Faith Lutheran Coronavirus Update – Monday, July 6, 2020
From Pastor Kerry…
I just came home from three weeks of getting away from it all. 7,594 miles around the western United States. Partly by myself and partly with a group of friends. Much has happened since I was away.
Like many of you, my own family is feeling the trauma of this pandemic. Emma graduated from college only to see both of the companies she expected to receive job offers from tell her that they aren’t hiring right now. One closed down entirely. Kelley went back to the office but now, given the rise in Covid-19 cases in the Houston area, is back to working from home. And worse of all, my son Michael became sick with Covid-19 while I was away. He moved to a “rent by the week” hotel to make sure not to infect his daughter, his friends, or the rest of our family. His case has proven fairly mild, his symptoms get worse at night, but he is doing well.
That’s just my family. Those stories are being repeated in the lives of millions of Americans every day. We truly are all in this together.
Unfortunately, while I was away, given the escalation in the Houston area, and in consultation with Kendolyn Pope, Director of Faith Schools, I sent the following message to our Faith School Board:
I am away on a motorcycle trip but I have been closely watching the Houston area news and the escalation of the coronavirus there. It has begun striking close to home. At least one teacher has tested positive. At least one family has a positive parent with plans to send their child to our school. My son, sick with Covid-19, is now staying at a motel to protect others from getting sick. Harris County is still in Phase One and no one sees this getting better any time soon.
In light of all of that, I am really questioning the rationale of re-opening our schools. As an institution, we do not have the capacity to insure the health and safety of our students or our staff. Despite all the precautions we might take, all we can know for sure is that people will be safest at home with minimal outside contact.
As heartless as it sounds, it doesn’t make sense to deplete all of our financial reserves just to make it through another pay cycle. For the time being, it seems to me that the only decision we can make is to keep our schools closed and furlough our staff until further notice.
I know this means drastic hardship for a wonderful staff. I hate to say it but I think this is the best decision we could make. Two months ago we didn’t know what we know now. The pandemic is getting worse in Houston with no reliable cost-effective treatment in sight.
The current situation in Houston and Harris County also is cause to question our tentative hopes to reopen public worship in August. Our Church Council will be meeting via ZOOM on July 14 where we will revisit that question. If you would like to join that meeting as a visitor, please send me an email at [email protected] and I will send you the ZOOM link so you can participate in that discussion. Remember, every Church Council meeting is open to every member of the congregation to voice their opinions and ideas.
1. We recently polled the entire congregation to see how many people lack the means of participating electronically in the life of Faith. We are still evaluating what we found out and we will share more about that next week. In the meantime, ask for help if you need it!
2. Worship services will continue to be live streamed online. We offer one service in English at 8:30 AM and one service in Chinese at 10:50 AM. You are encouraged to participate in Holy Communion at home, using your own bread and wine or grape juice.
3. The Christian Community Service Center is still in need of our support. Food pantries have seen three times more requests for help than its normal numbers. They particularly need boxed cereal, dry rice, hearty soups, and pasta. You may drop off non-perishable food donations at 3230 Mercer St., Monday-Friday 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, or 6856 Bellaire Blvd. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
4. The Prayer Team continues to pray for the needs and concerns of our congregation and the world in the midst of the coronavirus. To submit prayer requests email Pastor Tan at [email protected].
Here is the list of gatherings for this next week, click on the title of the meeting to join.
- Email update from the church
- 7:00 PM – High School Group Zoom
- 10:00 AM – Grief Share Support Group Zoom
- 7:00 PM – Weight God’s Way Group Zoom
- 7:30 PM – Adult Learning Group Zoom (Bible study/prayer with Clayton Faulkner)
- 8:00 PM – Faith Chinese Fellowship Group Zoom
- This Week at Faith email update from the church
- 7:30 PM – Faith Choir Group Zoom
- 6:30 PM – Women of Faith (Conversation/Discussion/Bible Study with Kathy Patrick)
- 8:00 PM – Faith Chinese Fellowship Group Zoom
- Email update from the church with worship information
- 8:30 AM – Sunday worship in English (or playback any time after)
- 9:30 AM – Learning Group for Kindergarten through 2nd grade
- 10:00 AM – Taking Faith Home Learning Group (with Betty Becker)
- 10:00 AM – Learning Group for 3rd through 5th grade
- 10:30 AM – Learning Group for Parents
- 10:50 AM – Sunday worship in Chinese
- 1:30 PM – Faith Handbell Choir Zoom
- 4:00 PM – Confirmation Group Zoom for Middle Schoolers