Wabash Church of the Brethren
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.
At our Executive Committee meeting on June 24, we made the decision to re-open our building for a hybrid of online and in-person worship beginning on July 12. We will continue to offer a Zoom connection for those who feel the need to continue to stay home due to being at higher risk for COVID-19.
As we do so, I want to remind us that at our core level, the church itself has not been closed. The church is not its building, it is the people who make up our congregation. While we have been apart these past months, our congregation has continued its ministry, both to one another and to our larger community. Whether or not our building is open for worship services, we continue to be the church together.
With that said, I know that it is not the same for us to be worshiping and meeting online only. Yet as we have faced this new pandemic threat, that has been the safest, best option for us to pursue. As we continue to move forward through the rest of this year, we may find it necessary to return to an all online format depending on the circumstances surrounding our own congregation, our local community, and the world around us.
First and foremost, while we are attempting to adhere to all of the best practices recommended for us, there is still the possibility that our precautions will fail. This is important for all of us to remember as we each, individually, weigh whether to continue online or to return to in-person services. We continue to strongly suggest that if you are in a high-risk category for the COVID-19 virus, that you remain at home and join in online.
We will be requiring everyone to wear a mask at this time, following the CDC recommendations for public spaces. While we recognize that this may feel uncomfortable, the best science is showing that this is an important aspect of limiting the spread of COVID-19. Disposable masks are available at the church building, but you are encouraged to bring your own if you have one. If you feel that you cannot wear a mask for health reasons, that likely shows that it is best that you continue to join our services through the online option.
There will be a number of changes made to our services to encourage social distancing and to limit the amount of time that we spend in the sanctuary for our services. Our hybrid online/in-person services will be shorter to limit the amount of time that we are spending indoors.
We will not be printing and handing out bulletins at this time. Instead, we will have the projector running to show any needed announcements or other items that may be used during the service. All hymnals and Bibles have been removed from the pews for the time being. We will continue to have music during the service, but there will be no singing. Singing has been identified as an extremely high-risk activity.
Instead of passing the offering plate, we will have a box on the ushers table for you to use to drop in your tithes and offerings. You may also continue to mail them to the church if you prefer.
We will not be passing the microphone around for joys and concerns. This is an area that I have been pondering on how to do well for some time now, and one that will require some experimentation as we begin this process. Beginning with our first hybrid service, if you have an item to share, you are asked to email or text that joy or concern to Pastor Doug, who will share them on Sunday morning. This will allow both those online and in the building an opportunity to hear the joy or concern, while also minimizing the potential contacts between persons in the building.
All those who return for in-person services are asked to maintain social distancing of at least six feet at all times. As you choose a seat, we are asking that all households select a seat that allows for the maintaining of social distancing. Our sanctuary is large for the number of people that we have attending currently, so we should be able to spread out in this way fairly easily. You may end up needing to sit at a different place than you normally would.
As you arrive for in-person worship, we would ask that you do not enter the building until five minutes before the service. We will be restricting entrance to either the main glass doors or the elevator. We will prop open the glass door so as to limit the number of persons needing to touch the door. We have installed hand sanitizer stations at the bottom and top of the stairs near the main entrance. As you enter or leave the building, you are highly encouraged to use these stations. We have also placed sanitizing wipes throughout the sanctuary. We are asking as you leave the sanctuary, to please take a moment and use them to wipe down the pew where you are sitting. We are also requesting that you exit the building immediately following the end of the service, and to not congregate at the back of the sanctuary.
Finally, it is extremely important that, if you are feeling sick, that you do not join us for the in-person option. Whether it is due to a COVID-19 infection or another illness, we need to be willing for the sake of all of us, to stay home when we are unwell.
It is important for all of us to follow these guidelines to the best of our ability, so as to limit the chance of spreading COVID-19 as best as we can. These precautions and guidelines have been carefully considered and adopted as the best way to allow for us to resume holding services in our building. If you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch with Pastor Doug.
March 18, 2020
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!
Last night, the executive committee met via Zoom to discuss the ongoing situation regarding the COVID-19/Coronavirus situation. At this time, we have decided to cancel all in-person events at the Wabash Church of the Brethren through April 1, following national guidance to avoid all events with more than 10 persons in attendance. We will continue to monitor ongoing developments, and will provide appropriate updates to the congregation.
While we understand the desire and draw to continue meeting together on Sunday mornings as well other times through the week, at this point we felt that we need to take this step to do our part in helping to slow down the spread of this new disease. We trust that all will be able to understand our caution and concern in this challenging time. As a congregation, we are entering into this prolonged period of social distancing in a spirit of hope, love, and concern for one another.
It has long been my conviction that the church has never been the building, it is the body of believers committed to working together to further God’s work in our community. While we are apart physically, we can and we must continue to be committed to one another, to loving our neighbors as ourselves, to sharing together in this troubling time. We have the capacity and the ability to continue to be the church in this time.
I am committed to working with the entire congregation in finding ways for us to continue to connect with one another even as we move through this time when we are not meeting in person. Until we are able to meet in person again, we will continue to have online services via Zoom, with the service beginning at 10:30AM.
To connect to the Zoom meeting, you may go to https://zoom.us/j/393263884, or you may call 312-626-6799, and then enter meeting ID 393 263 884. You may begin connecting at 10:15AM each Sunday.
If you have any questions about how to connect, please call me. I can offer assistance and opportunities to practice connecting to a Zoom meeting. I will be working on reaching out to everyone with a phone call or Zoom time in the next week, to touch base and to see what needs may be out there.
Even in the midst of refraining from in-person meetings and services, our congregation is still incurring expenses that will need to be paid, including utilities, salaries, and support of ministries outside of our congregation. It is extremely important for us to continue to support the congregation financially. We would ask that you begin mailing a check or money order with your tithes and offerings to the church. They will be deposited on a weekly basis.
In the coming weeks, it is very important for us to be able to be in contact with each of you. Please be in touch with the church office or me to let us know your preferred method of contact, whether that is by email, phone, or letter.
Recognizing that, at this time, all of us are wondering what we should do, and how we can help, our congregation will be looking to offer concrete methods of helping one another, and those outside of our congregation. As these opportunities become available, information will be distributed to the congregation.
As we move through this time together, let us remember that we continue to be followers of Jesus Christ, even as we must spend time apart. Our community connections will be difficult, and we will certainly miss our weekly in-person worship services and other gatherings. Yet we put our trust in God, the creator of heaven and earth, who continues to walk alongside us in this time.
For those who are members or have been attending our congregation, a letter with this and further information has been mailed out today.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Doug and the Executive Committee of the Wabash congregation
March 13, 2020
After having discussions with the board on Wednesday evening, and following subsequent developments, we will be canceling in-person services this Sunday, March 15. Pastor Doug is working on technological options to allow us to meet virtually, and he will also be working on creating opportunities to keep us connected as a community through this time. As these develop, further information will be provided.
Decisions on meeting in-person for worship moving forward will be made as further developments continue. In addition, our weekly Tuesday morning Bible study will be canceled until further notice. This will resume when we are able to meet in-person for worship again.
This decision is made out of an abundance of caution, and not in response to a specific case in our community. We reviewed recommendations from Indiana governor Eric Holcomb to limit gatherings of 250 or more persons, decisions from all Wabash county schools to suspend in-person classes through April 13, and recommendations from county leaders to avoid any non-essential gatherings.
The time for containment of the virus is past. At this point it is prudent to slow the spread of the disease. This will prevent available medical facilities from becoming overburdened. The health care system can handle widespread sickness as long as the rate of infection does not rise too quickly.
Most healthy adults will not be affected by the virus; those who are affected will experience typical flu-like symptoms. Some people might experience more severe symptoms which could include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Older adults and those with compromised immune systems are the persons most at risk. As our congregational community has a number of persons who fall into the high-risk group, we are taking these steps to be pro-active in our response.
In addition, many nursing and long-term care facilities, including Timbercrest, Peabody, and Wellbrooke, are implementing protocols limiting in-person visitation, so please be sure to check with them before attempting to visit any family or friends. You are highly encouraged to be in contact with persons in such facilities by phone, email, text, or other technological means. This is especially important in this time, as the limitations on in-person visits has the potential to isolate persons in these facilities.
The executive committee and church board will continue to follow any new developments, and will implement any changes or recommendations that will be necessary in the future. We will communicate further decisions regarding this ongoing situation with the congregation.
You are encouraged to be following developments on your own, and continue to make decisions based on scientific recommendations. The Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries is offering a website with updated information and recommendations, which may be found at http://www.brethren.org/bdm/covid-19.html.
Be vigilant! As often happens, scammers are trying to take advantage of anxiety and fear surrounding COVID-19. Remember—there is currently no vaccine or miracle cure to prevent or cure COVID-19. Do not be fooled by anyone offering a cure. Always make sure to check your source of information.
We continue to care deeply about the health and well-being of our congregation, our community, our state, our nation, and our world. Please continue to be in prayer for all of those affected by this developing pandemic. If you have any questions or concerns, please be in contact with either Pastor Doug or Dennis Horn, board chair.
Dennis Horn, Board Chair
Service Times: 9:30am Sunday School, 10:30 Worship (Sundays)
645 Bond Street Wabash, IN 46992
Call us at +1.260-563-5291
March 14, 2020
Pastor Doug has set up an online meeting time for our worship service, tomorrow, March 15 using a platform called Zoom. If you have not used it before, it allows connections both online, and via phone.
Since this is a new way of connecting for our congregation, Pastor Doug has set up a time from 9:30-10AM for folks to connect, and test it out on your home computers and/or phones. Below you will find two meeting invitations. The first is for the test session, and the second for our worship service.
If you are connecting via the link on a computer for the first time, when you click on the link, you will be prompted to allow a small installation of the Zoom software on your computer.
The worship service stream will begin at 10:15, but the service will not begin until our regular 10:30 time. While it is scheduled until 11:30, we may end the service earlier.
The worship service meeting will be recorded. By connecting to the meeting, you are giving your consent to be recorded. Our plan is to make the recording available after the service, so those who are unable to join at the regular time, will be able to view it later.
Pastor Doug is looking forward to being able to connect with everyone who chooses to call or click the link in the morning.
Connection test meeting: 9:30-10AM.
Phone information: call 312-626-6799, then enter the following meeting ID: 559 965 122
Worship Service meeting: 10:15-11:30
Phone information: call 312-626-6799, then enter the following meeting ID: 393 263 884.
If you have any questions or difficulties, please call Pastor Doug at 260-225-3014.