The following FAQ addresses some of the questions you may have about how St. Paul’s United Church is responding to the COVID-19 virus. If you have any further questions, please phone the office (386-3335), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Why are we suspending worship? The advice we have sought from doctors and medical researchers concerning COVID-19 (the name of the current “coronavirus”) suggests that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is not to gather in large numbers. It has been shown that regions that engage in careful isolation measures – what today is being called “social distancing” – experience dramatically fewer new cases of the virus. This protects people from infection, dramatically slows the progress of the pandemic, and places a less critical burden on the health system.
2. I’ve heard that there aren’t that many cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. Why are churches, schools and others closing for two weeks when no one is sick? We have been advised that because of the way this virus spreads, by the time a handful of people start showings signs of being sick there are many thousands more who are carrying it. This means that it’s not enough to avoid large gatherings of people when people in the Moncton area start getting sick – they need to be cancelled before people start getting sick.
3. What are other churches doing? While we haven’t heard from everyone, most of the other United Churches in the Moncton area, and many other denominations as well, have suspended their worship services.
4. I belong to a group that meets at St. Paul’s during the week. What does this mean for us? We are also limiting the use of the building only to what is necessary, suspending all group rentals and gatherings for the rest of the month. There are not enough of the appropriate cleaning supplies available in the area to be able to properly disinfect the building each day.
5. What is the staff’s response during this time? We have been advised to work from home as much as possible, however, we’ll be checking our phone and email regularly, so please do be in touch if you have questions or concerns.
6. Closing the church seems serious. Should I be afraid? We feel it’s important to remember that God is keeping vigil with us in this time of uncertainty and anxiety. Instead of responding with fear, we can respond with prudence and an abundance of care. Over the next few weeks, we, the staff, together with the Governance Committee, will continue to monitor the situation and will make every effort to keep you up-to-date on our response.
7. What can I do while the church is closed? We will be offering some home worship resources for you to use during the next few weeks, including this Sunday. The easiest way for us to share these is digitally. If you haven’t already signed up for our e-newsletter, now is a great time to do so. You can also check Facebook and the website for updates.
In the meantime, God bless, and continue to pray for the world and God’s people, especially those who are sick and those working hard to keep us safe.
Peace to you.