|Dear Macalester Plymouth United Church Members & Friends,|
The leadership of the church remains committed to following MN Dept of Health and CDC recommendations. The Session met and discussed the current suspension of church building activities. They reviewed the CDC recommendation that all groups of 50 or more should cancel or postpone their gatherings for 8 weeks. This, along with the continuing closure of other gathering places in Minnesota and the likelihood of a “shelter in place” order, led the Session to extend the current building closure. They approved a motion to “extend the current building closure decisions until at least April 19.” This includes the cancelation of in-person Holy Week and Easter services. This was not an easy decision. However, making this decision now gives time to re-think those services and communicate changes to the congregation and wider community. It is the staff’s intention to offer live streaming services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. The Session continued the authorization for the Macalester Plymouth Preschool to make its own decision about closing. So far, the preschool board and directors have chosen to follow the decisions of the St. Paul Public Schools. Finally, Adam and the Session discussed his sabbatical leave and decided together to postpone his sabbatical for a later time still to be determined. The generous grant the church received from the Lily Foundation to fund aspects of Adam’s and the church’s sabbatical activities continues to be available to us for the remainder of this year and next year as well.
Over the past week, many things have changed in the life of our church. Here is a brief summary of
Notified all outside groups of the building closure and offered support to help them move their gatherings online.
Began live streaming worship on March 15.
Added a second weekly email update called “First Cup” to follow up on Sunday’s worship providing links to the video.
All weekly emails will be snail mailed to anyone who prefers them that way.
Moved all church meetings and gatherings online using Zoom, FaceTime and conference calls.
Instituted a phone tree for the church, targeting members over age 70 first and those who wanted to participated. 17 callers and 6 team leads have begun making calls to more than 70 people and will continue to do so weekly.
Created three action teams to help with: technical support, deliveries, and praying
Due to the abrupt nature of the building closure, we are continuing to pay our part time workers their average weekly pay through the end of March. The Personnel committee will continue to monitor the wellbeing and compensation of our staff as this closure continues.
The heat has been turned down in the church except for in the sanctuary where a constant temperature must be maintained for the organ. All non-essential electrical devices in the building have been unplugged or turned off. We have effectively put the building “to bed” in hopes of saving energy and money.
Our call as a church is all the more clear in this time–offering God’s hope and spiritual connection to anyone that needs it. Thank you for your prayerful support and participation!
The Staff of Macalester Plymouth United Church