Please find attached Richmond Presbyterian Church’s response to the current COVID-19 health crisis.
Message to the Congregation
RE: COVID -19 virus and our response
March 13, 2020
Rev. Kim took part in a conference call for religious leaders with the provincial government, including with Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Chief Medical Officer for B.C. Some of the core issues that were discussed include the following:
- Religious gatherings are not being stopped, although more recent news is that there is a ban on any gathering over 250 people.
- Religious leaders were asked to help their communities slow the spread of the virus by asking those who were feeling sick to stay home and to take measures to prevent the potential spread of the virus if they did gather.
- This includes restricting the possibility of transmission through shared food and contact such as shaking hands or hugging.
- The greatest concern is to take precautions now so that we don’t reach a critical mass of infections which we would no longer be able to control. It may still happen, but we should take as much precaution as we can to try to prevent that reality.
As such, in an abundance of caution, Session asks that if you are not feeling well that you stay home and not attend worship until you feel better. Also, if you have concerns about perhaps being in a situation of risk, that you also consider not attending worship until the situation has improved. Those at the highest risk levels, seniors with underlying health issues, are particularly advised to consider whether they should attend worship.
Session has decided to suspend the food portion of Munch and Mingle until further notice. Coffee and tea will be served after worship, but they will be served from the kitchen by designated servers. Session will be meeting this Sunday after worship to consider future actions.
When you are at church, please use the provided hand sanitizers upon entry and restrict physical touch with others. We will still offer the Peace of Christ but ask that people share the Peace with a smile or nod or bow. Common touch surfaces at the church will be regularly wiped down, including the backs of pews which people often hold for support. Offering plates will be available at the entrance to the sanctuary and we ask that you place your offering in the plate as you enter or exit worship – we will not be passing the plate around to minimize contamination.
Experts believe that we are still 3-4 weeks from the peak of the infections in our province, but let us all do what we can to minimize the spread of the virus as much as possible. We realize how fluid this situation is and ask for your patience and understanding as we try our best to respond to the pandemic with both a view to our desire to worship and our care for ourselves and those around us.
Session is concerned that those in the congregation not experience social isolation during this time. We invite and encourage people to be in regular contact with others by phone, especially those who you know may be lonely or most affected by this situation. Elders will particularly be vigilant about those in their district who may feel most vulnerable. If you would like a phone call or a visit from Rev. Kim, please contact the church.