I want to make sure that you all take a moment to read the note that Jud Leonard, on behalf of the Lay Ministers, sent out on Monday.
“As we prepare ourselves for the likelihood that the coronavirus outbreak will come to Newton, our staff and lay leadership are working together to prepare for whatever comes, thinking through the ways that our FUUSN community can be supportive of each other and our neighbors.
One of the perverse effects of this event is that managing it requires that we try to minimize unnecessary contact with others, but doing so is apt to make us feel isolated and frightened, and to exaggerate even our reasonable concerns into panic. We can combat that tendency by making a conscious effort to stay in touch by phone, email, or video chat with people we know and who care about us, especially those whose calm and thoughtful counsel we respect.
The Lay Ministers are here to help. We can talk with you about your concerns and your ideas for protecting yourself; we can keep in touch by phone or email with folks who are quarantined; we can help to arrange deliveries of food and supplies.
At the same time, it’s important to step away from the barrage of news and advice, and take in the beauty of a spring day, a full moon, a tasty meal. Try to get a full night’s sleep. Together, we’ll get through this” -Jud
Jud’s absolutely right – we will get through this together. Right now, our most pressing threat is anxiety and fear. The best antidote to both is turning off the news and turning to those things which feed our spirits. This is not to say that being well informed is not wise – of course it is. Yet, often times the tone and tenor of the 24-hour news cycle only adds to our anxiety and creates a sense of urgency that is not yet at our door.
Certainly, there are things we are doing to be proactive including: encouraging everyone, including staff, to stay home if sick; promoting frequent and thorough hand washing, and providing hand sanitizer to make that possible; eliminating social touch such as handshakes and hugs in the receiving line after the service; working on a new way of collecting the offering, so baskets are not passed hand-to-hand; and reconsidering how we do coffee hour.
As Jud so beautifully wrote, “it’s important to step away from the barrage of news and advice, and take it the beauty of a spring day, a full moon, a tasty meal. Try to get a full night’s sleep. Together, we’ll get through this.”