trinity UMC,
First, I want to assure you, the saints of Trinity, that I do not have COVID-19. I got sick, and it is probably a coronavirus, but it’s not novel nor is it potentially serious. It feels a lot like a really bad cold or maybe the flu. Nope, I haven’t gotten my flu shot yet and continue to wait for the 65+ version. I will get it once the supply exceeds the demand. In the meantime, I’ll be fine. Now, with that said, I want to talk about COVID-19 but first I need to take this opportunity to say thank you.
To the team that came together to offer worship last Sunday in the parking lot, a huge thank you. I appreciate how you all came together and made it work. It was genius to utilize the recording from last Wednesday, and to go ahead with every other aspect of the parking lot service. You are the best and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all that you do, even though it wasn’t in the best of circumstances. I also want to thank Kathleen for stepping in for me yesterday (Wednesday) for recording the online service for next week, and for preaching and leading again this coming Sunday. Thank you, Pam and Chris, Donna and Pauline, Randy and Jim, and all of you who stepped in and made things run so smoothly. I won’t be back for the service this Sunday so am counting on you again. This virus is hanging on. I’m making progress, great progress, albeit slower progress than I would want, and my apologies for that.
This leads me to COVID-19. I’ve been really careful about social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and sanitizing surfaces. I still caught a virus. Nope, it’s not COVID-19 but it is a virus. I wasn’t vigilant enough to take the kinds of precautions that would have helped me avoid catching this. I’ve been able to contact trace it back to potentially three specific situations, and there is simply no way to know which of the three it was. I’m sharing that because it’s what can happen if we’re not vigilant in our efforts. And that brings me to the next piece of what I want to share.
I contacted the District Superintendent again today asking about reopening. I read through the Governor’s newest set of recommendations for religious organizations. The Governor has opened things up a bit, so I thought I would ask the question in regard to us. So far, the answer is still “no.” What we can do, and this is good news, is to have ten people in one place at one time with protocols in place. It means we can begin to combine some of our Neighborhood gatherings, particularly if they are held at the church. I want to propose that I begin to do three a week rather than six. That will help open up some time to do some other kinds of needed work right now. The harder news is that we can’t yet meet together in larger groups. If and when the Conference leaders allow us to move to the next phase, and if they agree with the Governor, we would be able to have the sanctuary open to 25% of its occupancy, as long as we practiced all of the other required protocols. In addition, we could shut the curtain to the fellowship hall and allow another 25% to worship in there. We would need to treat that gathering as being in a separate building. They would need to use the outside entrances that lead into the fellowship hall rather than the front doors, and again, would have to follow the same protocols as those worshipping in the sanctuary. Social distancing and mask-wearing would be key to all of this as would other protocols. So, friends, there is hope…always there is hope, but to get there we all need to be vigilant.
As exciting as that sounds, I want to again say, I unintentionally let down my guard and caught a coronavirus. One place was on a trail where someone stepping up to me asked me about the river. Another was at a lunch, and the other was at my son’s home. I caught a virus, got sick and it hasn’t been pleasant; as a matter of fact, far from it. I’m recovering and will be back in the office next week, but I share all of this with you to say: stay safe, don’t let your guard down for a minute, and that we all need to be in this together. Let’s pray for each other and even more so as we see the day approaching where we’ll be able to take that next step in getting back together. I miss you!
Some Concerns that we have:
- Pastor Brad for recovery from a virus
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. Prayers for those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For all those who are ill from the covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for all the first responders/essential workers.
- For peace in our country throughout the political process.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal
Even though you can’t be with those having birthdays this week, emails or phone calls are appreciated.
The parking lot service continues at 10:00 am. You can still view our service online. Just go to our website, sequimtumc.org, for a link to the service.
We still ask that you mail your contributions to the church and make sure to use our Post Office Box 3697 instead of our street address. We thank you for your continued support of our ministries here at Trinity.
Trinity United Methodist Church’s Annual Charge Conference
– will be next Wednesday, October 28, at 1 pm. It will be limited to selected Admin Council members and will connect with the District Superintendent via Zoom. Our annual report will be brief this year due to limited activities and access to the church.
A few more volunteers needed for food box distribution
– on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month in October, November, and December. Operations are 11 am-2 pm with some volunteers needed before and after these hours to help with set-up and clean-up. All positions require standing but people rotate for breaks. Bottled water and snacks are provided. If you would like to help, please contact Jan Kreidler, 360-681-5027 or email@example.com.
Support group for those experiencing loss
Becky Morgan and Kathleen Charters invite you to an in-person support meeting for those who grieve lost opportunities due to COVID-19, e.g., trips, celebrations, weddings, funerals, etc. In-person meetings are limited to 5 people so there are limited seats. Please contact Deacon Kathleen (240-463-7598 Mobile, 360-504-3150 Home, or Deacon Charters) if you are interested in participating.
Topic: Challenges and Comfort
Dates/Time: Every week on Tuesdays, through December 15, 2-3:30 pm
Upper Room daily devotionals
— for November/December are available for you to pick up at the church Monday-Friday from 9 am to 2 pm outside the main door by the office.
Office hours note
TUMC Office hours are 9 am – 2 pm Monday through Friday. However, due to limited access to the building during this phase of opening, we are keeping the doors locked. There is a doorbell to the right of the main door (by the office) that you need to ring to alert Marian and she will let you in. It is best to call ahead so we are aware that you are coming. Thanks so much for your patience!