“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Beloved Harbor United Methodist Church friends and family,
During this Lenten season, we are reminded of Jesus outpouring of love for those most vulnerable and most marginalized. The text for this coming Sunday finds Jesus offering the Living Water to the Samaritan Woman at the well. Jesus always goes out of his way to offer love, grace, healing, and peace for those he encounters. As the body of Christ, alive and at work in this world, we are called to do the same.
As many of you are aware, there is growing concern over COVID-19, also known as the CoronaVirus. Here in Massachusetts there have been several confirmed cases. There are suspected cases within our community at this time. Due to this fact, it is indeed the right time to be making accommodations which encourage “social distancing” as outlined by the CDC and recommended by our Conference and District offices. Social distancing is defined as, “certain actions taken by Public Health official to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.” Social distancing measures include but are not limited to limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings, and canceling events.
After considering our congregation’s physical health and wishing to keep anxiety and fear of exposure to any and all illness at a minimum, our pastor and church leadership have determined that effective immediately, all church-sponsored events, including Sunday worship, will be suspended until Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020). As we continue to receive information from state and local agencies, we will be reassessing the timeline and will be in communication with you should this date change. In the meantime, worship materials will be available in a variety of mediums; more information to follow.
In an effort to continue providing important needs for the community, our building will remain open to the Senior Feeding Program and our active and thriving AA groups. They will be strongly encouraged to wipe down all surfaces with Lysol before and after each meeting to minimize the spread of any illnesses at this time.
While we are being church in other ways, we continue to have financial needs. Tithes and offerings can be mailed to Harbor United Methodist Church at 55 First Parish Road Scituate, MA 02066. Financial donations can also be made to the Scituate Food Pantry at PO Box 120 Scituate, MA 02066. In times like these, families who are already struggling tend to be first impacted by school closures, lack of childcare, and food insecurity. With every dollar donated, local food pantries can purchase three meals for its clients. Harbor United Methodist Church has also been in conversation with Scituate Public Schools and Scituate Council of Church to help address increased food insecurity in our community as a result of COVID-19.
The voluntary closing will allow us to do some deep cleaning of the church and give time to assess the impact of any illness on our community. The spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing of our beloved community is a priority for church leadership. We thank you all, in advance, for your patience, your understanding, and your flexibility. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Pastor Bekah or our Staff/Parish Relations Chairperson Tina Gruner should you have any questions, concerns, or comments.
In Grace and Peace,
Rev. Rebekah L Solar
Pastor; Harbor United Methodist Church