Responding to COVID-19

The following email was sent out to our church family on March 13th regarding how we are responding to the COVID-19 virus.
This is an email I never thought I would have to write. 
However, with all of the news and the spread of the Corona virus I feel that it was important to communicate with you about how we can respond as a church.  Many questions have been asked over the last few days and I hope to answer those questions and more through this email. So, let’s dive in.

Are we going to continue to meet as a church?

Yes, until further notification is given, we will continue to gather for our Sunday Morning Worship and all other ministries that are on the calendar. With that said, here are some of the precautions that we are taking and some recommended precautions for you to take as well.

1. We have stopped doing greeting time for about six weeks now and will continue to exclude this as part of our worship activity until the risks decrease.

2. I am asking ushers to not greet people with a handshake, but rather a welcoming smile and verbal greeting.

3. We will not be passing the offering basket during Worship.  However, because giving is a part of your spiritual act of worship and the need to support the ministry of the church, we ask that you continue your financial support by placing your offering in the designated drop boxes that will be available in the sanctuary or to make you donations on our website at the following link:

From this link you can make one time donations or set up a recurring donation that will continue to support the work of the ministry.

4. We will continue to maintain a clean facility (thank you Becky Wagler) with weekly cleaning, plus we are asking our nursery and preschool workers to take an extra step in their weekly cleanup to disinfect all surfaces and toys prior to leaving your ministry post.

5. We will suspend all communion services until the risk has decreased.

6. We will continue to live stream our service so that you may tune in and watch if you are unable to come. Worship can be watched live or you may watch archives of our services from the last 90 days on our website at the following link:

What we ask of you during this time?

1. If you are experiencing any symptoms of sickness, cough, sneezing, etc…please don’t come to church or send your kids to church.  We invite you instead to watch our service online (see #6 above).

2. Let’s all agree that a smile and greeting is sufficient for expressing the love of Christ during this time. When you come to church please refrain from handshaking, fist bumping, elbow bumps, hugs, and greeting one another with a holy kiss.  As we tell our teens, be sure to leave room for the Holy Spirit between you and your neighbor.  🙂

3. Please wash your hands thoroughly…sing Jesus Loves Me, the Doxology, or quote the Lord’s Prayer during this time and that should be sufficiently long enough and it can be an offering of praise to our Lord at the same time.

4. Be aware that many people around you are vulnerable for reasons that you may not think of.  The obvious is our elderly, but there are also those who are dealing with various medical conditions that weaken their immune system and make them vulnerable, even though they look fine on the outside.

5. Be sensitive in your response to people. To some, the responses that we are seeing in our culture may seem like they are over reacting, but to others they are thankful for them. Consider one another as more important than yourselves as you consider the various responses of people to what is happening.

6. Please be discerning in your understanding of what is happening. There are reasonable concerns and measures that need to be taken. There is also a lot of misinformation and hysteria that is happening. Let’s allow church to be a place where we are coming to meet with our Lord (who is much bigger than all of this) and not engage in placing blame, spreading false information, or using it as a platform for any political dialog.  Let’s just focus on Jesus!

With that said…I want to close with a couple of spiritual reminders.

Jesus said, 

31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?'” 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”  33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matt 6:31-34  NASB

He also remind us, 

“And which of you by worrying can add a single  hour to his life’s span?” 26 “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”  Luke 12:25-27  NASB

I believe that one of the reasons for the mass hysteria that we are seeing is that there are many people who have no where to turn during these times of darkness and confusion. They try to find their security in the things that they can control, therefore they rush out to buy as much toilet paper as they can and take other drastic and fear based actions.

As a believer we need to prepare…but we also need to make sure that we are not putting our faith in the things that this world offers, but rather seeking after the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. What a great opportunity for us to share the hope of Jesus with someone during this time of fear and panic!  

May the Lord your God, be your steadfast hope, and may you find peace in the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Pastor Dwight Carter
Zoar MB Church