Yolanda Platt
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March 13, 2020   Dear Harmony Church Family, I’m sure that you are aware that this morning Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr. David Williams, says to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada” and the “immediate suspension” of all gatherings over 250 people because of COVID-19 pandemic.  This is after we had already heard that schools will be closed for the next three weeks.  We are living in times of uncertainty, but I am certain of one thing—God is with us.  As children of God this is an opportunity to demonstrate love and compassion to our community when all around us is a spirit of fear.  We want to be a light in the darkness and help wherever needed.  At the same time we want to act responsibly and help protect the most at-risk among our church family, and do all we can to prevent this virus from spreading in our community.  Therefore, after consultation with the Rena Rice, who chairs our deacons board, I am announcing that beginning this Sunday we will be taking the following precautions: 1.      Our caretakers will be increasing the frequency and level of cleaning of railings, door handles, pews, and bathrooms. 2.      Hand sanitizer will be placed at both entrances to the church and you are encouraged to use them or wash your hands immediately upon entering the church building and before you leave. 3.      We want to encourage you to greet one another verbally and with a cheerful smile, but to avoid shaking hands or giving hugs. 4.      We will not be passing offering plates in the service.  You may leave your offerings and tithes at the designated spot at entrance to the sanctuary on your way in or out of the sanctuary.  If you decide to stay home and self-isolate you may wish to mail in your donation or sign up for pre-authorized giving.  Tellers are encouraged to use gloves when counting the offering. 5.      On communion Sunday we will not pass communion elements.  We will invite you to participate by approaching the elements which will be available in a safe way. 6.      We will discontinue the fellowship time after the service until further notice to minimize contact and the potential for transmission of the virus. 7.      Children and youth ministry workers will be asked to carefully monitor the children in order to keep them from physical contact with each other. 8.     If you or a family member are feeling ill or showing any signs of sickness please stay home, and worship with us by watching our live stream on Facebook.  It might only be a cold, or a touch of the flu, but we want to ensure that people feel safe at church and we especially want to protect our beloved elderly members who are the most at risk.  Thank you for understanding. The downside of all of this is that people may feel isolated or unconnected during this time, so let’s increase the frequency of our phone calls and online connections.  This too shall pass, but in the meantime let’s live with a spirit of generosity and concern for others.  Pray for each other, and for all those around the world who are already suffering from this, and be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you.   God be with you, Elden