April 30, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
I hope this letter finds you well. I know that the stay home order has been deeply disruptive to our common life and many of us did not expect that it would go on this long. I miss seeing your faces each week. Yet, as we celebrate the Easter Season, we proclaim that wherever we find ourselves Sunday morning, God is with us.
As you know, the governor of Idaho has proposed a four-stage plan (https://rebound.idaho.gov) to facilitate re-opening businesses across the state between May 1 and mid-June. While places of worship are listed in Stage 1 of the plan, Stage 1 also states that “gatherings, both public and private, should be avoided.” Stage 2 allows groups of “less than 10” and Stage 3 allows 10-50 people. It is not until Stage 4 where groups greater than 50 are advised to meet and “large venues” are allowed to open back up. And even then, appropriate physical distancing needs to occur, and “Vulnerable Idahoans” should “minimize exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.”
Our church council sat with all of this during a special meeting April 27. The ELCA Treasure Valley congregation leaders, including myself, have been checking in weekly and recently proposed creating a COVID-19 Task Force. At Monday’s meeting, Trinity’s council voted to be a part of this. The purpose of the task force is “To create protocols and procedures that would need to be met to safely have in-person gatherings and worship in ELCA Treasure Valley Cluster congregations.” Key assumptions in the proposal include: “No one congregation has all the expertise or wisdom to move forward, but together we can make a more informed decision.” To allow time for the task force to complete its work, Trinity’s council concurred that “In person gatherings will not happen prior to June 1.” An important parameter of this work is, “We are looking for a conservative approach based in science that values the health of our community versus gathering in person.”
So, we will keep the church closed for in person gatherings through May 31. We will begin streaming worship from the sanctuary via Facebook Live May 17. We know many of you have keys to the building, but we would like to leave the building as empty as possible. If you need access to the sanctuary or another part of the building, please call Bob Cola who is keeping office hours. I continue to work from home.
I am so proud of how our congregation has stepped up to take care of each other. Many of you are making phone calls, sending cards, emailing and praying for one another. This closure has gone on longer than many of us expected and the novelty of meeting online may be wearing thin. I encourage you to continue reaching out to one another. On the back of this letter you will find the goals guiding our council and the ways we are trying to meet those goals in the weeks ahead.
Peace, Pastor Meggan
Goals during Pandemic (Adopted at March 30, 2020 Special Council Meeting)
- Worship Weekly
- Financial Stability
- Communication and Connectedness
Sunday Morning Worship
- May 3 and 10 Pre-recorded, premiered on YouTube and then posted to YouTube
- May 17 and 24 Facebook Live from the sanctuary, then posted to our YouTube channel
- May 31 Cluster pre-recorded for Pentecost on YouTube
- Bulletins and sermons mailed weekly to members without computer/internet…
- May 17 Holy Communion at 12pm on Zoom monthly (3rd Sunday) for members without computers or internet. Available for any member with a telephone.
- Thanks for your continued generosity through automatic giving or mailing to the church!
- Another return envelope will be coming in late May
- Talk to Stewardship Team members Ruthann Sutton or Penelope Smith if you need help setting up bill pay
Communication and Connectedness
- Find prayer concerns in your weekly bulletin, emailed/mailed to members and posted under “Worship” at nampatrinity.org
- Announcements at nampatrinity.org and on our Facebook page
- Five-minute devotion by Pastor Meggan at 7pm every Wednesday on Facebook Live (accessible on Facebook anytime following)
- Sunday Adult Forum on Zoom at 8:45 am
- Monday Morning Study Group on Zoom at 10 am
- Coffee with Pastor Meggan on Zoom every Tuesday in May at 1 pm
- Fellowship Time on Zoom each Sunday at 10:45 am
- Daily devotion by a cluster congregational leader at tvprays.org
- Much informal connectedness among members, through telephone calls and cards; thank you for taking care of each other!
Final Note: If you are missing any Zoom numbers, please contact Pastor Meggan