Dear Family & Friends of Sedona UMC: Important Note from Pastor Fred—

I told you that I would keep you up to date on information regarding the Corona Virus (Covid-19) fears that are currently prevalent in our communities today. I have had a number of meetings and have spoken to a number of doctors, pastors, leaders within our own congregation, and after much prayerful discernment, I believe it best in acting with “EXTREME” caution that we cancel all extra weekend events scheduled (Movie Night, Sunday Fellowship [Potato Luncheon], and the Community Band Concert).

We will be holding our normal worship service at 9:30am and would love to have you come if you are comfortable doing so. In my call with the Arizona Department of Health Services they did not recommend churches cancelling worship at this time. If you are not feeling 100% or are in a household where someone else is sick—please stay home and get well! If you have one of the identified risk factors also consider staying home this week.

It really saddens me to have to make this decision, but I do so out of a deep concern and love for all of you in wanting to keep you safe and healthy. The medical professionals just don’t know the impact or extent that will be seen with this virus. So far, it has been minimal in our state and non-existent in our local community, and we want to ensure it stays that way. This coupled with the normal seasonal influenza that is going around led me to this decision.

In the big picture of things, we must focus on the important things, and that is keeping our all of you and our community healthy and safe. Once this virus has past or at least declines, and I am confident it will, we will start up normal events and if possible, reschedule some that were missed including movie night. If you purchased items for the potato feast and want reimbursement, please let Jenny know in the front office. If the risk passes quickly, we will try the potato feast in the upcoming weeks as well.

Please hear this—I do not believe there is any need for panic at this time! All indications are that these actions are an over-reaction, and this will pass as new reported cases in some areas of the world seem to be decreasing. Again, we will continue to be in close contact with any updates we may get. With some extra time on your hands created by these cancelled events—it would be a great opportunity to use this time in prayer for our world, nation, state, and local community.

We will continue to take preventative actions to mitigate the virus from appearing here. I have a list of items and recommendations for you with one addition. We will not pass the offering plates on Sunday, instead they will be located in the rear of the sanctuary so that if you have an offering you may place it there before or after worship.

Please stay well and stay in contact with us if you should not be here or experience an illness.

A reminder of some steps we are taking, and you should take to help you stay well:

1. For this weekend (March 15), we plan a normal schedule for worship—9:30 service.

2. Offering plates will be located in the rear of the church—they will not be passed this week. We will still have offering prayer and doxology.

3. We will not have Fellowship after worship this week—sorry!

4. We will not be holding extra activities or events at least this weekend—sorry!

5. We are wiping down and sanitizing/disinfecting all public surfaces such as tables, pews, chairs, sinks, toilets, doorknobs, kitchen surfaces, etc. between each activity/group.

6. In church service, please do not use hymnals or bibles for now instead relying on the power point during worship.

7. Please minimize contact with others (no hugs or handshakes for now) and be sure to take advantage of the hand sanitizer (available around the church) in addition to washing your hands regularly with warm water (anti-bacterial soap in all bathrooms). Follow our hospital procedure: “sanitize in – sanitize out then wash.”

8. If you are sick (not feeling 100%), please stay home!!!

9. If you have a compromised immune system, seek your doctor’s instructions and use your own common sense in interacting with large groups of people. Be responsible.

10. You can always get a copy of the sermon and listen later. Call Jenny to get a copy.

Grace & Peace,
Pastor Fred