COVID-19 Update for 3/31/2020
Including a message from our Bishop
(A special note to our parents with kids…please scroll down to the bottom for Erika’s Social Distancing Sunday School Documents)
Good evening friends! We hope you had a good day and will have a restful evening ahead. I have some news to share with you this evening, including a message from our Bishop.
Governor Ducey’s Executive Order
As I mentioned in yesterday’s update, Governor Ducey released a new Executive Order called “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected.” After reading the order, I expected we would have to make several changes at Song of Life, but I wanted to hear from our Bishop and/or Cabinet before making any decisions to that effect. Early this afternoon, the clergy in our Conference received that guidance. We have been directed by our Bishop to “continue the lifesaving work of suspending in-person worship and other group gatherings until April 30, 2020. This pertains to all gatherings at the church, no matter how small and includes drive-up worship services, committee meetings, 12 step programs, choir rehearsals, and other church gatherings.” (If you would like a copy of the Bishop’s full statement, click here.)
Although not specifically stated in the Bishop’s written statement, we were also advised by our District Superintend to abide by the Executive Order’s stipulations as it pertains to Essential Services. Although religious organizations are listed as “Essential,” that designation only applies to religious organizations that provide “food, shelter and social services and other necessities of life” for those who are vulnerable and economically disadvantaged. In addition, if a church offers these kinds of services, only those services are considered “Essential.” Unfortunately, worship is not an essential service. Neither is staffing of the office. As a result, we are making the following changes effective immediately.
- Our office will be closed beginning tomorrow, April 1, 2020. Robena (our Administrative Assistant) will be working from home and will check voicemails and emails during our normal office hours of 10 AM – 2 PM. She will also be checking our physical mailbox and distributing mail appropriately by scanning the contents of the mail and sending it by email. This doesn’t mean our church is shutting down. I will be working with those who perform important tasks at the church so these functions continue to happen.
- Our worship experience will continue online but in a different way. We will not be able to gather our worship team in the Sanctuary as we have the last two Sundays. The team will be working together in the next few days to design a meaningful worship experience while we all remain safely in our own homes. Thank goodness for the gift of technology!! Stay tuned for more details about worship later this week.
- Regarding your financial gifts, while we will always accept gifts given in cash or by check, we strongly encourage you to consider electronic (or online) giving. When you give your gifts other than online, it requires our counters to come to the church in order to process those gifts, which violates the spirit of the Executive Order. We want to keep all of our people safe, so if at all possible, we hope you will give electronically. There are several ways you can do that:
- By using our online giving process, which can be accessed either from our website or through our Church Center app. When you give in this way, your gifts are automatically applied to your giving record, requiring little or no intervention. You can also set up a recurring gift, which will automatically be processed based on the timeline of your choice. If you need help setting up your online gift (recurring or not) please let me know.
- By working with your bank to have them electronically transfer funds to the church. While this is possible, it’s not preferred, since it requires manual entry of your gift into your giving record.
- By using a new process called “Text2Give.” This is actually a process that we’ve had for quite some time but have never implemented. Basically it allows you to send a text with the amount you wish to give as well as the fund you want to give it to. We will provide instructions on how to use this process in the next few days.
- If you still want to give your financial gifts by cash or check, please mail your gift to the church OR, if you want to drop it off, please leave it in our secure mailbox located near the Office & Classroom Building. As mentioned above, Robena will empty that mailbox on a daily basis.
So…for the time being – at least through the end of April (instead of April 16 as originally directed by our Bishop) and possibly beyond – our worship will be offered LIVE online with all of us participating in the safety of our homes. We will also continue our online fellowship time about an hour before worship begins.
Friends, as our bishop indicated in his letter, we will get through this by coming together by staying apart. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. We also know that God is with us during this difficult time. I miss you all and look forward to the day when we can gather together in person to worship our loving and most gracious God.
Grace and Peace,