Grace and peace to all of you in these uncertain times.
As Christians, part of our calling is to care for those who are vulnerable and sick in our midst. In the last few days, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Given the way that this virus spreads, large gatherings are discouraged. In faithfulness to our calling, Mystic Congregational Church will suspend in-person worship services and all other in-person church activities and meetings through March 28th. This comes at the recommendation of the Bridge Conference Ministers and Minister of Wellness of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ to care for the most vulnerable among us and support the CDC guidelines to promote social distancing to mitigate of the spread of the virus.
We will continue to listen to the wisdom and guidance of our health officials, the guidance of the Conference, and re-evaluate on March 23rd when to resume regular in-person worship.
Our faithful staff will continue to serve, some will work from home, but the church office will remain open. We encourage everyone who feels sick or vulnerable to stay home and reach out by phone or e-mail. We currently do not have the infrastructure to livestream our worship service but many churches do. If you would like to connect to a virtual service, use this link to watch a service at Middlebury Congregational Church. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeyJk2HA_yL0xOwP5-xxMHA…
Our staff will be working to find ways to offer a worship virtually in the coming week.
This pandemic feels especially difficult because usually when we find ourselves in times of crisis, personally or nationally, we want to gather. Our souls are often soothed by the comfort offered by friends and the gathered community, through hugs and the friendship of a pew mate, and through common prayer and song. In this case we cannot navigate this particular situation in this same way, so I encourage you to reach out to those whom you usually see on Sunday morning and maintain the contact, to reach out to those who are vulnerable, pick up the phone and call, send an e-mail, or drop a note in the mail. Our Parish Care team is poised to help those who need it and is coordinating efforts to reach out. We are establishing a buddy system to abate feelings of isolation; if you would like to be part of this buddy system, please let the office know.
These are not easy decisions to make. I am grateful to the church leadership for their care in thinking about how best to continue to serve during these difficult times. Even though we will not be gathering on Sunday morning, we are still here for you. Please call, e-mail, or text if you need support or to simply not feel so isolated.
May God’s peace be upon you,