COVID-19 Update

Re: COVID-19 Response for St. Paul’s

As news continues to roll out about the spread of the new Coronavirus, I want to give everyone an update on our response here at St. Paul’s. With greater transparency, I hope we can all work together to limit the spread of this global pandemic in our own community, especially to those who are in more vulnerable populations. As a church full of different age groups, this offers us the chance to look out for each other’s wellbeing, no matter what our own risk may be.

Here at St. Paul’s we are closely monitoring and following directions from our local Marion County Health Department as well as the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control. We are staying informed, not panicking. You can help prevent the spread of rumors and disinformation yourself by monitoring these same websites at marion.floridahealth.gov and cdc.gov.

Here are some of the things we’re planning on doing at St. Paul’s:

  • At this point, we are not planning to cancel Roundtables or other gatherings because of COVID-19. We will still gather for worship on Sundays, although we ask that everyone practice some common-sense “social distancing” in the form of fist bumps or other greetings instead of shaking hands.
  • Starting Sunday the 8th of March, we have replaced “Go Now in Peace” with “This Little Light of Mine” as our response hymn, and we recommend clapping to the music instead of our traditional holding hands.
  • We have hand sanitizer in the narthex for your use, and we encourage you to use those and/or bring your own.
  • Remember to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds – sing happy birthday twice, pray the Lord’s Prayer, or find some other fun new handwashing routine to help you keep the time. Soap and water have proven to be the best ways to clean this virus from a person’s hands.
  • When you cough for whatever reason, cough into your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and how it is different from seasonal flu, colds, or seasonal allergies like we have this time of year.  
  • If you feel sick or you have a fever, stay home. If you have to miss worship and are not able to give in person, you are welcome to give online at spocala.org/giving, or mail your check to the church so we can continue in ministry while we are experiencing this slight change in our usual routine.
  • Volunteers in our hospitality ministry will have gloves available to wear while they’re serving.
  • When using our tables in the Fellowship Hall or the Sanctuary building, remember to wipe them off before and after use with cleaners that will be provided in these rooms.

One of the best weapons we have in combating COVID-19 is common sense. Let’s stay informed, follow CDC and FLDOH guidelines, use good judgment, know what signs to look for, and know to ask our local health departments when we have additional questions. We will keep looking for ways to improve our response to this situation as the need arises. We urge caution, but not fear. Most importantly, please continue praying for each other and for those affected by COVID-19.

Thank you and God Bless,

Robert