St. John’s responds to the coronavirus
March 13, 2020
Dear St. John’s Spiritual Community,
Today I determined the following, along with excellent advice from five leaders on our governing Council, as a result of the spreading Coronavirus in Santa Fe and New Mexico. One thing we know about COVID-19 is that, like any airborne virus, it is spread more easily through larger gatherings of people (25 or more). Out of respect for our community and local healthcare systems, and out of concern for the health and safety of our congregation, we have developed the following plan:
Saint John’s is suspending all in-person worship celebrations and Sunday morning groups or classes until further notice. We fully support keeping our Bag~n~Hand Food Pantry OPEN to the fullest extent that is possible during this health crisis and we look to the B~n~H steering committee to discern what are the best ways of providing the food resources. We anticipate the need for additional healthy volunteers to step up to assist during these challenging times. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the volunteers for your continued commitment and service among the hungry in and around Santa Fe!
Our facilities will also be open in the evenings for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as usual in order to fulfill our commitments to anonymous support groups (i.e. ACA, AA, NA, S-Anon, Al Anon). This action is being taken in order to protect not only the St. John’s community, but your Santa Fe community of friends, neighbors and family as well. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and others agree that in order to decrease transmission of this potentially deadly virus, social distancing is at this point, a very critical step.
Please know that we are exploring electronic and other methods of providing for worship opportunities, but that we believe taking this action now is an act of love toward all of you and in consideration of your health and safety and the well-being of our society.During this time, our teamwork staff will work with care in or out of the office in their areas of ministry for changes and adaptations and communications as needed.
Our leadership council members and our staff are keeping you and the entire congregation in our prayers, and encourage you to do the same. There will likely be more emails or texts from me in the future in this regard, but this is what I am able to share for now.
Healing Grace and Peace of Christ in abundance for each one of you,
Brad Bennett, Senior Pastor
St. John’s United Methodist Church ~ Santa Fe
(432) 770-2981 (mobile – best number)
(505) 982-5397 x103 (office)
FLATTEN THE CURVE
You may have heard this phrase recently, as protective measures have been promoted through news, social media, and by word-of-mouth. By doing whatever we can to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 now, we can help reduce the strain on our healthcare system and ensure that more of those battling COVID-19 can receive the care they require. (See the “Flatten the Curve” graphic below.)
Guidance for Self-Care
Both the WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommend that you take the usual precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. During hand washing, sing the Doxology or the alphabet song in order to ensure that you get your hands really clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Do not touch anyone outside of your immediate family. Express your greeting through such actions as gently tapping your heart, or offering a friendly smile and wave.
- Clean surfaces you often touch.
- Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick.
If you develop symptoms of illness, such as a sore throat, difficulty breathing or a fever, call the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH (505) 827-2339 daytime or (505) 827-0006 after hours). They will guide you on appropriate actions to take and will arrange for testing as appropriate. If you cannot get through to the DOH, the Governor’s office has established a HOT LINE at (855) 600-3453, where you will be assisted with the same decisions.Please do not go to the emergency room. Either the DOH or the HOT LINE will help you evaluate your symptoms and guide your actions appropriately.